Body 

Banff, Alberta, May 17, 2011 -- Recently, the New Zealand Herald called a performance by the Black Grace dance company “a polished, pungent, bone-crunchingly physical and perfectly executed alchemy of music, muscle and motion.” The company, New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance group, is a unique mix of traditional Pacific Rim dance and modern movement, under the leadership of artistic director Neil Ieremia. This summer, Black Grace will be in Banff for the premiere of Migration (July 15 to 17), a collaboration with Toronto-based indigenous dance company Red Sky Performance – developed in Banff – one of more than 150 events that will be presented in Banff as part of the Rockies’ biggest cultural celebration.   

Banff Centre’s annual showcase of fine and performing arts, the Banff Summer Arts Festival, runs from May through August, with performances and exhibitions in music, opera, theatre, dance, Aboriginal arts, visual and literary arts, new media, and film, much of it original work created at the Centre.  

The Festival kicks off in May with literary readings and three weeks of readings, from the Centre’s Writing Studio, by authors including Dick Hebdige, Padma Viswanathan, and Daphne Marlatt. Jazz swings into action May 25 under the leadership of New York-based trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas, with three weeks of casual gigs (through June 10) and mainstage performances (May 28, June 4 and 11).  

On June 16, Vancouver-based artist Brian Jungen will unveil his Banff Centre commission The ghosts on top of my head, an outdoor sculpture installation situated at the heart of the campus. More Centre alumni return June 17, for a special concert as part of the Music for a Summer Evening series. The Cecilia Quartet, winners of the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition are joined onstage by pianist Jamie Parker of the Gryphon Trio, and Geoff Nuttall, violinist with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, recorded in partnership and celebration of CBC’s 75th anniversary.  

On June 25, the Festival heads into town for a great big outdoor concert featuring St. Johns-based roots rockers Great Big Sea. Held outdoors on the natural slope at Banff’s Admin Grounds, the Performance in the Park celebrates 100 years of the Parks service in Canada. The Centre’s indigenous music series Diverse as This Land returns June 30 and July 1with performances by young Canadian and international vocalists and musicians, and a special appearance by Maori singer Moana Maniapoto.  

When the Festival heats up in July, performances will head outside to the new Shaw Amphitheatre, built overlooking the town of Banff, the Bow Valley, and the Bourgeau Mountain Range. It will be one of the most spectacular outdoor performance spaces in Canada, this year featuring Latin Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Alex Cuba (July 19), trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindemann (July 31), and Canadian music legends Blue Rodeo (September 11).  

Robert Stephen, a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and winner of the 2010 Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award, has created a new work for the Centre’s Dance Masters ballet company, set to music by Aleksandra Vrebalov. The company will premiere the work July 20 to 23, along with pieces by Balanchine, Frederic Ashton, and Gioconda Barbuto. In August, the Centre’s Eric Harvie Theatre stage will be filled with opera, including two performances of Mozart’s comic masterpiece Cosi Fan Tutte (August 19, 21), and the Alberta premiere of John Estacio and John Murrell’s Lillian Alling (August 18, 20), which opened last fall at Vancouver Opera.  

In the Walter Phillips Gallery, New York-based conceptual art duo Dexter Sinister will build The Serving Library (July 10 to September 4). A moveable feast of text-based explorations, the exhibition is part fixed archive, part circulating collection. Summer literary events include a reading by poet Anne Carson (June 22), and a month of non-fiction readings and panels in July, led by journalist and author Ian Brown, director of the Centre’s Literary Journalism program.   The summer wraps up September 17 with a special engagement with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in the Shaw Amphitheatre. For Classical Banff: A Symphony of Taste, which features cellist Shauna Rolston, a late-afternoon open-air concert is paired with a pre-show chat with CPO Music Director Roberto Minczuk, and dinner in the Centre’s Husky Great Hall.  

The Banff Summer Arts Festival is designed to appeal to all ages and all cultural interests, with large-scale mainstage shows, intimate club gigs, lots of literary and visual arts content, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the gorgeous surroundings of the Canadian Rockies.

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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

Body 

Banff, Alberta, May 2, 2011 -- Mark Resch, appointed to The Banff Centre’s newly created role of director of Digital Media Research, brings together a wide range of stakeholders in technology, business, and culture, hosting the Alberta Digital Media Summit at the Centre May 8 to 10. The Summit, for regional, national, and international decision-makers, will develop the first draft of a strategic plan for digital media in Alberta through 2020.  

"I’m excited to be taking on this dynamic new role at The Banff Centre and look forward to building and bridging networks at the upcoming summit,” Resch says. The Summit will outline a clear set of multidisciplinary digital media opportunities for entrepreneurs, content creators, and infrastructure developers, in entertainment, education, and storytelling on digital platforms. The event will also help solidify a network of collaborators across the province, and bring in new partners.  

