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BANFF, AB, November 3, 2016 – A decade ago, novelist and short story writer Jean McNeil spent a year as writer-in-residence with the British Antarctic Survey, and four months on the world’s most enigmatic continent — Antarctica, the only piece of earth that is nobody’s country. Documenting her year spent on ice, McNeil produced a haunting story of the relationship between beauty and terror, loss and abandonment, transformation and triumph.

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is proud to announce Jean McNeil’s Ice Diaries as the Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Banff Mountain Book Competition.

Chosen from the best in mountain and adventure literature, mountain fiction, mountain image, mountain articles and mountaineering history, and guidebooks, 147 book submissions from authors in nine countries were honed down to a longlist of 27 finalists and from that list our 2016 jury determined category award winners. 

The book finalists for this year’s competition have been described as “irreverent”, “intoxicating”, and “magical”, and were picked from a longlist of finalists to compete for the Phyllis and Don Munday Award (Grand Prize). Ice Diaries was the Adventure Travel category winner of the competition.

This thought-provoking, timely and unusual book blends adventure travel writing and creative non-fiction in a book that’s thoughtful and genuine,” notes Banff Mountain Book Competition jury member, Harry Vandervlist  He adds: “It’s philosophical out of necessity, because the realities of life, death and the staggering natural world of Antarctica force you to confront big questions. Putting those thoughts into memorable prose that invites re-reading is another matter, and Jean McNeil succeeds brilliantly. She chronicles discoveries in the dramatic wilderness of ice, ocean and the huge southern continent, but also in the more intimate wilderness of human relationships within a tiny, confined, community of Antarctic travellers. Through it all, McNeil navigates with a fresh eye and an inquiring voice.”

The 2016 Book Competition jury members are Paul Pritchard (UK, climber and author), Hilaree O’Neill (USA, Climber, Skier), and Harry Vandervlist (CAN, Associate Professor, English, University of Calgary).

Jean McNeil receives $4000 in prize money from the Banff Mountain Book Competition Grand Prize sponsor, the Alpine Club of Canada.

The 2016 Banff Mountain Book Competition Award winners are listed below:

The Phyllis and Don Munday Award - Grand Prize
$4000 – Sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada
Ice Diaries: An Antarctic Memoir
Jean McNeil, ECW Press (CAN, 2016)

Category Award Winners:

Adventure Travel
$2000 - Sponsored by Banff Gondola
Ice Diaries: An Antarctic Memoir
Jean McNeil, ECW Press (CAN, 2016)

Mountain Fiction & Poetry
$2000 – Sponsored by Fjällräven
Martin Marten: A Novel
Brian Doyle, Thomas Dunne Books & St. Martin’s Press (USA, 2015)

Mountain & Wilderness Literature – Non-Fiction - The Jon Whyte Award
$2000 - Sponsored by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
The Bond
Simon McCartney, Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2016)

Mountain Image
$2000 – Sponsored by Lake O’Hara Lodge
Yosemite in the Fifties
Dean Fidelman, Patagonia Books (USA, 2015)

Guidebook
$2000 – Sponsored by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides
1001 Climbing Tips
Andy Kirkpatrick, Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2016)

Mountaineering Article
$2000 – Sponsored by Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative, University of Alberta and the Alpine Club of Canada
Searching for Superman
Jeff Long, Ascent (USA, May 2016)

Mountaineering History
$2000 – Sponsored by Sherpa Adventure Gear
Rock Queen
Catherine Destivelle, Hayloft Publishing Ltd. (UK, 2015

Special Jury Mentions:

Across the Arctic Ocean: Original Photographs from the Last Great Polar Journey
Sir Wally Herbert & Huw Lewis-Jones, Thames & Hudson (USA, 2015)

The Bold and Cold: A History of 25 Classic Climbs in the Canadian Rockies
Brandon Pullan, Rocky Mountain Books Ltd. (CAN, 2016)

For more information on the 2016 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, please visit www.banffmountainfestival.ca

About Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 41 years ago, the Banff 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 extreme sports as presenters and speakers. An international jury will also award over $50,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions.

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Partners: The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is presented by National Geographic and The North Face, and sponsored by Deuter, Clif Bar, Bergans of Norway, Treksta, and Mountain House, with support from PETZL, World Expeditions, Kicking Horse Coffee, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola, Mammut, Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, MEC, and the International Alliance for Mountain Film.

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 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. www.banffcentre.ca

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Design by Martha De Santiago

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is proud to host a sold out Truth and Reconciliation Summit on campus on October 29. Participants will hear keynote speeches from Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, Dr. Marie Wilson and former National Chief, Phil Fontaine, among others, and will discuss ways they can bring the Commission’s 94 calls to action to life in the community.

