2016 Banff Mountain Film Competition Finalists
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3000 Cups of Tea
Journalist Jennifer Jordan picks up the story of Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea) following a scandal which nearly destroyed his life's work. Jordan updates us on the man, his schools, and his dream of spreading “peace through books not bombs.”
A Song for Tomorrow
Explore the mythical towers of the Qingfeng Valley, at the boundary of China's first and largest national park. Climbers Mayan Smith-Gobat, Ting Xiao, Liu Yongbang, and Ben Rueck were the first to be granted permission to set foot on these vertical giants.
Being so far removed from the hustle and bustle of the tropical surf world hardens Iceland's surfers to confront the harsh reality they all must face – that old and unforgiving North Atlantic wind.
Ace and the Desert Dog
For his 60th birthday, adventure photographer Ace Kvale and his dog, Genghis Khan, set out on a 60-day trek in Utah's canyon country.
Mountaineer and filmmaker Fulvio Mariani embarks on a ski expedition into a country ravaged by decades of war and steeped in cold and snow. This is a rare look into a little-known corner of the world from a humble skier-explorer.
All Roads Lead to Scotland
Opposites attract. That's the story of the unlikely yet formidable climbing partnership of Nick Bullock and Tim Neill. They meet in Scotland in winter, where the fickle conditions that define Scottish winter climbing lead to frustration. But the prospect of discovering an obscure gem is irresistible.
Annapurna III - Unclimbed
On their 2016 expedition to the unclimbed south-east ridge of Annapurna III in Nepal, David Lama, Hansjorg Auer, and Alex Blamel show us what remote mountaineering is all about – exhaustion, fatigue, anxiety, exposure and, sometimes, failure.
Aspirations Of The Pamirs
In the remote Pamir mountains of Central Asia, three French friends aim to show the viability of travelling long distances over difficult terrain by bamboo bikes. It's a climbing and bike-packing adventure with noble goals.
At What Price
Emerging climbing photographer John Price examines what it takes to succeed as an artist in the era of social media, where the temptation to appeal to many must be balanced against the core notion of being true to oneself.
Austrian Altitude - Build It and Send It
It's not often you get to build a set of dream mountain bike jumps overlooking a picturesque valley. So when Andrew Taylor and Niki Leitner were offered the chance to do exactly that, they jumped at the opportunity.
Before it Falls
Tasmania's Totem Pole is a lonely, precarious needle of rock that has haunted imaginations for decades. It has changed the lives of those who have made the pilgrimage to the bottom of the world for it. Lee Cossey is one such man.
Boys in the Bugs
Crack climbing is a bold, traditionalist discipline. In the age of elite athletes, fad diets, and training regimes, Matt Segal and Will Stanhope harken back to the old school of climbing, where guts and spirit make up for lack of planning and a healthy lifestyle.
One of the most surreal locations for an urban ski segment ever caught on film, a stunning communist ruin turns into an unexpected rail ride for skiers Ole Pavel and Lukas Joas.
China: A Skier's Journey
Skiers Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots touch down into the rich past and dizzying future of Chinese ski cultures. As one rapidly expands, they find the other is at risk of disappearing.
Bouldering on the frozen Lake Baikal, kayaking wild rivers in the US, big wall climbing on the granite dome in Sao Tome and Principe, and exploring one of the deepest caves in China – follow four world-class athletes from four nations chasing their ultimate adventure.
Czech climber Radek Jaroš' story is one of determination and of overcoming shared and personal limits. It is also the story of compromise and of the price paid to achieve every mountain climber's dream: ascending the Crown of the Himalayas, the world's 14 tallest mountains.
Conquering Ghost Ice
2016 should have been a year of celebration for Sarah Hueniken. However, shortly after becoming North American Female Ice Lead Difficulty Champion, she is left in a state of mourning and reflection after the passing of her mother.
Crossing Home: A Skier's Journey
Skiers Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots embark on a three week expedition in which they boat, bushwack, ski, and packraft across the spine of the Coast mountains searching for the meaning of home. A cast of characters help them understand what that term 'home' truly means.
The Crown Traverse
In September of 2015, ultra runners Mike Wolfe, Mike Foote, and Photographer Steven Gnam, set out on a journey from Missoula to Banff traversing the Crown of the Continent.
Devotion: Libby Peter
Libby Peter, one of UK's most respected climbers, reflects on how climbing has shaped her life, from childhood through becoming a British Mountain Guide and a mother.
