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Adventure Filmmakers' Workshop 2016

Mountain Culture
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Program Information

Adventure Filmmakers Workshop

AFW faculty Keith Partridge on location

© John Arran


The Adventure Filmmakers’ Workshop is an exceptional chance for independent and emerging filmmakers to turn their projects into reality, under the guidance of two of the world’s premier adventure filmmakers. During a jam-packed nine days in the fall, you’ll hone your craft, strengthen your skills, network and mingle with fellow filmmakers, industry insiders and decision-makers, do it all within the core of the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. You’ll also have full access to Festival events — motivation galore!

What does the program offer?

Sessions will help you sharpen your vision, organize your workflow plan, develop audio, narrative and editing techniques, and perfect your pitch. Our faculty promotes an open, interactive, and creative atmosphere. Days are packed with hands-on practice, lively discussion, and brainstorming; evenings include film screenings, guest speakers, and social events. We'll welcome industry insiders as invited guest speakers, offering rare access to potential mentors, collaborators, sponsors and backers.  The workshop can include on-campus lodging and all meals provided — all you’ll have to do is focus on your craft and soak up the inspiration.

Who should apply?

The workshop is designed for filmmakers, directors, and producers. To get the most from the workshop, applicants should have a strong desire to take the next step in all aspects of their filmmaking - from pre-production, pitching, location skills, and the handling of the edit through to distribution.  Some of the past participants include elite athletes transitioning to filmmaking, expeditionists wanting to expand to different media platforms, and filmmakers wanting to break into the adventure genre.  This program is not aimed at novice filmmakers or those wanting to explore what it would be like to be an adventure filmmaker.  A strong knowledge base of technical sound, camera, and editing skills is essential.  Applicants are encouraged to focus on one specific film project and to be prepared to share it with the group.

Enrollment is limited to 24 participants.


An indicative schedule is:

Day 1
  • Welcome and orientation
  • Evening film screening
Day 2
  • Anatomy of success: What makes a successful film
  • Production Development and Planning before the camera rolls
  • "Show Me the Money!": How to get Funding
Day 3
  • The art of storytelling and narration
  • Making the perfect pitch
  • Evening: participants attend Radical Reels film screening
Day 4
  • Pitching Workshop: Participants practice and present their individual pitches to the group
  • Technology, Sound, Interviewing, and Workflow
  • Evening: participants attend The Snow Show film screening  
Day 5
  • Shoot day. Get out there and get your film in the 'can'.
Days 6
  • Editing and Post-production Day. Turn your 'rushes' into a finished film.
  • Evening: participants attend Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Gala and an evening presentation
Day 7 & 8
  • Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival: An opportunity to view, examine, and analyze a broad range of adventure films, attend sessions, workshops, and network with filmmakers, film festival directors, industry attendees and to attend the Festival Wrap Party on Sunday evening
Day 9
  • Recap, review short films, and presentation from guest lecturers (to be announced)
  • Celebrate with closing reception...and collapse in a heap!

This schedule is subject to change and additions will be guided by the needs of participants.

Image Gallery


What's Included

Single or Shared RoomRead MoreClose

When applying, choose between staying in a single or a shared bedroom on the Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program.

Get connected with other artists on campus and focus on your projects in a creative environment while we take care of the day-to-day essentials.

Light Flex Meal PlanRead MoreClose

Using a credit-based system to dine on campus, our flexible meal plans allow you to select meals according to your own needs during your stay.

The Light Flex Meal Plan is a credit-based system allowing participants to use pre-paid funds at any of the on-campus dining options at the Banff Centre.  It equals the equivalent of breakfast and lunch daily at Vistas Dining Room.  Participants will also receive a handful of invitations to social events during the Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival where light dinners are served.  You are able to top up your meal plan and receive more credit for meals at any time.

Banff Mountain Film and Book FestivalRead MoreClose

Participants have access to select ticketed events at the Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival, including the Festival Gala and Wrap Party. Celebrating the world’s best mountain, environmental and adventure stories, the Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival offers inspiration and a chance to network with other filmmakers, directors, producers, and festival guests.

Plus, enjoy special artist rates for other ticketed performances or complimentary access to events happening on campus during the program.

Gym MembershipRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes free access to the swimming pool, climbing gym and fitness suite as well as discounted rates for classes at the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre.

Paul D. Fleck Library and ArchivesRead MoreClose

Access a wide range of publications, books, music and films in the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, open 6 days a week.

Participant ResourcesRead MoreClose

Enrich your experience and get to know other artists on campus by taking advantage of the activities and support provided by our Participant Resources team.

Fees & Financial Assistance

Single Accommodation (subject to availability)
$1 900.00
Shared Accommodation (subject to availability)
$1 650.00
No Accommodation
$1 260.00

Application fee: $60 for each individual

A discount of $300 per person applies to Adventure Filmmakers' Workshop participants who have also entered a film into the 2016 Banff Mountain Film Competition.  Contact for more information.

Fees include all workshop sessions plus tickets to select Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival events and an invitation to the Festival Gala and Wrap Party. All fees must be paid in full before the first day of the program.

Scholarships are available — if you would like to be considered, please complete the Financial Aid section when uploading your supporting materials. No discount is available if participants are unable to stay for the full course.

Help fund your experience at Banff Centre. Applicants are also encouraged to approach their local arts councils and agencies for additional financial assistance to offset costs. View a compiled list of national and international opportunities here

How to Apply


A one-page resume or CV describing professional education and achievements, including your most recent projects and your role in them, as well as where your films have been shown, and relevant academic, personal and professional experience.

Cover Letter

In 500 words or less, explain both your background and your long-term goals as a filmmaker, and outline your current project.  If you have requested a scholarship as part of your application, explain how this would benefit you.

Project proposal

A 250-word pitch for the project you'd like to focus on during the program. Include the basic story line, what stage of development you are in, what kind of funding you are after, and how this project is meaningful.


Please provide a URL link that showcases your work.

Learning objectives

Provide a short summary of your learning goals for the program and how you hope to contribute to the workshop.


You are encouraged to bring a camera to the workshop. If accepted into the program, what camera will you bring?

Financial assistance

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, scholarships are available for this program. Let us know how financial assistance will help you participate in this program and be sure to complete the Financial Aid section to be eligible for financial assistance.


Participants are selected through consultation between faculty and staff on the basis of submitted applications. Applicants will be notified if they have been accepted to the workshop or placed on a waiting list after adjudication. Those successful in applying for a scholarship will also be notified.  Adjudication will be complete and applicants notified by mid-September.


All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of the Banff Centre.

Contact the Registrar

For questions on preparing your application, please contact the Office of the Registrar:

Toll Free Number (Canada + USA)