Whether you’ll be attending the Truth and Reconciliation Summit yourself, watching the livestream on our YouTube channel from home, or are just curious about reconciliation and what you can do, here are some great examples of books, films, podcasts and music that reveal truth, inspire reconciliation, and celebrate Indigenous Canadians.

Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada + 94 Calls to Action

Image via TRCReadingChallenge.com

First, read this.


The most important documents you can read to understand truth and participate in reconciliation are the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report and 94 Calls to Action. In order to improve your relationship with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people, you must first listen deeply to their truths. Join the thousands of Canadians who have signed up for the TRC Reading Challenge and committed to take the first step toward reconciliation. There’s even an audio version available of the history section of the summary. 

The Comeback: How Aboriginals Are Reclaiming Power and Influence, by John Ralston Saul 

Read this to learn about treaty rights and how to be a partner in reconciliation.   

Saul argues that guilt and sympathy are only a way of avoiding the real issues at hand, and that they don’t stir people to action. Instead, he believes it’s most important to understand fundamental rights. In The Comeback, Saul provides an account of the historic treaties signed between the Crown and First Nations, how treaties were broken, and how the Supreme Court is confirming the authority of Indigenous people and their leaders today. The book provides an optimistic take on the return of power, respect, and influence of Indigenous Canadians. 

The Reason You Walk: A Memoir, by Wab Kinew

Read this to witness one man’s very personal journey of discovering truth, and a father-son reconciliation.

In The Reason You Walk, First Nations broadcaster, musician, and activist Wab Kinew revisits his childhood and his difficult relationship with his father, an Anishinaabe chief who was physically and sexually abused in residential school. Hailed by the Globe and Mail as a “meditation on the purpose of living,” Kinew’s brutally honest storytelling reveals the effects of intergenerational trauma, and what it takes to forgive.

Reconciliation is not something realized on a grand level, something that happens when a prime minister and a national chief shake hands. It takes place at a much more individual level. Reconciliation is realized when two people come together and understand that what they share unites them and that what is different between them needs to be respected.

Excerpt, "The Reason You Walk"

Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese

Read this for a look at two inescapable components of Canadian identity: ice hockey and residential schools. 

This novel by journalist and author Richard Wagamese tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, an Ojibway boy who survives residential school and grows up to become a hockey star. Winner of the Canada Reads People’s Choice Award, Wagamese has been praised for his ability to show the “how” of something.

“He shows how it feels to uncover in oneself unexpected power and also to acknowledge amazing betrayal” -Jane Smiley, Globe and Mail

Wagamese won Grand Prize at the 2015 Banff Mountain Book Competition for his book, Medicine Walk. Check out this interview from one of Wagamese’s recent trips to Banff in which he shares why he believes that storytelling has the power to heal emotional wounds. 

Islands of Decolonial Love, by Leanne Simpson

Read these short stories to experience a touching look into life in contemporary Indigenous communities.

This collection of short stories by Leanne Simpson presents the unique experiences of modern Indigenous people living on reserves, in cities, and small towns. Simpson’s portraits of contemporary characters present voices that are rarely heard in the media. We were fortunate to have Simpson perform her beautiful stories as spoken word here at Banff Centre in the Fall of 2015, and an audio recording is available online, which pairs Simpson’s work with cutting-edge Indigenous musicians. 

Elder in the Making, Directed by Chris Hsiung, Co-Produced by Cowboy Smithx

Watch this to learn about Southern Albertan history on Treaty 7 territory.

In their funny and illuminating film, Director Chris Hsiung and Co-Producer Cowboy Smithx embark on a journey to explore Blackfoot territory. Offering a historical account of Treaty 7 and what it means to be treaty people, the film was inspired by the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society, a group of people bringing the stories of Aboriginals to the spotlight, who have workshopped at Banff Centre.

Unreserved, Hosted by Rosanna Deerchild on CBC

Listen to this podcast for your weekly dose of Indigenous conversation and culture.

Hosted by Cree broadcaster, author, and poet Rosanna Deerchild, Unreserved takes listeners behind the scenes on news, community, and culture stories from across Canada. A real-talk show with episodes airing every Sunday and Tuesday, there’s always something new to learn or celebrate from our Indigenous communities. 

Eya-Hey Nakoda

Eya-Hey Nakoda

Eya-Hey Nakoda performs during the Excellence in Indigenous Leadership and Management Certificate ceremony at Banff Centre

Listen for energizing traditional singing and drumming that makes you want to get up and move.