Jump on board a madcap sailing adventure to the biggest rock walls in the Arctic Circle with a team of elite climbers as zany as they are talented. Amongst rough seas, falling rocks and freezing temperatures, this gang of adventurers forge bold new routes – and have the time of their lives.
This film is a whirlwind tour through the diverse world of dog-powered sports, from canicross and scooterjoring to skijoring. Meet the world's fastest sprint sled dogs and their human teammates.
Doing it Scared
Eighteen years after a catastrophic accident which left him partially paralyzed, climber Paul Pritchard returns to the Totem Pole to find out if he has recovered enough to finish the climb.
Douglas Tompkins Wild Legacy
Douglas Tompkins was a world-renowned adventurer, entrepreneur, and conservationist. Wild Legacy tells the story of Doug’s incredible life, his lasting impact on the wild landscapes of Patagonia, and the Tompkins Conservation team’s efforts to continue his audacious mission.
Boston 1920s. A young East Coast debutante is dating the wealthiest bachelor in the world. Her future seems set: a dream life in the upper echelons of society. But then she meets her soul mate, a young Canadian painter from the mountain town of Banff. This is the story of Banff icons Catherine and Peter Whyte.
Enter a dream world where the trails never end. Where the promise of joy and freedom exist around each bend. Take a magical trip through beautiful landscapes and join us on this DreamRide, a mountain bike adventure unlike any other.
A modern band of explorers join their ungulate counterparts on a trek from Wyoming’s ranch lands over mountain passes and treacherous river crossings to the rugged beauty of Yellowstone’s high-alpine meadows. Along the way, they meet backcountry guides and cattle ranchers whose lives are intricately tied with the fate of the elk.
The Eyes of God
Tomass Marnics has put together a team of the world’s best extreme kayakers. Together they plan to descend the legendary Saryjaz River. The expedition will take the adventurers directly to the “Eyes of God”, a mystical cliff face in the no-man’s land between Kyrgyzstan and China.
For bikepacker and ultra-long-distance racer Lael Wilcox, taking on the Arizona Trail – more than 1280 kilometers of desert single track – is a challenge unlike any other.
FIFTY - The Movie (Festival Cut)
Follow one man's bold attempt to run 50 mountain marathons over 50 peaks in just 50 days, around the spectacular landscapes of New Zealand, in order to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation.
The First Day of Summer
Arriving in Iceland on the first official first day summer, a small group of splitboarding friends head into Iceland's far north – the untouched Troll Peninsula.
As longtime professional climbers who eat, sleep, and live the sport, Cedar Wright and Matt Segal are used to being competent, comfortable and at the top of their game.
The Fourth Phase
Join elite snowboarder Travis Rice as he follows snowstorms around the globe. Picking up friends and riders along the way, he drops unthinkably-sick lines on every hemisphere.
Freedom under Load
With 100 kilos on their backs they face storms, blizzards, and deep snow. Their traditional craft is not only a profession. For the oldest generation of porters in the High Tatras mountains, it is also a method of meditation and self discovery.
The Great Siberian Traverse
All aboard for the adventure of a lifetime – a 1,200-kilometre ski journey through Russia, along the Trans-Siberian Railway. We'll stumble upon a fringe backcountry skiing community, deep Siberian powder, and skiing's ancient origins.
These skiers make a living travelling the globe in search of snow. Meanwhile, the climate continues to change. With plans to ski a remote peak in Greenland, they decide to bring a glaciologist to collect ice cores to help understand sea level rise.
In 2015, an earthquake of terrible power devastated the Langtang Valley in Nepal, taking hundreds of lives from the small community. A year later Nima Gyalmu, a woman of extraordinary strength, dignity, and humour rebuilds her house while coming to terms with her new world.
Two friends embark on an expedition to climb first ascents on the towering big walls of Baffin Island, a frozen fjordland where polar bears, poor rock quality, and freezing temperatures are a serious threat. Like any true adventure, things don't go as planned in this gripping story of risk, success, and failure.
Holy (un)Holy River
Is contamination and too much pressure killing the Ganges, or are its waters truly magical? Traveling from 5,500 metres atop the Gangotri Glacier, a team of three travel 2400 kilometres downstream a river that has more than 100 names, exploring every nook of its life to understand the magic of the Ganges, the most sacred of all India's rivers.
Iran: A Skier's Journey
Cautioned not to travel to Iran, Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots decide to go, regardless. They find comfort, bedazzlement, and a surprisingly cool ski culture.