As director of Digital Media Research at The Banff Centre, Resch will secure external research funding, develop and nurture external partnerships, and oversee the Centre’s existing research infrastructure in digital media. He’ll oversee existing labs, including the Centre’s collaboration and visualization labs (funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation) and outline a vision for future research infrastructure and programs. His work will engage partners including practicing artists, university researchers, and creative-industry colleagues, in collaborative projects, including dedicated research programs, co-productions, workshops, conferences, and summits.  

Arriving in Banff from the San Francisco area, Resch’s background encompasses work as an artist, teacher, technologist, executive and start-up founder. Former assistant professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Resch is co-founder of Onomy Labs, and former president and CEO of CommerceNet, a non-profit think tank that brings together stakeholders in systems for electronic commercial transactions. Originally from Chicago, he has a BA in history from Grinnell College and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

"The Silicon Valley has long been known as a hotbed of creative ferment, and we are very excited to connect Mark Resch and his long time experience in the Bay area with the diverse network of creative producers, artists and researchers at The Banff Centre,” says Kerry Stauffer, executive director of Film & Media at The Banff Centre.

Digital Media is part of the Film & Media department at The Banff Centre, which encompasses creative work in film and video, new media, audio, and media research, and produces the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. Programming includes film and new media residency programs, creative training and workshops, and self-directed creative residency opportunities.

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About The Banff Centre: The Banff Centre’s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs here every year. Through its multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. 

Body 

Banff, Alberta, November 9, 2010 -- In the early 1970s when they started showing up at Southern California crags – the San Gabriels, Joshua Tree, and Tahquitz – this particularly talented group of young climbers had an immense impact not only on climbing in North America, but also on the youth culture of the decade. The Stonemasters, as they called themselves, with their tans, cut-offs, nomadic natures, their dope-smoking and lightning-fast ascents, established countless new routes in a pure, bold, and visionary style. Their story, in personal anecdotes and archival photos, is told in John Long and Dean Fidelman’s book The Stonemasters: California Climbing in the Seventies (Stonemaster Press, USA, 2009), winner of the Grand Prize at the 2010 Banff Mountain Book Festival.    

With a freewheeling style that soon dominated Yosemite, these California kids influenced their sport across the continent and overseas, creating a climbing revolution that easily echoes today. “We considered ourselves nothing if we couldn’t affect a sea change in the ways climbers felt and thought and behaved,” Long writes. “It was all part of proving that we mattered, that we were worth a damn as human beings. In our minds, a revolution was not a luxury but a condition of being alive.” The Stonemasters was also awarded the James Monroe Thorington Award for the Best Work of Mountaineering History.  

Lynn Schooler’s memoir Walking Home: A Journey in the Alaskan Wilderness (Bloomsbury, USA, 2010) won the Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature. Exhausted by an attempt to build a home for his failing marriage, and finding himself on the far side of middle age, Schooler set out on a solo trek along Alaska’s wild coastline, picking up stories of people and wilderness along the way. “Journeying in these rugged places involves negotiating not only the difficult ground beneath one’s feet, but just as often the more complex and challenging terrain of the heart,” says Banff Mountain Book Festival jury member Jon Popowich.  

The jury chose Kevin McLane’s Canadian Rock: Select Climbs of the West (High Col Press, Canada, 2010) as Best Book – Mountain Exposition. A comprehensive guide to more than 70 climbing areas in Western Canada, from Squamish to the Ghost River Valley, McLane’s book covers more than 1200 routes. “We’re very happy to honour one author who took a risk of describing not just a crag, but half a country, and did a remarkable job” says jury member Geoff Powter. “This wonderful book gives us new projects, new places, and new friends, for years to come.”  

Jon Waterman’s account of a once-mighty waterway, Running Dry: A Journey from Source to Sea down the Colorado River (National Geographic Books, USA, 2010) was named Best Book – Adventure Travel. An accomplished paddler and National Geographic grantee, Waterman finds the pulse of the West’s iconic river, which now irrigates more than 3.5 million acres of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico, and dwindles to dust in its once-lush delta.  

“The writer simply walked out his back door, put a boat into the best known river in the nation, and paddled to the sea,” Powter says. “Nothing else about this book was simple, however; through the author’s eyes we see how everything beautiful and majestic, and difficult and frightening about the United States in 2010 is carried in the currents of that river.”  