Formed in 1994 by Rod Hunter, Eya-Hey Nakoda is an award-winning intergenerational Stoney Nakoda powwow group. The group size varies, and whether they have five or 15 of their singers and drummers performing, you’re sure to get a boost from this group who are part of the soundtrack to the film Elder in the Making (listed above). We have a special connection to the Eya-Hey Nakoda drummers here at Banff Centre, as they perform at our Excellence in Indigenous Leadership and Management Certificate ceremony every spring.

Spirits of the Rockies: Reasserting an Indigenous Presence in Banff National Park, by Courtney W. Mason; foreword by Roland Rollinmud and Ian A. L. Getty

Read this to discover insights about Banff National Park and First Nations.

Mason worked closely with Stoney Elders to write this account of Indigenous people in Canada’s first national park. Including maps, portraits, and illustrations, Spirits of the Rockies explores colonial encounters, Treaty 7, Banff Indian Days, and more. With a foreword by Indigenous Leadership and Management program, Elder Roland Rollinmud, Spirits of the Rockies will make you think differently about the land residents and visitors walk every day in Banff National Park.



This is just a small sample of the hundreds of works by Canadian authors, filmmakers, and musicians that can help you understand truth and take part in reconciliation. We encourage you to share your own favourite works in the comment section below. To discover more incredible work celebrating Indigenous arts and culture, check out Banff Centre’s Indigenous Arts programming, including more incredible Indigenous artists like Joseph Boyden and Angela Loft.

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BANFF, AB, October 14, 2016 The award winners for the 2016 Banff Mountain Book Competition have been described as “irreverent”, “intoxicating”, and “magical”, and were picked from a longlist of finalists to compete for the Grand Prize, announced on November 3 at this year’s Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

Chosen from the best in mountain and adventure literature, mountain fiction, mountain image, mountain articles and mountaineering history, and guidebooks, 147 book submissions from authors in nine countries were honed down to a longlist of 27 finalists and from that list our 2016 jury determined category award winners. 

“The book jury had a tough job whittling the long list down, given the high caliber of entries in every category this year,” said Joanna Croston, Programming Director for the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. “We are thrilled that the finalists for the 2016 Book Competition’s Grand Prize continue to represent the very best in mountain literature from around the world.”

The 2016 Book Competition jury members are Paul Pritchard (UK, climber and author), Hilaree O’Neill (USA, athlete), and Harry Vandervlist (CAN, Associate Professor, English, University of Calgary).

Category Award Winners:

Adventure Travel
$2000 - Sponsored by Banff Gondola
Ice Diaries: An Antarctic Memoir
Jean McNeil, ECW Press (CAN, 2016)

Mountain Fiction & Poetry
$2000 – Sponsored by Fjällräven
Martin Marten: A Novel
Brian Doyle, Thomas Dunne Books & St. Martin’s Press (USA, 2015)

Mountain & Wilderness Literature – Non-Fiction - The Jon Whyte Award
$2000 - Sponsored by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
The Bond
Simon McCartney, Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2016)

Mountain Image
$2000 – Sponsored by Lake O’Hara Lodge
Yosemite in the Fifties
Dean Fidelman, Patagonia Books (USA, 2015)

Guidebook
$2000 – Sponsored by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides
1001 Climbing Tips
Andy Kirkpatrick, Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2016)

Mountaineering Article
$2000 – Sponsored by Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative, University of Alberta and the Alpine Club of Canada
Searching for Superman
Jeff Long, Ascent (USA, May 2016)

Mountaineering History
$2000 – Sponsored by Sherpa Adventure Gear
Rock Queen
Catherine Destivelle, Hayloft Publishing Ltd. (UK, 2015)

Special Jury Mentions:

Across the Arctic Ocean: Original Photographs from the Last Great Polar Journey
Sir Wally Herbert & Huw Lewis-Jones, Thames & Hudson (USA, 2015)

The Bold and Cold: A History of 25 Classic Climbs in the Canadian Rockies
Brandon Pullan, Rocky Mountain Books Ltd. (CAN, 2016)

Grand Prize – The Phyllis and Don Munday Award
$4000 – Sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada

All category award winners are eligible for the Grand Prize (The Phyllis and Don Munday Award) which will be announced Thursday, November 3, 2016 at The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

For more information on the 2016 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, please visit www.banffmountainfestival.ca

About Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 41 years ago, the Banff 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 extreme sports as presenters and speakers. An international jury will also award over $50,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions.

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Partners: The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is presented by National Geographic and The North Face, and sponsored by Deuter, Clif Bar, Bergans of Norway, Treksta, and Mountain House, with support from PETZL, World Expeditions, Kicking Horse Coffee, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola, Mammut, Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, MEC, and the International Alliance for Mountain Film.

