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Adventure Filmmakers Workshop

Mountain Culture

Program archived

Program Information

Photo by Rachel Ross.


The Adventure Filmmakers Workshop is an exceptional chance for independent and emerging filmmakers to advance their skills under the guidance of two of the world’s premier and proven adventure filmmakers. During a jam-packed 10 days in the fall, participants will hone their craft, strengthen their skills, and network and mingle with fellow filmmakers, industry insiders, and decision-makers. 

This all takes place within the core of the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, where epic stories are told through the eyes of adventurers, authors, photographers, and filmmakers from around the globe. Filmmakers will have access to Festival screenings and industry events — motivation galore!

What does the program offer?

Workshop sessions will help participants sharpen their narrative, vision, organize their workflow, develop audio and editing techniques, and perfect their pitches. Our faculty promote an open, interactive, and creative atmosphere. 

We pack the days with hands-on practice, lively discussion, and brainstorming; evenings include film screenings, guest speakers, and social events. We’ll welcome industry insiders as guest speakers, offering rare access to potential mentors, collaborators, sponsors, and backers. The workshop includes on-campus lodging and meals — all that participants have to do is focus on their craft and soak up the inspiration.

Who should apply?

This workshop was designed for filmmakers. To get the most from the program, applicants should have a strong desire to take the next step in all aspects of their filmmaking, including pre-production, pitching, location skills, the handling of the edit, and distribution. Past participants have included elite athletes transitioning to filmmaking, expeditionists wanting to expand to different media platforms, and established filmmakers wanting to break into the adventure genre. 

This program is not aimed at those who only want to explore what it is like to be an adventure filmmaker – the Adventure Filmmakers Workshop is for those who are committed to filmmaking as a life choice.

A strong knowledge base of technical sound, camera, and editing skills is essential. Applicants are encouraged to focus on one specific film project that they have in mind and to be prepared to share it with the group. Participants should be in good physical condition with the ability to lift and carry heavy camera equipment outdoors without assistance on uneven terrain.

Enrolment is limited to 24 participants.

“You run an exceptional program and are able to create a rare environment in which many lone wolves trust each other enough to form a pack. [I am grateful] for the chance to experience the transformational power of Banff and the Banff Centre - it never fails to surprise.” – Jeremy Atherton, 2018 Adventure Filmmakers Workshop participant

Program generously supported by:


Day 1 –  Saturday Oct 26
●    Welcome, orientation
●    Intros, group allocations, group and individual feedback
●    Film viewings and discussion: the good, the bad, and the ugly …

Day 2 – Sunday Oct 27
●    Anatomy of success: What makes a successful film
●    Production development and planning before the camera rolls
●    Budgeting and funding options; distribution

Day 3 – Monday Oct 28
●    The art of storytelling and narration
●    Storytelling resources 
●    Making the perfect pitch
●    Technology, sound on location, and appreciating the mix
●    Post production, music
●    Evening: participants attend Radical Reels film screenings

Day 4 – Tuesday Oct 29
●    Pitching Workshop
●    Interviewing and edit workflow
●    Secrets for staying organized for small and large projects
●    The black art of lighting

Day 5 – Wednesday Oct 30
●    Legal - releases, talent, music, post production
●    Social Media 
●    Evening: participants attend The Snow Show film screenings

Day 6 – Thursday Oct 31
●    Shoot day. Get out there and get your film in the 'can'.

Days 7 – Friday Nov 1
●    Editing and post-production day. Turn your 'rushes' into a finished film.
●    Evening: participants attend Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival Social and an evening presentation

Days 8 & 9 – Saturday & Sunday Nov 2 & 3
●    Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival: An opportunity to view, examine, and analyze a broad range of adventure films, attend sessions, workshops, and network with filmmakers, film festival directors and industry attendees, and to attend the Festival Wrap Party on Sunday evening

Day 10 –  Monday Nov 4
●    Full day of recap, review short films, and presentations from guest lecturers (to be announced)
●    Celebrate with closing reception ... and collapse in a heap!

Day 11 – Tuesday Nov 5: Departure Day

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

Image Gallery


What's Included

Shared RoomRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes a shared bedroom on the Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program.

Single rooms may be available upon request for an additional fee. Please contact the Office of the Registrar. 

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

Regular Meal PlanRead MoreClose

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

The Regular Flex meal plan includes $30 credit per day, equivalent to lunch and dinner in Vistas Dining Room.

Banff Mountain Film and Book FestivalRead MoreClose

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

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

Gym MembershipRead MoreClose

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

Paul D. Fleck Library and ArchivesRead MoreClose

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

Participant ResourcesRead MoreClose

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

Fees & Financial Assistance

Program Fee
$2 127.37
Program Fee with Financial aid
$1 629.84

Application fee: $65 for each individual

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

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, financial aid up to 35% is available to cover tuition (meal plans and accommodations are not eligible)

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

A discount of $300 per person applies to Adventure Filmmakers Workshop participants who have also entered an eligible film into the 2018 Banff Mountain Film Competition. Contact banffmountainfilms@banffcentre.ca for more information

Help fund your experience at Banff Centre. View a compiled list of national and international opportunities here.

How to Apply

It is important to be aware of all steps included in submitting your application.
Learn more.


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

Cover Letter

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

Project Proposal

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


Please provide a URL link that showcases your work.

Learning Objectives

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


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

Financial Assistance

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


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

Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as adjudication is complete.

All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of the Banff Centre. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Contact the Registrar

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

Toll Free Number (Canada + USA)