A spectacular record of the beauty of Polar regions, Paul Nicklen’s Polar Obsession (National Geographic Books, USA, 2009) was chosen as Best Book – Mountain Image. Growing up on Baffin Island, Nicklen was fascinated with the study of how local wildlife adapts itself to extreme cold and deprivation. His book captures the unique qualities of Polar wildlife and wildernesses, including Antarctica – a place he describes as the most life-filled and awe-inspiring location he’s ever been.  

The jury, including writer Geoff Powter, climbing journalist Jon Popowich, and mountaineer John Porter, also chose to honour John Vaillant’s The Tiger (Knopf Canada, 2010) for a Special Jury Award. Vaillant’s second bestselling work of non-fiction tracks a man-eating tiger in the deepest wilds of Siberia, and the man who set out to bring it down. Porter describes it as “a book that explores the many levels on which man is losing the natural balance that once existed with human society and the animal kingdom.”  

Each year, running concurrently with the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the Banff Mountain Book Festival brings the spirit of outdoor adventure and the tradition of mountain literature to Banff, uniting writers, publishers, editors, photographers, and readers. Featuring guest speakers, readings, seminars, an international book competition, book signings and launches, the Book Festival is now in its 17th year.

— 30 —

About the Banff
Mountain Film and Book Festival:
 Created 40 years ago,
the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its
kind in the world. The Festival 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. More than 80 films screen during the nine-day festival, and an
international jury awards over $50,000 annually in prizes.  

About
The Banff Centre:
 The Banff Centre's mission is
inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders, and researchers from
across Canada and around the world participate in programs at The Banff Centre
every year. Through its multidisciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides
them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make
the impossible possible. Moving forward, the Centre will disseminate the art
and ideas developed in Banff through initiatives in digital, web, radio, and
broadcast media.

Body 

Banff, Alberta, November 7, 2010 -- Feliciano is descended from generations of indigenous subsistence farmers high in Peru’s Sacred Valley. He and his wife and young son live by the seasons, existing fully off the sparse offerings of the land, in a rhythm that’s existed for hundreds of years. To make extra money he works as a porter on the Inca Trail, carrying close to 50 pounds of gear for trekkers on the four-day trip to Machu Picchu. In his first feature film, Mi Chacra, director Jason Burlage follows Feliciano, at home and on the Trail, uncovering a little-seen way of life high in the Andes. With its moving insight into the place where tradition and modernity meet, Mi Chacra has been awarded the Grand Prize at the 2010 Banff Mountain Film Festival.   

“This story is beautifully told,” says Film Festival jury member Eric Valli. “The filmmaker has a deep understanding of his subject, and it puts mountain life under a microscope.” For jury member Jacqueline Florine, Mi Chacra gave her a sense of what it truly means to live in the mountains. “Adventurers, mountaineers, outdoor athletes, we’re really just joyriders out there,” she says. “This film showed us someone who ekes out a living at elevation.”    

The film Summer Pasture, which won the award for Best Feature-length Mountain Film, tells a similar story, from the other side of the world. Producer / directors Lynn True, Nelson Walker, and Tsering Perlo give us an intimate glimpse into another traditional way of life, on the high grasslands of eastern Tibet. The film follows a nomadic family as they come into contact with the necessities of moving forward in a more modern society. “This film had an authentic feel to it,” says jury member John Porter. “It unfolded naturally.” The film was chosen as a winner in part because of the way it brought forward an intimate family dynamic – uncovering the universal desire that parents have to give their children a better life.  

The Australian film Crossing the Ditch was awarded Best Film on Exploration and Adventure, for capturing the true naivety and struggle that underpins many of the world’s best adventures. Made by Douglas Howard, Greg Quail, and Justin Jones, the film documents the attempt by young adventurers James Castrission and Justin Jones to cross the 2200-km Tasman Sea by kayak. “These people were completely ignorant about what they wanted to do,” Florine says of the pair, who took on ten-metre waves and shark-infested currents. “But the film shows the complete adventure process, from start to finish.”  

Winning the award for Best Film on Mountain Culture, director Stephen Grynberg’s A Life Ascending tells the story of another man fully adapted to life at elevation. Ruedi Beglinger is a guide’s guide, a backcountry ski guru who has spent almost three decades living and working out of a hand-built cabin high in the Selkirk Mountains north of Revelstoke, British Columbia. A Life Ascending shows how Beglinger’s life in the mountains was affected by a deadly avalanche that swept through one of his ski groups in 2003. “There are many people who live above the valleys, and who love the mountains,” Porter says. “But there are few people who have the ability to impart their love of the mountains to other people.”  

