The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

The Banff Mountain film festival is coming to the prairies next week

By in Culture
Crossing the Ice, this year's grand prize winning film.
A shot from Crossing the Ice, this year’s grand prize winning film.

Saskatoon’s landscape won’t be so flat this week— at least not when it comes to culture.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival’s world tour will be rolling through the city Jan. 14.

The festival celebrates all things mountain — environment, culture and sport. This will be the 19th year that the tour has stopped in Saskatoon.

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has gained widespread international acclaim since its launch in 1976. Each year, the Banff Arts Centre narrows down over 300 film entries to roughly 50 finalists. The top 50 films are screened for the public during the festival’s nine-day run each fall.

A select few films are then chosen by an international committee to continue on in a world tour spanning 32 countries and over 635 screenings.

The Denali Experiment
The Denali Experiment

Although the full lineup coming through the Saskatoon has yet to be announced, outdoor enthusiasts are already excited for the headline films being promoted. The Denali Experiment, for instance, has Saskatoon’s Alpine Adventure Club executive and the events head coordinator Steve Whittington particularly eager.

The documentary follows a team of skiers and snowboarders as they ascend Denali, North America’s highest peak, and then strap on their gear to carve back down.

“There are a lot of wild and crazy films” this year, Whittington said. “I’ve climbed Denali myself. It’s one of the hardest alpine climbs in the world.”

Flow Hunters
Flow Hunters

Another headliner, Flow Hunters, offers a glimpse into the breathtaking sport of whitewater kayaking as some of the world’s foremost paddlers search New Zealand for its most thrilling rivers.

Petzl RocTrip China, a headlining film known as much for its soundtrack as for its awe-inspiring sights, examines the exciting rock-climbing challenges offered in China.

The festival’s coveted Grand Prize film is selected each year before the tour by an international jury. This year’s winner was Crossing the Ice, an Australian film that follows two adventurers, James Castrission and Justin Jones, as they travel across Antarctica to the South Pole.

The festival honours top mountain literature and photography. Alongside the prize-winning film. The Canadian tour features a healthy mix of books and photographs that capture the festival’s enthusiastic spirit for outdoor adventure.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival hits Saskatoon Jan. 14 at TCU Place. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door and are available at McNally Robinson, Outer Limits, Grip It Climbing, Museo Coffee, The Bike Doctor, Eb’s Source for Adventure, and Think Outside Adventure Company.

Hit this link for a complete lineup of this and past years’ competing films.

Photos: Supplied

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