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 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. www.banffcentre.ca

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BANFF, AB, October 13, 2016 - Few people know Canada’s western mountain ranges better than David P. Jones. For those who have hiked, skied, sport climbed or ascended a peak in Canada’s mountain west, there’s every chance it was because Jones had been there first.

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is proud to announce David P. Jones as the 2016 recipient of the Summit of Excellence Award. For the first time, the award has been extended to recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to mountain life in Canada (previously it was a Canadian Rockies-based award).

“For more than half a century, Dave P. Jones has been one of the great spirits of our country’s mountains,” says Geoff Powter, a member of the Summit of Excellence committee. “He’s dreamt, mapped, flagged and cut numerous trails, giving the rest of us access to ranges that we’d likely otherwise never have entered.”

David P. Jones is one of Canada’s most accomplished mountaineers. In an unparalleled record, Jones has made the first ascents of nearly 100 unclimbed peaks from the Coast Range to the Rockies to the great northern mountains of Kluane, many of them by notably hard routes, and he’s made more than 100 first ascents of new routes on previously ascended mountains. He’s been just as active a contributor to the world of rock climbing, pioneering some 250 sport routes across southern British Columbia (B.C.).

Jones’s commitment to exploration and discovery started young. Raised outside of Revelstoke B.C., Jones was surrounded by mountains, and itched to explore. “At twelve and half,” Jones says, “I really wanted to go to the Seattle World’s Fair, and I kept bugging my father. He got fed up and finally said, ‘Well, why don’t you goddamn walk?’” Jones took that as permission to go, and he and a friend rode three-speed bikes all the way from Revelstoke to Seattle, taking ten days to get there. That journey was prescient. Jones followed it with decades and decades of deep backcountry exploration with exactly the same flavour.

Jones has made four ascents of Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan, twice by new routes. His first ascent of Logan’s massive and complex Warbler Ridge was a 27-day epic that remains unrepeated after 40 years. He also blazed Canadian trails in the Himalaya when while ascending Makalu, he became the first Canadian to climb above 8000-metres. 

During his prolific career Jones has matched his prodigious exploration with meticulous cataloguing of peaks and their climbs. This commitment naturally led to a role as an author of several climbing guidebooks, beginning with a series of guides of his beloved Selkirk Ranges, (Selkirk North Climbing Guide), and has now expanded to the mammoth job of updating the long-out-of-print guides to the Rockies, in Rockies Central Guide.

I am honoured to receive this award and in so doing, I wish to acknowledge and thank all those who have climbed with me for over five decades,” says Jones.  “I'm very appreciative of each and every climber who has shared the mountains with me and who has contributed to my guidebooks.  In short, I am indebted to all my climbing companions.

The 2016 Summit of Excellence Award is sponsored by Norseman Outdoor Specialist and Yamnuska Mountain Adventures. The award will be presented at the Best of the Festival awards night at this year’s Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival on Sunday, November 6.

About Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 41 years ago, the Banff 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 $50,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions.

About the Summit of Excellence Award: Presented by the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival since 1987, the annual Summit of Excellence Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to mountain life in Canada. It is presented in memory of Calgary climber Bill March, an internationally respected mountaineer, author, and educator, who led Canada’s first successful Everest climb in 1982. Recent recipients of the award include Pierre Lemire (2015), Urs Kallen (2014), Ben Gadd (2013), Geoff Powter (2012) and Philippe Delesalle (2011).

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 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. www.banffcentre.ca

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indie band club show

Faculty and participants from the Independent Music Residency play a live show at The Club. L to R: Faculty Kathleen Edwards, participant Sam Cash, faculty Charles Spearin and participant Adrian Underhill.

What is indie music, anyway? It's a question that Independent Music Residency faculty member Charles Spearin posed at the residency's live show at The Club Friday, October 7. There are so many styles and formats that fit within the definition of "indie," and this year's participants are a testament to that. 

The four emerging musicians accepted into the 2016 residency all happen to be solo artists, and their styles couldn't be more different. From vocal loops, to instrumentals, to good old fashioned acoustic guitar, the artists have showcased their unique sounds and we've had a lot of fun watching their creations come to life. 

Join them Saturday, October 15 at 9 p.m. for the Indie Band Listening Party, where they'll each present the new work they recorded right here in Banff.