The quiet elegance of a traditional craft imbues the Swiss film L’eau qui fait tourner la roue, winner of the award for Best Film on Mountain Environment. “It’s minimalist, very simple,” Valli says. “It goes to the essential, the love of one man for his work, and in terms of film craft, it’s a beautiful piece.” Director Jean-Francois Amiguet’s story follows the Crisinel family, who settled at the foot of the Jura in 1900 to operate a traditional water mill and farm the land.  

Alastair Lee’s The Asgard Project, winner of the award for Best Film on Climbing, follows alpinists Leo Houlding, Sean Leary, and Carlos Suarez as they make an ambitious attempt on the first free ascent of Mount Asgard in Baffin Island, an epic expedition on one of the toughest big walls in the world. “The audience fully takes part in this adventure,” Porter says. “The story isn’t just told to us through the narrator, and we ride a wave of emotions with the climbers.”  

The jury made an unusual choice for Best Film on Mountain Sport, an irreverent, creative documentary that follows professional fly fisher Frank Smethurst as he goes off the grid on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Siberia, one of the last truly wild landscapes left in the world. Shot with stunning visuals, Eastern Rises, by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, takes in Sasquatch sightings, mouse-eating trout, and an epic struggle with copious amounts of Russian vodka. “It’s really fresh, original, and funny,” jury member Susan Kelly says. “Those guys really love fishing, and that really comes through.”  

Director / producer Christoph Rehage captured a stop-motion chronicle of his year-long walk through China, from Beijing to Urumqi, as people come and go in his life, and his facial hair comes and goes. The five-minute film The Longest Way tells a complex story in a spare and creative way, winning the award for Best Short Mountain Film.  

The 2010 jury also chose two films for Special Jury Mentions: Nick Rosen and Peter Mortimer’s Fly or Die, about free climber Dean Potter and his adaptation of the parachute into his climbing, and the hilarious short Cross Country Snowboarding, delivered meticulously in deadpan humour by Adam Brodie and Geoff McLean.  

Sponsored by The Banff Centre, the Australian film Salt was given the Award for Creative Excellence, which provides up to $10,000 in video post-production services to filmmakers Michael Angus and Murray Fredericks. The film follows Fredericks, a photographer, alone into the heart of Lake Eyre in Southern Australia. Valli calls it “a feast of images, very original, and very spare.”  

The Audio Post-Production Award, chosen by Banff Centre Audio program faculty and Emmy Award-winning sound mixer Orest Sushko, was given to director Stephen Grynberg for A Life Ascending. The purpose of the award is to help filmmakers produce surround DVD soundtracks for their projects while helping The Banff Centre further its goals in audio education and quality sound. The Award provides $10,000 in studio services and staff expertise in the Centre’s facilities.  

The People’s Choice Awards, chosen by the audiences in Banff, included the Radical Reels People’s Choice Award, for Rush Sturges and Tyler Bradt’s Dream Result, and the Banff Mountain Film Festival People’s Choice Award, for A Life Ascending.  

For 2010, the international jury included U.S. outdoor adventure athlete and climber Jacqueline Florine, executive producer Bruce Glawson of Discovery Channel Canada, Australian filmmaker and journalist Susan Kelly, U.K. mountaineer John Porter, former director of the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, and celebrated French filmmaker/photographer Eric Valli.  

Created 35 years ago, the Banff Mountain Film Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The Festival showcases the world’s best films on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment, exploration and adventure, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and extreme sports as presenters and speakers. More than 60 films were screened during the nine-day festival, and an international jury awarded more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.

— 30 —

About the Banff
Mountain Film and Book Festival:
 Created 40 years ago,
the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its
kind in the world. The Festival 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. More than 80 films screen during the nine-day festival, and an
international jury awards over $50,000 annually in prizes.  

About
The Banff Centre:
 The Banff Centre's mission is
inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders, and researchers from
across Canada and around the world participate in programs at The Banff Centre
every year. Through its multidisciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides
them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make
the impossible possible. Moving forward, the Centre will disseminate the art
and ideas developed in Banff through initiatives in digital, web, radio, and
broadcast media.

Body 

Banff, Alberta, October 19, 2010 -- In the mid-1980s, Swiss guide Ruedi Beglinger moved to the remote mountains northeast of Revelstoke, B.C., and built an alpine lodge by hand, creating one of the most respected backcountry guiding outfits in the world and establishing an enviable mountain life on his own terms. In January of 2003, an avalanche swept through one of Beglinger’s ski groups, killing seven. The reporting on this high-profile event didn’t get under the surface of the guide’s life, how it affected him and his family, and how he’s lived since. In November, the Banff Mountain Film Festival will screen A Life Ascending, a new feature-length documentary that travels deep into Beglinger’s world, uncovering an iconoclastic life above 6300 feet.   

