BANFF Online Collection 2 | BANFF Mountain Film Festival Review

A still image from Dean Goes Surfing - BANFF Film Festival, Collection 2

By Amelia Field

Second up in the BANFF collection of handpicked adventure films we have a range from across the world, from Kyrgyzstan to North America. A range of activities, including trail running and surfing, are included in this collection but the constant that remains throughout is the theme of endurance and a will to succeed leading to an inspiring set of films. The collection is made up of five handpicked films: Changing Course, Every Mystery I’ve Lived, Full Moon, The Road from Karakul, Dean Goes Surfing and Fast Horse.

Changing Course 

This documentary dives into the life of Clare and her experience trail running across America. It explores everything from how her family influences her, her diet and how her life path changed when she took up running. It is a truly inspiring documentary with beautiful cinematography throughout, showcasing how challenging the life of a cross country runner can be. The shots of Clare running are beautifully crafted while also having to be non-intrusive. The documentary truly sheds light on the beauty of North American trails. It teaches an important lesson that in order to know what we are meant to do we must go off the beaten track to discover what our lives have to offer though Clare’s journey from studying to become a doctor to then pursuing her dream.

Every mystery I’ve lived 

The second documentary in the collection follows 18-year-old Emil Johansson and his journey to booming an internationally renowned MTB Slopestyle champion. From his humble upbringing in Sweden Johansson travelled up to the top of the FMB World Tour championships in his first season. From this high in 2017, he eventually was diagnosed with both Epstein Barr virus and Hashimoto’s disease. While battling with these diseases, he fights his way to the top again for the Crankworx Innsbruck.

Full Moon 

This next documentary is a cinematic short showing two skiers hiking up a mountain to complete the difficult task of night skiing without artificial light. Max Kroneck and Jochen Mesle head up to the mountains while no one is out on the slopes late a night to experience the beauty of being alone on the slopes. It is a beautiful short with impressive shots and amazing cinematography. My favourite part, though, is the sounds of the skiers turning the untouched snow.

The Road from Karakul

This documentary follows outdoor research athlete Kyle Dempster exploring Karakul across baron landscapes, accompanied by only his bike. Dempster spends 2 months travelling more than 1200km through mostly neglected landscapes. From getting involved with authorities to almost dying while crossing a river, this documentary is an emotional rollercoaster and exposes what it is like to travel alone and the joy and pain that this can bring. It also discusses how travel is not always peaks and troughs, it is more about the parts in between that can bring the most joy.

Dean Goes Surfing 

Though short, this documentary beautifully covers a day in the life of Dean, a boy with Downs syndrome and love of breakfast and Rihanna, as he attends a day at the Cinnamon Rainbows surf company, who have set up the Surfing with Smiles program to helps kids with special needs to surf. Dean’s humour combined with the good-natured feel of the documentary is sure to bring a smile to your face.