Kira May

kira may indie band
kira may indie band

Artist Kira May performs at The Club

kira may indie band

Kira May in her Banff Centre music hut during the Independent Music Residency

Kira: The best takeaway lesson I’m learning is to just open up, and have no fear, and say yes to everything. That’s been my mantra—say yes to everything. And there’s a quote on the wall [from Richard Reed Parry] and I wrote it down I loved it so much: “Say yes until it breaks you.” And I’ve been thinking about that. Every opportunity I have to work with somebody new, or to explore somebody else’s idea I’m just like, “Let’s try it. Let’s do it all.” In the past I’ve been very timid about collaborating just due to my own shyness and I’ve been collaborating with so many people here and getting amazing results. I couldn’t be happier. 

Sam Cash

sam cash indie band

Independent Music Residency participant Sam Cash performs at The Club

indie band sam cash

Sam Cash in his practice studio

Sam: I don’t play piano. I used to play the piano a lot and I haven’t played in years. And up here I’ve been playing the most piano I’ve played since I was, like, 13. And that opens up all these other creative outlets. When you’re writing on an instrument that you know really well, you go back to the same habits, same chords, same progressions. And then when I’m playing piano, I’m approaching it like a kid approaches something new.

Jade Bergeron

jade bergeron indie band

Jade Bergeron performs at The Club

jade bergeron indie band
jade bergeron indie band

Independent Music Residency participant Jade Bergeron

Jade: I have kind of a full-time, grown-up job outside of music. It’s just really kind of been trying to find a balance between writing music and making money to make more music. It’s hard to have a social life when you have so much going on like that, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think music has a life of its own, and I think you just know when it’s meant to be. Music is just one of those things that you come home to at the end of the day and it’s there to support you. 

Adrian Underhill

adrian underhill indie band

Independent Music Residency participant Adrian Underhill plays at The Club

adrian underhill indie band

Adrian Underhill in his Banff Centre practice studio

Adrian: I’ve had a great time chatting with everybody who’s in the indie residency. We’re all doing different things but it doesn’t seem hard at all to find things in common. I think, as a solo artist or any type of artist, you’re always looking for people to bounce ideas with and it seems very natural to bounce them off somebody who’s in a similar position. They kind of just get it. It doesn’t really matter what genre of music you’re doing, you’re always trying to pursue a vision and there’s various obstacles and hang-ups that you’re having and it just seems really natural to talk about those things.

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Leadership participants in discussion.

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is proud to host a Truth and Reconciliation Summit on campus October 29, 2016. The sold out event brings together community members, and speakers like Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, Dr. Marie Wilson and former National Chief Phil Fontaine. We’ll be live streaming the event on October 29 on our YouTube page, so subscribe and stay tuned.


When graphic designer Martha de Santiago was tasked with designing an image to represent Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Truth and Reconciliation Summit, she started with a story. That story is about history, about healing, and about hope for the future—all things the Summit hopes to address.

The Summit, which will be held at Banff Centre October 29, is a chance for important national figures in the Truth and Reconciliation conversation and local Bow Valley community members to gather and discover ways to put the commission’s 94 calls to action in motion.

Creating the logo for such an important event quickly became de Santiago’s main focus. She began creating her concept by researching parts of Canada’s Indigenous history, reading the 94 calls, and noting patterns of words and concepts that kept coming up over and over again. 

“I got really emotional because obviously it’s such a powerful thing to read,” she said.

She also met with Brian Calliou, Banff Centre’s director of Indigenous Leadership programming, to discuss Banff Centre’s role in this important national movement.

“I ended up highlighting the words that came up the most,” said the self-taught designer. “After my reading of a little bit of history and thinking of Brian’s conversation, and of the words that kept coming up—like relationships, healing, dialogue, action—that got distilled into a sketch.”

A sketch from the early conception of Martha De Santiago's logo design for Banff Centre's Truth and Reconciliation Summit.

That sketch incorporated those thoughts into abstract shapes that tell a story. There are sparks—94 in total, one for each call to action—floating up the page as if caught by the wind. A black shape represents the dark past, the history that must be acknowledged. Overlayed are two almost-intertwined shapes representing a compassionate and honest dialogue—the idea of working together while maintaining diversity. It’s visually stunning and significant all at once.

“I think the image is meant to express ideas and not just make things look pretty. It should have a lot of meaning,” she said. 

For Brian Calliou, the meaning behind every last part of the image was not lost.

“I think when people look at that, they’re going to have their own thoughts of what it means. I think it’s going to spark interest just visually,” he said. 

And sparking ideas, conversation, and action is what Calliou hopes to achieve with the Summit—a idea that started small and ballooned into a Centre-wide effort over time.

“Canada needs to consider reconciliation and here we are, an institution who takes the calls seriously, and we’re able to host such an event and play a lead role,” he said.