A Life Ascending is one of 64 film finalists chosen for the 2010 Banff Mountain Film Festival, which runs October 30 to November 7 at The Banff Centre in Banff, Canada. Over the nine-day festival, audiences will experience the world’s best films chronicling the passions and obsessions of mountaineers, endurance and extreme athletes, and environmental and cultural advocates.  

The Festival opens October 30 with the first weekend of film programming, including the North American premiere of Nanga Parbat, a narrative feature retelling the story of Gunther and Reinhold Messner and their first ascent of the Rupal face of the Himalayan peak. Cultural films include candid glimpses into little-seen societies: in Tibet with Summer Pasture and My Country is Tibet, and in Peru with Mi Chacra, which follows the day-to-day life of a porter on the Inca Trail. Canadian adventurers lost one of their own last winter when pioneer ice climber Guy Lacelle was killed in an avalanche during a climbing competition in Montana. La vie de Guy Lacelle tells his story, on and off the mountain.  

On November 2, the Banff Centre’s Eric Harvie Theatre will fill with a rowdy crowd of extreme sports fans for one of the week’s most popular screenings, Radical Reels. A full evening of the world’s best skiing, boarding, climbing, base jumping, whitewater, and mountain biking films includes Cedar Wright’s condensed climbing epic, Squamish in a Day, and Fly or Die from Sender Films, in which free solo climber Dean Potter adds base jumping to the mix.  

The Snow Show November 3 gets into deep powder with Desert River, a ski film set in the high country around Haines, Alaska, and Rev: A Buried Treasure, an onscreen love note to one of B.C.’s ultimate ski meccas – the town of Revelstoke. Teton Gravity Research’s Deeper takes on the backcountry snowboarder’s life, “all-night hikes, sleeping on peaks, camping 65 miles from civilization.”  

On Friday, November 5, the film festival resumes with two concurrent evenings of screenings, including The Asgard Project, introduced by director / producer Alastair Lee and featuring Brit climbing wunderkind Leo Houlding and a crew of extreme adventurers as they tackle the first free ascent of the north face of Mt. Asgard in Baffin Island. B.C.-based director/producer Anthony Bonello’s Azadi: Freedom goes into the uncharted ski territory of Kashmir, where the world’s highest skiable gondola sits in one of the world’s most militarized zones. And discover the secrets of old-growth forests in Taiwan as revealed in the North American premiere of Song of the Forest.  

On Saturday, November 6 and Sunday, November 7, full days of film screenings include Le Monde de Gaston Rébuffat, the legendary climber who brought beauty, poetry and charm to some of the world’s highest points. The Canadian premiere of Last Paradise travels through almost 50 years of adventure in the remotest regions of New Zealand. On the evening of November 6, the Festival will screen a trio of remote river films, including the Canadian premiere of WildWater, with its lush visuals and keen sense of adventure, The Ultimate Ride: Steve Fisher, which pursues the renowned kayaker on Africa’s Zambezi River, and Eastern Rises, that follows a fly-fishing adventure on never-been-fished-before rivers in Kamchatka.  

On Sunday, November 7, an international jury will announce the Best of the Festival awards. Jury members include U.S. outdoor adventure athlete and climber Jacqueline Florine, executive producer Bruce Glawson of Discovery Channel Canada, Australian filmmaker and journalist Susan Kelly, U.K. mountaineer John Porter, former director of the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, and celebrated French filmmaker/photographer Eric Valli.   

Created 35 years ago, the Banff Mountain Film Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The Festival showcases the world’s best films on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment, exploration and adventure, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and extreme sports as presenters and speakers. More than 60 films will screened during the nine-day festival, and an international jury will award over $40,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

— 30 —

The 35th annual Banff Mountain Film Festival is presented by National Geographic, The North Face and Parks Canada; sponsored by Deuter, OR (Outdoor Research), Stones into Schools/Three Cups of Tea, Prima Loft, Tom's of Maine, PROBAR; with the support of MSR (Mountain Safety Research), Fernie Alpine Resort, Petzl, World Expeditions, Mountain Hardwear, Mountain Equipment Co-op, CBC Radio Canada, the Calgary Herald, and the Alberta Foundation of the Arts.  

The 17th annual Banff Mountain Book Festival, presenting partners: National Geographic and Redwood Creek Wines; sponsored by Parks Canada, Deuter, Outdoor Research, Stones into Schools/Three Cups of Tea, PrimaLoft, Tom's of Maine, PROBAR; with assistance from the Alpine Club of Canada, Pages on Kensington, CBC Radio-Canada, the Calgary Herald, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Body 

Banff, Alberta, September 5, 2010 -- This evening, competition executive director Barry Shiffman announced that the Cecilia String Quartet from Toronto, Canada has been awarded First Prize in the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) at The Banff Centre. Following six days of juried concerts focused on classical, Romantic, and contemporary repertoire, the winner was chosen from a group of the world’s most accomplished young string quartets.   