KONELĪNE: our land beautiful
KONELĪNE: our land beautiful is a sensual, cinematic celebration of northwestern British Columbia, and all the dreamers who move across it. Set deep in the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation, KONELĪNE captures beauty and complexity as one of Canada's vast wildernesses undergoes irrevocable change.
In his search to become a better freerider, French ski phenom Jeremie Heitz compiles a list of the most interesting peaks to ride in the Alps. In the process, he meets the legends of the sport who teach him how to push the boundaries of freeriding.
Langtang: Summits of My Life III
Langtang is the story of a journey to the heart of Nepal. In April 2015, ultra runner Kilian Jornet is preparing for an expedition to Everest as part of his project, `Summits of My Life', together with alpinist Jordi Tosas and filmmaker Sébastien Montaz-Rosset.
Link Sar West
Link Sar in Pakistan was an obsession for UK alpinist and photographer Jonathan Griffith. He made three attempts on the peak before reaching the west summit in 2015 on his forth try with British alpinist Andy Houseman. Capturing near disastrous circumstances with riveting video and breathtaking cinematography, Griffith and Houseman present their summit story with a World Premiere of their film Link Sar West.
Deep in Papua New Guinea's virgin rainforest, a team of kayakers attempt the first descent of the Beriman River. This is as remote as river exploration comes in one of the deepest gorges in the South Pacific.
More than just a trip to bag and ski some of the world’s biggest summits, these New Zealanders journey across time and cultures into the heart of the Bolivian Andes.
The Master of Moves
For almost his entire life French bouldering legend Jacky Godoffe, has lived in the forest of Fontainebleau. Here, he has found more than just inspiration for climbing routes – he has found a key to happiness.
High above the Gorges du Verdon, a skillful blend of artists and high-level athletes play a high energy symphony devoted to risk. It's a hymn that melds visual performance and contemplative poetry into pure entertainment.
Growing up in a remote mountain village in Nepal, Mira always dreamed of being successful in sport despite all the challenges that she and other Nepali girls face. She begins to realize that her tough mountain village upbringing has prepared her perfectly for the sport of running.
In remote Greenland, the Mirror Wall draws those with a taste for achieving the impossible. Exploring the cerebral and philosophical side of committing adventures, British climber Leo Houlding reflects not only on why these big, bold objectives are a part of who he is, but also how heavily family life and loss in the mountains have affected his motivations.
Monte Sarmiento - The White Diva
Nothing is for sure when you're on a climbing trip in Patagonia. Talf Gantzhorn has attempted to summit the sublimely beautiful Monte Sarmiento in Chilean Tierra del Fuego six times – and has always been turned back. He's learned that the most important part of this kind of expedition is the how of getting to the top.
Namuli is a community-backed film about the spirit of exploration and what happens when a team of rock climbers, biologists, and conservationists sets off on an unconventional expedition into one of the world’s least explored and most threatened habitats, Mount Namuli, Mozambique.
North of Known
Paraglider Gavin McClurg picks another rugged, convoluted, and downright burly route. In terrain where bears outnumber people, roads are non-existent, and flying conditions are completely unpredictable, Gavin and his partner Dave Turner embark on a traverse of the entire 700-kilometer length of the Alaska Range.
Four skaters head north above the Arctic Circle to the cold Norwegian coast to apply their urban riding skills to a canvas of beach flotsam, frozen sand and pastel skies. The result is a beautiful mashup of biting winds, ollies and one ephemeral miniramp.
Packing It Out: Cleaning America's Wild Trails
Follow the guys from the "Packing It Out" crew as they pick up litter – and inspire everyone they meet – along the Pacific Crest Trail.
This is an adventure in the classic style. Unkown territory, sketchy weather, no communication, and major isolation. Two Argentine brothers head deep into Tierra del Fuego on a 53-day trip to the Peninsula Mitre hoping to find incredible waves they can surf.
The Perfect Flight
When some neighborhood kids gave Shawn Hayes an abandoned red-tailed chick, it launched him on a lifelong journey into the medieval traditions of falconry.
Pia Nic Gundersen returns from last year's season ending crash to explore the Lofoten archipelago where the ocean views are vast and the high speed, big mountain runs are counted in seconds.
With hopes of summiting the elusive Poumaka Tower, American bouldering champion, Angie Payne, leaves everything she knows behind as she ventures deep into the French Polynesian jungle with veteran climber and explorer, Mike Libecki.
