Who knew that when we entered into the world of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020, we would still be battling, adapting, and facing unseen challenges over a year later. Our human resilience has been tested, and our outdoor community has been forgiving, stronger, and determined to conserve wild places more than ever before. Being outside has never meant as much as it does now.
The Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, along with our World Tour, has had to engage in creative ways to bring the films to you. It may seem easy to put the films online, but of course, nothing is ever easy in a time of crisis. I’m happy to say that we too, have remained resilient and had an extremely successful year with our new virtual screening platform despite many hurdles along the way. Our World Tour Team has designed and created new delivery systems with multiple options for scenarios in different countries, all with independent health and safety measures in place – a monumental task when over 1100 screenings must be considered.
In Banff, our hybrid Festival plans evolve daily as we try to create the best possible pieces of a much-loved annual industry event. We’ve never been thrown so many curveballs, all at once, for such a long game of pivot and pivot again. But, despite having to cancel or postpone shows around the world and here at home, the films were and are seen by many, and we are grateful to you, our audience, for keeping the faith and for ensuring that the show will go on, regardless of what iteration it takes.
Our kudos must also go out to the filmmakers who continue to provide us with outstanding content year after year, even amidst a global pandemic. All indicators suggested that 2021 and 2022 would not be strong years for film completion with production crews and athletes in lockdown, but I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong. The films submitted to this year’s competition are better than ever, and just what you might expect in a ‘normal’ year.
All this goes to show us, that in an ever-changing world, there are some things you can depend on. Determination, inspiration, and creativity all reign supreme, and the stories and films showcased at this year’s Festival and on tour, are case in point. We truly hope you will enjoy this year’s Festival no matter where you are in the world and how you watch, whether from the comfort of a local theatre or if you choose to bring all the epic adventures into your own home.
Much love and gratitude,