The Banff Mountain Film Festival is touring the world in 2023, bringing the best of mountain culture and exploration to screens near you.
The festival started life in 1976 in Banff, Canada with a mission to showcase films that celebrate mountain culture, explore diversity and the environment. Now over 40 years later, it is touring the world, reaching over 40 countries with in-person as well as online screenings.
From elderly mountain bikers to two Polish athletes tackling two of Pakistan’s most savage peaks, the festival unites sport and mountain lovers from around the world.
With an activist element, this year’s programme includes strong feminist themes. Free to Run features human rights lawyer Stephanie Case who uses ultramarathon running to raise funds and awareness for a women’s shelter in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“Women continue to be underrepresented in public spaces, whether in Afghanistan or in the UK and my aim – through the film, through my charity, and through my running – is to increase the visibility of women on and off the trail,” Case says.
When women are visible, it becomes more difficult to deny their rights.Stephanie Case, human rights lawyer
Wild Water meanwhile follows Nouria Newman as she becomes the first woman to kayak Ecuador’s 100m Picuna waterfall. “Whitewater kayaking is a very male-dominated sport,” said director David Arnaud. “However, there was never any hesitation from any of the top kayakers who I interviewed to recognise the strength and sometimes superiority of Nouria in the sport.”
It’s not all worthy causes though. Let’s not forget the festival is about thrill-seeking, sometimes in challenging times. Find out how two British climbers improvised with a motorway bridge when they couldn’t climb during the Covid-19 lockdown.
And for sheer exhilaration, Renan Kamizi’s Walking on Clouds, follows a world-record breaking attempt for the highest slackline ever walked – between hot-balloons almost 2,000 metres above the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.
They are images that bring a parallel of how human beings are capable and how small we are on planet Earth.Rafael Bridi, Slackline walker
Viewers can choose two different festival programmes (a “Red” and a “Blue”, named for ski-runs). Films are shown in the original language with local subtitles. The event lasts about two and a half hours and tickets cost around 18 euros. Check the festival website to find out where the festival is showing near you.