“In a way, Banff Centre’s just been this amazing resource in all the work I’ve been doing since I’ve been working here,” said Calliou. “The resources we’re able to use here is very meaningful for me as an Indigenous person. And I think the Summit is another version of that.” 

The sold out event promises to face difficult truths, but most importantly create sparks and have participants keep them burning all the way back to their communities where they can make change a reality. 

Learn more about our Truth and Reconciliation Summit here.

Animation by motion graphic artist Rebecca St. John

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The Seers Catalogue is a new piece of interactive fiction from Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner Sean Michaels. Commissioned by Banff Centre in 2015 and published by Banff Centre Press, this work follows Michaels' award-winning novel, Us Conductors, and is available for free online. 

The story is strange and wonderful and follows a choose-your-own-adventure format that leads the reader to flip through an obscure magazine series that leads them on a quest. But it's not exactly like the childhood novels you may be imagining.

“It's not really like anything else exactly," says Michaels. "It's the tale of a very mysterious magazine called the Seers Catalogue, which is sort of a kind of David-Lynchian version of National Geographic or something like that in its way. It's the story of you and your relationship with the magazine and the adventures that unfold because of it.”

A still from The Seer's Catalogue, a work of interactive fiction by Sean Michaels, commissioned by Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. 

How to Read The Seers Catalogue

  1. Go to the Seers Catalogue site. Read the story using Chrome or Firefox, on desktop for the best experience. 

  2. Use headphones. The careful, ambient sound design will help suck you into the world of The Seers Catalogue.

  3. Click through the story. Linked words and objects will appear. You needn't select every link, but what you choose to click will alter your path in the narrative. 

  4. Enjoy! Keep your mind open to the many possibilities of interactive fiction. 

Clicking—or not clicking—on words and objects brings the reader into the story and asks him or her to help steal a mysterious object. If, or how you do it is up to you, but there are many crossroads that must be navigated along the way.

“The reader is clicking on things and choosing things, and because of that active involvement, they become complicit in the story in a way. It's their choices, or the choices they are forced into. 

"I'm really interested in what that feels like as a reader when you become complicit in a story. It’s your fault."

The beautiful imagery lends a lot to the eerie feeling of the story. Illustrators James Braithwaite and Patrick McEown created memorable pieces that anchor the reader to this otherworldly place. Programmer Stephen Ascher, along with Banff Centre programmer Kenny Lozowski, took those elements and brought them to life. 

For Michaels, after writing a novel rooted in the true-life story of a Russian scientist, being able to delve completely into a world of his own creation was exciting. 

“When you're a child, mysteries feel so powerful, magical and exciting. As we become adults, they tend to kind of lose some of that mystique. I think we've been disenchanted a little bit," says Michaels. 

"Most of us have come to decide that there aren't any vast conspiracies or cabals in the world. There aren't any sorcerers lurking, you know, monsters under our beds. For me, I've always been really interested in trying to get to that almost juvenile memory of magic and enchantment and the wardrobe that is kind of opening up in front of you. And Seers Catalogue is really kind of drawing on nostalgia.”

Read The Seers Catalogue today. 

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BANFF, AB, August 3, 2016 – Rock climbing has never seen the likes of these women. Both are known for their trailblazing ascents of The Nose, the Eiger, and the Matterhorn; for establishing record-breaking speed climbs, for possessing a steely dedication to their craft; and, for helping to shape the world of rock climbing. The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is proud to announce Lynn Hill and Catherine Destivelle as headline presenters for the 2016 Festival.

This year’s Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival showcases #NineEpicDays of the best in mountain adventure films and books including the premieres of Mirror Wall, featuring UK climber Leo Holding, and Link Sar West with in person presentations by alpinists Jonathan Griffith and Andy Houseman, US snowboarder Jeremy Jones; Canadian climber Sonnie Trotter; Russian alpinist Dennis Urubko; UK poet Helen Mort; and, nature and wildlife photographer Florian Schulz. Climber and filmmaker Cedar Wright will also return for the second year as emcee presenting the action-packed adrenaline show Radical Reels. 

Festival Director, Deb Smythe, said this year’s lineup of film and book events and presentations appeals to all audiences. “Some people have a passion for adventure, others like filming or writing about them and others just love seeing the stories unfold from the comfort of an armchair in a theatre”, she said. Programming Director, Joanna Croston added: “We are thrilled to have an incredible lineup of adventurers, writers and filmmakers this year to cater for all of these audiences by bringing everyone’s love of adventure together.” 

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival takes place from October 29 – November 6th, 2016, and is hosted by Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Canada. Over 75 films are presented at the Festival where audiences get the opportunity to meet, ask questions, and learn from the world’s finest climbers, photographers, writers, explorers, and more. 