“With a stunning spirit of creativity that consistently celebrated risk-taking and discovery, the Cecilia Quartet impressed the distinguished jury above all others,” says Shiffman. “It was, however, the insatiable appetite that the capacity audience showed for all music-making that has proven again that the future of classical music looks very bright.”  

The RBC Awards First Prize package includes a prize of $25,000 (CND), an extensive  three-year career development program including concert tours in Europe and North America, Banff Centre residencies, including the production of a CD recorded and produced by the Centre’s Audio department, and public relations assistance. As well, the first prize includes a quartet of custom bows by renowned bow maker François Malo.  

The evening’s other RBC Award winners include:  

Second Prize ($12,000) – Afiara String Quartet (Canada)

Third Prize ($8,000) – Quatuor Zaide (France)

Székely Prize ($3,000 awarded for the best performance of a Beethoven or Schubert quartet during Round Four) – Afiara String Quartet

Canadian Commission Prize ($2,000 awarded for the best performance of Canadian composer Ana Sokolovic’s Commedia del’Arte, commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Banff Centre for the competition) – Cecilia String Quartet  

Founded in 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of The Banff Centre, BISQC is a triennial competition that helps support emerging careers. Recognized by the World Federation of International Music Competitions, it is among the top events of its kind.  

The BISQC preliminary jury included Denis Brott, formerly of the Orford String Quartet, Marka Gustavsson of the Colorado Quartet, and Ian Swensen of the Meliora Quartet. The competition jury is made up of seven of the world’s top musicians, mentors, and teachers. They include Terence Helmer, formerly of the Orford Quartet, Erich Höbarth of Quatuor Mosaïques, Louise Hopkins of the Guildhall School, Hsin-Yun Huang, formerly of the Borromeo Quartet., Joel Krosnick of the Juilliard Quartet, Tim Vogler of the Vogler Quartet, and Timothy Ying, formerly of the Ying Quartet.  

BISQC is a celebration of chamber music that attracts a remarkably dedicated and knowledgable audience, many returning every three years. During the week of competition, audiences have participated in lecture series, impromptu community concerts, and performance opportunities for emerging young musicians, all in the spectacular setting of Banff National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site.  

Cecilia String Quartet  

Min-Jeong Koh, violin
Sarah Nematallah, violin
Caitlin Boyle, viola
Rebecca Wenham, cello  

The Cecilia String Quartet was the resident string quartet at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University (2009-2010). They are quartet in residence of Jeunesses Musicales du Canada for their 60th Anniversary Season. Receiving the Prix de la sacem for the best performance of the commissioned work by Gilbert Amy at the 2010 Concours International de Quatuor à Cordes de Bordeaux, the Cecilia String Quartet also won first prize and the Melpomene prize at the 2008 Rutenberg Competition held at the University of South Florida, second prize at the 2008 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and were winners of the 2007 Galaxie Rising Stars award in Canada. Recently, they were also appointed resident quartet fellows at Glenn Gould School in Toronto.
 
The Cecilia String Quartet has performed at Music Toronto, La Jolla Music Society in San Diego, ProQuartet in Paris, and the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. They have also toured Ontario, Québec and British Columbia with Jeunesses Musicales Canada on their Desjardins Concert Series. Committed to teaching and outreach, they have taught and performed at the Austin Chamber Music Festival in Texas and at QuartetFest at Laurier University in Waterloo.  

Most recently, the quartet was the Joseph Fisch and Joyce Axelrod Resident String Quartet at San Diego State University in association with the La Jolla Music Society.  Since their inception in 2004, the quartet has held residencies at Laurier University, the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and the University of Toronto where the quartet was formed. Their first season culminated in the receipt of the Felix Galimir Award for Chamber Music Excellence.

The Banff International String Quartet Competition is generously supported by RBC.   

— 30 —

About The Banff Centre: The Banff Centre’s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs here every year. Through its multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. 

Body 

Banff, Alberta, August 9, 2010 -- Joni Cooper, an internationally respected film festival producer, and passionate outdoor enthusiast, has been appointed The Banff Centre’s new programming director for the Banff Mountain Festival.   

Cooper was most recently the executive director of the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver, where she led the event from a six- to a ten-day festival. Her previous experience includes work as an independent film producer, and 15 years managing the content and programming for the Banff World Television Festival. Internationally, Cooper has worked with the California Film Institute, the Asia Factual Forum in Singapore, and Sithengi, Southern Africa’s Film and Television Market.  