Return To Zanskar
Thirty years after their first visit, two friends return to an ancient Buddhist monastery high in the Himalayas to reconnect with their past, and witness a culture being dragged into the modern world as the first ever road to the monastery nears completion.
Riders on the Storm
Twenty-five years after the first ascent, New Zealand climber Mayan Smith-Gobat and German alpinist Ines Papert attempt to free climb "Riders on the Storm" in Chilean Patagonia. Amid the rockfall, the ice, and the heavy storms, the two climbers strive to find their very own way on this difficult big wall climb.
Ruin and Rose
A surreal future leaves the world without water and consumed by sand: the Big Empty. When a young boy unearths an ancient relic hinting at the lost wonders of winter, he sets off in search of the ghosts that once called the mountains their home.
Sea Gypsies: The Far Side of the World
The vessel is Infinity, a 120-ft hand-built sailing ketch, crewed by a community of wanderers. The journey – a 12,800 kilometre Pacific crossing from New Zealand to Patagonia, with a stop in Antarctica, weather permitting. This epitomizes the spirit of adventure.
Seeking Nirvana: The Lucky Strike
It is time for this band of seekers to stake its claim and strike it rich! Found only in the alpine, it's a treasure trove of unrelenting rock and ice, caped with soft and endless snow.
Shepherdess of the Glaciers
This outstanding, intimate film focuses in on the life of one of the last shepherdesses in Ladakh. She lives along at 5,000 metres above sea level with her 300 goats. Filmed by her brother over four seasons, the film draws us into her world of icy loneliness and friendship with her animals.
Sherpa Stew is a documentary film that brilliantly chronicles the lives of two high altitude Sherpas, their families and their friends, who have all left the high Himalaya of Nepal in search of success in New York City.
Near a sacred mountain in the
Yukon, an Indigenous community transforms itself into a world-class mountain
biking destination through the hard work of their young trail crews.
The Song Collector
In the 1960s Morup Namgyal sparked a cultural movement that would bring about profound change in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, India. It was built on education, tradition, and preservation. What Morup could not imagine at that time was that he would ultimately embrace modernization.
Sonnie Trotter vs. The Totem Pole
Canadian climbers Sonnie Trotter and Will Stanhope head down under to take a stab at the first continuous, all free ascent of the Ewbank Route on The Totem Pole.
Spacious: Being Hear
There is an epidemic of extinction of silence on our planet. World-renowned nature sound recordist and acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton works to protect the few remaining quiet places from noise pollution.
The Super Salmon
Proponents of a plan to construct a $5.2 billion hydroelectric mega-dam on Alaska’s Susitna River say it wouldn’t affect the watershed’s famous salmon runs because of its location – upstream of where fish usually swim. Tell that to the Super Salmon.
Many people look to the outdoors to find peace of mind. For Paul Stiffler, better known as Ponytail Paul, the Appalachian Trail and its thru-hikers have been the therapeutic force needed to turn his life around. Paul has taken on a role as “Trail Angel” to help thru-hikers on their 2,186-mile journey and help himself find a new sense of purpose in the process.
In a small village in the south-east of France, a young man explores the mountains with his dogs. Trail Dog is an ode to the beauty and happiness that can be found in the simplest of things – friendship.
One of the UK’s leading indoor competition climbers Natalie Berry sets out to make the transition to traditional outdoor climbing, under the tutelage of Scottish climber Dave Macleod.
As the first Bangladeshi to scale the Seven Summits, Wasfia Nazreen doesn't just climb for the thrill, she climbs for the women of her country. Lyrical and poetic, this short documentary explores what it means to pursue the unknown.
What If You Fly
Hawaiian artist and muralist Sean Yoro (a.k.a. HULA) goes to the Arctic waters of Baffin Island, Nunavut, to paint a portrait of a local Inuit woman on the sea ice. This is the most technical and remote location that Sean has ever attempted a mural, and the wild forces of nature at the top of the world are unpredictable. But for Sean, the physical and creative risks are worth it for a chance at something new.
When the Mountains Were Wild
Is there mountain wilderness left in Europe? A crew of snowboarders/skiers/filmmakers jump in a van and drive down the Balkan peninsula to the so called "cursed mountains" in Albania.
Meet the new faces of climbing: 14-year-old Ashima Shiraishi and 15-year-old Kai Lightner. Pushed outside their comfort zone, Kai and Ashima learn some hard but important lessons that will carry them to even greater heights.