The full schedule is available online and tickets can be purchased at  www.banffmountainfestival.ca or Banff Centre Box Office from August 3 at 12 p.m.

Schedule Highlights

October 29 – Sonnie Trotter followed by Mirror Wall

Sonnie Trotter is one of the world’s most accomplished rock climbers, becoming the first Canadian to climb both 5.14c and 5.14d. Trotter has made first and second ascents of some of the hardest traditional climbs in the world including Cobra Crack in Squamish, Canada. Trotter joins us on the Banff stage to talk about life on the sharp end.

Presentation followed by the North American premiere of Mirror Wall.  In 2015, filmmaker Matt Pycroft, and a team of climbers including Leo Holding, climbed a new route on the North West face of the Mirror Wall, a 1200 metre peak in remote Greenland. Pycroft joins us in person to talk about succeeding in the face of challenging conditions, illness, and prowling polar bears.

October 29 – 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 explores the complex issues of land use and the intrinsic beauty of nature as one of Canada’s vast wildernesses undergoes irrevocable change. 

Followed by more films in competition.

October 30 – Florian Schulz

Photographer Florian Schulz’s mission is to connect the marine landscapes along the pacific Coast of North America. Bringing his latest book, The Wild Edge, to Banff, Schulz talks about the captivating 13,500 kilometres journey that has taken him ten years to complete.

Followed by films in competition.

November 2 – Radical Reels with Cedar Wright

Radical Reels has become more than just a night of awesome extreme sports, crazy athletes, and mega-adrenaline feats on a massive screen. It’s an annual highlight, a Banff tradition that is full of wacky antics, outrageous stunts and high octane films – with climber and filmmaker Cedar Wright returning for his second year as emcee.

November 3 – Catherine Destivelle and Banff Mountain Book Competition Awards

This event begins with the presentation of the Banff Mountain Book Competition 2016 awards. Catherine Destivelle is one of the most celebrated alpinists of all time. She was climbing some of the highest peaks in the Alps by the age of 17 and was unbeatable at world cup competitions in the late 1980s, but was then drawn back towards the realm of mountaineering. She has since made solo winter ascents of the Eiger, the Grandes Jorasses, and the Matterhorn. Destivelle presents her story, in her own words, of a life climbing and the feats she’s achieved, including her unprecedented 11-day solo first ascent of the West Face of Les Drus in Chamonix, as well as cutting-edge ascents in Pakistan and the Himalaya.

November 3 – David Stevenson

David Stevenson is the author of the fiction collection Letters from Chamonix which won the Banff Mountain Book Award for Fiction in 2014. Stevenson, who has been the book reviews editor of American Alpine Journal since 1995, will be speaking about his newly-published essay collection, Warnings Against Myself.

November 4 – Jeremy Jones

Jeremy Jones is arguably one of the most interesting and influential snowboarders in the world. He is equally as famous for his creativity, commitment, and courage in the mountains as he is for humanitarianism and social responsibility. The new star of many films and author of the new book, No Words for the Way Down, Jones is also the founder of Protect our Winters, a non-profit dedicated to reducing the effect of climate change.

Followed by films in competition.

November 4 – Helen Mort 

Helen Mort is a contemporary poet and one of England’s greatest exports. She also has a passion for trail running, climbing, and landscapes. Mort’s first collection, Division Street, was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and her new collection, No Map Could Show Them, was created during the Banff Mountain and Wilderness Writing Workshop. 

November 4 – Ines Papert

Ines Papert is one of the world’s strongest alpinists, following in the footsteps of legends in Patagonia, the Rockies, and at home in the Alps. She is four-time Ice Climbing World Champion and the first woman to climb the mixed grade of M11. She has shifted the realm of what is possible and has shown what it means to be an extreme climber and mother.

Followed by films in competition.

November 4 – Voices of Adventure: An Interview with Paul Pritchard

In the 1990s, British-born climber Paul Pritchard was at the top of the international climbing scene. After winning the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature in 1997 for Deep Play, he spent his prize money on a climbing tour that found him ascending the Totem Pole in Tasmania – where he was hit by a boulder, sustaining a traumatic brain injury that left doctors questioning whether he would walk or talk again. Despite this prognosis, Pritchard has made remarkable progress and joins climber, writer, and psychologist, Geoff Powter, for a conversation about recovery and possibility.