Cooper is also well-respected within the Alberta mountain community. “I really discovered my passion for wilderness and the outdoors while working for Parks Canada and with the Calgary Mountain Club in the early 80s, where I got dragged up a lot of cliffs and plunged down many backcountry slopes,” she says. These days, Cooper continues to enjoy mountain biking and hiking, and hopes her move back to Alberta will provide opportunities to reignite her interest in backcountry and cross country skiing. “Programming Director for the Banff Mountain Festival is a dream job for me as it melds two of my passions together: film and mountain adventure, places, and cultures,” Cooper adds.  

Kerry Stauffer, the executive director of Film & Media at The Banff Centre says Cooper’s experience in festival management and film production, and her love for the mountains, make her the ideal fit for the Banff Mountain Festival. “Joni’s knowledge of the industry and her international connections will support The Banff Centre’s ability to foster excellence in filmmaking. Her event experience will help us continue to grow the reach and the reputation of the world’s largest mountain festival, and the glowing references we received from members of the Alberta mountain community told us we had the right woman for the job.”  

Banff Mountain Festival programs utilize the arts to explore mankind’s relationship with mountain places. As Programming Director, Cooper is responsible for the planning, program development, production, and delivery of the Banff Mountain Festival and World Tour, Banff Mountain Photography Competition, Banff Adventure Photography Workshop, and Banff Adventure Filmmakers’ Workshop. Through these programs and as part of its mandate as a specialized arts and culture institution, The Banff Centre fosters the professional and creative development of filmmakers, writers, and photographers, and showcases award-winning work both nationally and internationally.

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About The Banff Centre: The Banff Centre’s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs here every year. Through its multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. 

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Banff, Alberta, July 25, 2010 -- On July 24, 2010, The Banff Centre officially opened the Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation, capping a six-year, $100-million capital project that will provide a magnificent facility for art, ideas, and leadership, designed by architects Diamond + Schmitt. The Kinnear Centre will host artistic workshops, residencies, and performances, and provide high-tech meeting spaces for The Banff Centre’s Leadership Development programs, and for conferences.  

“We have been waiting for this for a very long time, since 2005, when our Board of Governors approved a new campus master plan for The Banff Centre,” says President and CEO Mary E. Hofstetter. “With architect Jack Diamond, we built the Kinnear Centre with a few basic tenets in mind, articulating a contemporary interpretation of mountain architecture that treads lightly on the earth, preserving montane vegetation, providing leadership in environmental stewardship, and bringing it all together on time and on budget. The Banff Centre has achieved all of these things.”  

A multidisciplinary learning centre at the heart of the Banff Centre campus, the Kinnear Centre was designed with three floors of meeting and banquet spaces, each with sweeping views down the slope of Tunnel Mountain toward the Bourgeau mountain range, and built to LEED Silver standards. On the third floor, a large dance studio with sprung floors and full-length mirrors provides an exceptional space for the performing arts.  

The Kinnear Centre also houses the Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives, one of Canada’s premier arts libraries, home to thousands of music scores and recordings, a rare collection of art books, and more than 75 years of historical cultural documents. On the main floor, the Maclab Bistro is open all day for light meals and late-night gatherings. All of this is fronted by the BMO Financial Group Galleria, three light-filled corridors that soar to skylit ceilings. The Galleria’s walls are now home to works from the Walter Phillips Gallery permanent collection, significant pieces by artists including Rebecca Belmore and Takao Tanabe. Outside in Canada Plaza at the Centre’s entrance, a new commissioned work by Brian Jungen will be installed at the official opening.  

This six-year project, which includes the completion of the new Dining Centre above the Sally Borden Building in 2007, is the result of The Banff Centre’s largest-ever capital campaign, which raised $100 million for building projects, and more than $28 million for artists’ scholarships and programming. Key funding partners included the Governments of Alberta and Canada, The Kahanoff Foundation, and a $10 million donation from James Kinnear and Friends, as well as support from hundreds of individual, corporate, and foundation partners.  

“Here, exceptional artists and leaders from around the world will be inspired to create and perform new works of art, share skills and knowledge in an interdisciplinary environment, explore ideas and develop solutions in the arts and leadership,” Hofstetter adds. “The programs taking place in the Kinnear Centre will build Alberta and Canada’s cultural repertoire, advance global creativity, and contribute to a robust economy and sustainable communities.”  

During the next year, the final segment of Banff Centre Revitalization will be completed, with the decommissioning of Donald Cameron Hall, and landscaping of the area west of the Kinnear Centre. By the summer of 2011, audiences of up to 1,600 people will be able to gather for outdoor performances in the Shaw Amphitheatre.    

