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The Weight of Water wins Grand Prize at the 2018 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival

By Jess Green Posted on November 05, 2018

BANFF, AB, November 4, 2018 – Blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer is no stranger to adventure – he has climbed the tallest peaks on each continent. His latest undertaking – together with his friend Lonnie, who also happens to be blind – is kayaking Lava Falls, the toughest rapid in the Grand Canyon. An inspiring and genuine story about the struggles Erik faces in order to achieve his dreams. With support from expedition members – blindness doesn't hold him back.

The Weight of Water has won Grand Prize at the 2018 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival.

“We selected the film that touched us most deeply – the one that caused us all to shed some tears...,” said Rebecca Martin, a member of the 2018 Film jury. “The human achievement that was the focal point of this work gripped us and the emotional journey of the main protagonist as the narrative unfolded was palpable, while also being exquisitely subtle. We were moved. We were immensely inspired. And we were drawn into the story so intensely, we felt a part of the exhilaration of an unimaginably hard-won accomplishment.”

The 2018 Film Competition jury members are Jim Herrington (USA, photographer), Bruce Kirkby (Canada, writer, photographer, and adventurer), Ramyata Limbu (Nepal, director of Kathmandu International Mountain Film Fesitval, and journalist), Rebecca Martin (USA, consultant, and former National Geographic executive), and Paweł Wysoczański (Poland, director, screenwriter, and producer).

Category winners for the 2018 Banff Mountain Film Competition include:

Grand Prize – Sponsored by MEC
The Weight of Water
(USA, 2018, 80 min)
Director and Producer: Michael Brown
Production Company: Serac Adventure Films

Creative Excellence Award – Sponsored by Rumble Supershake
(Canada, 2017, 78 min)
Director: Alison McAlpine
Producers: Alison McAlpine, Paola Castillo, Sean Farnel and Carmen Garcia
Production Company: Second Sight Pictures, Errante Producciones

Best Film – Exploration and Adventure – Sponsored by ROI Recreational Outfitters
Plan C-14 II
(Argentina, 2018, 47 min)
Director Nico Muñoz
Producers: Nico Muñoz and Nadina Goldwaser
Production Company: El Mano Films

Best Film – Mountain Culture – Sponsored by Helly Hansen
The Silver Branch
(Ireland, 2018, 74 min)
Director: Katrina Costello
Producer: Ken O'Sullivan
Production Company: Sea Fever Productions

Best Film – Climbing – Sponsored by The Alpine Club of Canada
Free Solo
(USA, 2018, 119 min)
Directors: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin
Producer: Evan Hayes
Production Company: Lonely Films

Best Film – Mountain Sports – Sponsored by Smartwool
The Weight of Water
(USA, 2018, 80 min)
Director and Producer: Michael Brown
Production Company: Serac Adventure Films

Best Film – Snow Sports – Sponsored by Boréale Explorers
This Mountain Life
(Canada, 2018, 77 min)
Director: Grant Baldwin
Producer: Jenny Rustemeyer
Production Company: Peg Leg Films

Best Film – Mountain Environment and Natural History – Sponsored by ChopShop
Bird of Prey
(USA, 2017, 95 min)
Director: Eric Liner
Producers: Eric Liner and John Bowman
Production Company: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Best Short Mountain Film – Sponsored by Sherpa Adventure Gear
Facing Sunrise
(Canada, 2017, 8 min)
Director: Julia Kwan
Producers: Yves J. Ma, Lainey Mullins, and Jeff Thomas
Production Company: MEC

Best Feature Mountain Film – Sponsored by The North Face Banff (owned and operated by Highline Outdoors)
The Dawn Wall
(Austria/USA, 2017, 100 min)
Directors: Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer
Producers: Josh Lowell, Philipp Manderla, and Peter Mortimer
Production Company: Red Bull Media House in association with Sender Films

Special Jury Mentions:

Ascending Afghanistan
(USA, 2016, 50 min)
Director: Erik Osterholm
Producers: Erik Osterholm and Alyse Walsh
Production Company: Vice Media

(Poland, 2017, 45 min)
Director and Producer: Wojtek Kozakiewicz
Production Company: Vacaspurpuras Outdoor Films

People’s Choice Award – Sponsored by Osprey
The Bikes of Wrath
(Australia, 2018, 101 min)
Directors and Producers: Cameron Ford and Charlie Turnbull
Production Company: Doss Flamingoss

A record audience of over 21,000 attended the 2018 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival. The next Festival is October 26 to November 3, 2019

About Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 43 years ago, Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The nine-day Festival hosted by Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Canada, showcases the world’s best films, books and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment and natural history, exploration and adventure, wildlife, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and explorers as presenters and speakers. An international jury will also award over $40,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home on Treaty 7 territory in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach. In 2018, Banff Centre celebrates 85 years of creative practice.