November 5 – Lynn Hill 

Lynn Hill is a living legend. In 1983 she changed the definition of what is possible in rock climbing with her first free ascent of the most famous big wall climb in the world, The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite. The following year, she free-climbed it again, that time in less than a day. Over 19 years later, Tommy Caldwell and Hill are still the only two people in the world to have succeeded in making an all free one-day ascent of The Nose. She joins us in conversation with renowned Australian-born climber and author, Greg Child

Followed by films in competition.

November 5 – Denis Urubko

Is there anything in the mountaineering world that accomplished Russian climber Denis Urubko hasn’t done? He has climbed all fourteen 8,000 metre peaks without supplementary oxygen, claimed the speed record up Mt Elbrus, won the Piolet d’Or twice and has summited two 8,000 metre peaks in winter. Urubko joins us in Banff for an engaging interview with award-winning writer Bernadette McDonald. 

Followed by films in competition.

Notable authors in attendance for this year’s Banff Mountain Book Festival include Jon Turk, Sarah Marquis, Andy Kirkpatrick, and Brendan Leonard as well as Canadian authors Brandon Pullan and Kevin Van Tighem.

Full film line-up and Book Competition finalists will be announced in October. For more information on the 2016 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, please visit www.banffmountainfestival.ca.

Imagery available here: https://www.banffcentre.ca/images


About Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 41 years ago, the Banff 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 extreme sports as presenters and speakers. An international jury will also award over $50,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions.

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Partners: The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is presented by National Geographic and The North Face, and sponsored by Deuter, Clif Bar, Bergans of Norway, Treksta, and Mountain House, with support from  PETZL, World Expeditions, Kicking Horse Coffee, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola, Mammut, Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, MEC, and the International Alliance for Mountain Film.

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 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. www.banffcentre.ca

Current Residencies

Residency programs currently underway in Visual + Digital Arts.

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Carl Potts published the first mini-series featuring the character Rocket Raccoon, nearly ten years after the gun-toting raccoon first appeared in the Marvel Universe in 1976.

“A lot of the other editors thought I was nuts for putting this thing out,” says Potts, who was an executive editor for most of his 13 years at Marvel Comics.

Rocket Raccoon wasn’t really used again until he featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy comics and blockbuster film. It took thirty years, but Potts was finally vindicated.

Potts spoke about his experiences overseeing Marvel publications while he was at The Banff Centre last week as part of the two-day Story Summit.

The audience of visual storytellers, primed perhaps by the recent discussion surrounding Stan Lee’s real role in creating Marvel’s roster of superheroes, came to learn how Pott’s experience with Marvel taught him how to balance group collaboration and fair credit.

Characters like Rocket Raccoon don’t belong to Potts, but to his creators -- a writer-artist duo. Though as an editor, Potts helped direct the course of several much-loved superheroes.

“I have a nostalgic attachment to a lot of them,” Potts says. “I never took credit for editorial contributions to books I helped develop in my capacity as an editor. I just considered it part of the job.”

Comics’ long-lived characters are a collaborative feat: fleshed out, tested, and modernized by a small army of artists, writers, and colourists.

The company often uses what’s called the “Marvel method”, where writers draft a quick plot summary before sending it to the pencil artist. That artist figures out the number of panels needed to tell the story and adds their own pacing, character quirks, and plot twists.

“Quite often, the writer would get back something that would be a bit different than they envisioned when they first wrote that plot,” Potts says.

This back-and forth-process helps keep content fresh for a while. But when a team stagnates, the comic book series can be traded to another creative crew. For this kind of creative exchange to take place, Potts says the office environment needs to foster a sense of equality. He tried to ensure all his team had basic understanding of the value of everyone else’s role.

Handing off your creative baby can save your character from stagnation or put it at risk, he says.

Potts experienced this first hand when he had to give up writing The Punisher War Journal after he was promoted to executive editor.

“You kind of have to do battle with two competing notions. One of which is that evolution can and should be good, but that some people just screw things up.”

The Punisher character existed for many years before Potts developed it into a franchise, but he worked hard to define the traits of the character.

Having the artists and writers on the same page from the beginning helps ensure quality output. Potts cast the Punisher as a two-dimensional anti-hero, so that as his story progressed or when he cameoed in other series he was consistent.

“If there is only one person who knows what the characters are or aren’t, it has got to be the editor. But ideally, everybody on the book is going to have a good feel for the character.”

For larger projects, Potts recommends drafting a “bible” to cement the world’s characters and internal logic. It helps him sort everything out in his head and gives his team a base to work from and add to.

Potts says this approach has helped him successfully take many of his own creations forward, with his sights set on the big screen.

He is currently reaching out to studios with several screenplays. The rights for his comic series, Alien Legion, have been purchased by Bruckheimer Disney.   

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