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About The Banff Centre: The Banff Centre’s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs here every year. Through its multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. 

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Banff, Alberta, June 6, 2010 -- Lawrence Hill, author of the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize-winning novel The Book of Negroes, returns to The Banff Centre as a guest of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC) on June 16. He’ll read from the novel, published in 2007 in Canada, and as Someone Knows My Name in the United States. An account of one 18th century African woman’s migrations through slavery, war, and the upheavals of history, the novel is one of the biggest recent bestsellers in Canadian literature.   

Author of Any Known Blood and Some Great Thing, Hill’s work touches on issues of identity and belonging, greatly influenced by his parents’ work in human rights in Canada. He’s in Banff to work with Quebecois translator Carole Noël, one of the 15 participants in the BILTC program, who is translating The Book of Negroes into French. Translators in Banff for the three-week program will be translating from and into languages including French, Persian, Spanish, Dutch, Papiamentu, Russian, and German.  

BILTC is an annual three-week residency that gives translators from Canada, Mexico, and the United States uninterrupted time and space to work on current publications, and for translators from around the world to work on translations of books by authors from the Americas. Participants often work directly with the writers whose work they are translating. Since its establishment in 2003, BILTC has hosted translators from 26 countries translating work involving 36 languages. Invited writers have included Ann-Marie MacDonald, Man Booker prize-winner Yann Martel, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward P. Jones.

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About The Banff Centre: The Banff Centre’s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs here every year. Through its multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. 

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Banff, Alberta, May 16, 2010 -- Communities across Western Canada will benefit from a $1.5 million investment from Encana Corporation and Cenovus Energy to support leadership programming at The Banff Centre. The five-year Community of Leaders program presented by Cenovus and Encana will bring participants from towns and cities across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia to The Banff Centre to build their personal leadership skills and confidence, and to nurture local community projects from ideas to reality.

Sara Twiddy of Calgary’s Neighbourlink is one of 14 leaders selected to participate in the 2010 Community of Leaders program. Twiddy says she appreciated the opportunity to meet, and learn alongside, other community leaders. “It was really great to hear from other participants - it reminded me that yes, what I do is important, and it also helps other people.”

Participants in the 2010 program came from Grande Cache, Tilley, East Coulee, Cold Lake, Paddle Prairie, Hinton, and Calgary, Alberta; from Weyburn, Saskatchewan; and from Fort St. John and Dawson Creek in British Columbia. Each took part in an initial three-day Leadership Development program at The Banff Centre, and then returned to their community to work on projects, supported by regular check-ins with faculty and peer advisors. Six months later, they returned to the Centre to report on their progress, and to share their successes with other participants.

During the Community of Leaders program Twiddy focused on building the skills she needs to launch the Clearing House program, a large scale, interagency warehouse-based program that will collect and distribute donated household goods to Calgary families and individuals living in poverty.

Lynne Douglas, Group Lead for Community Investment with Cenovus Energy, says her company believes the Community of Leaders program can help participants face challenges and learn from others with a wide variety of experience. “The skills they will take away from participating in the program will strengthen their leadership, help them support local organizations, and help them build a healthier, sustainable community,” Douglas says.

Lois Wozney, Community Investment Advisor with Encana Corporation agrees. “Ultimately, our Community of Leaders participants will be more able to complete projects that add vitality, and improve overall quality of life in their communities, now and into the future.”

”The Banff Centre is very proud to partner with Encana Corporation and Cenovus Energy on a program that will benefit communities across Western Canada,” says Mary E. Hofstetter, president and CEO of The Banff Centre. “This program will provide emerging leaders with the skills they need to generate positive social and economic change at a grassroots level.”

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MEDIA CONTACT
Cenovus Energy 
Rhona DelFrari, Advisor, Media Relations 
Tel: (403) 766-4740

Encana Corporation 
Carol Howes, Advisor, Media Relations 
Tel: (403) 645-4799

About Encana: Encana Corporation is a leading North American natural gas producer that is focused on growing its strong portfolio of prolific shale and other unconventional natural gas developments, called resource plays, in key basins from northeast British Columbia to east Texas and Louisiana. By partnering with employees, community organizations and other businesses, Encana contributes to the strength and sustainability of the communities where it operates.

About Cenovus: Cenovus Energy is a leading integrated oil company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Its operations include growing enhanced oil projects and established natural gas and crude oil production in Alberta and Saskatchewan as well as ownership in two quality refineries in Illinois and Texas. Cenovus is respectful of the environment and communities where it works and is committed to applying fresh, progressive thinking to the development of energy resources the world needs.

About The Banff Centre: The Banff Centre’s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs here every year. Through its multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. 

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