BANFF Online Collection 3 | BANFF Mountain Film Festival Review

Still image from When We Were Knights - BANFF Film Festival Collection 3

By Josephine von Jascheroff

The third online collection of the Banff Film Festival adventure films showcases heart-warming tales of achievement and personal growth while taking you on an epic trip of some of the most beautiful, yet often over-looked, destinations in the world. The six short films vary in length and location but feature the same comedic narration that takes viewers behind the scenes of some of the most incredible modern adventure stories. While told light-heartedly, all films carry deeper messages about fighting for your dreams, seizing the moment, and, above all, valuing your community however big or small. In a time like now, when we are isolated and ripped apart from our loved ones, this collection reminds us that we are never truly alone and that there is always someone who has our back.

Boys from the Back of Beyond

Boys from the Back of Beyond tells the touching and inspiring story of the Irish brothers, Paul and Gary O’Donovan, who in 2016 won the silver medal at the Olympics. Produced by Red Bull Media, this short film is about far more than an athletic achievement. Narrated by the brothers, their family and friends, this short film showcases their community and hometown, Skibbereen, with breathtakingly scenic shots. Despite the brothers’ humorous narration, the short film will leave you inspired and emotional, as the brothers close with the powerful message that no matter how much of an underdog you are, if you work hard enough and have the right support, anything is possible.

When We Were Knights

When We Were Knights is the tragic yet heart-warming story of two best friends and professional base jumpers. Produced by GoPro, this short film features epic scenery shots of some of Matt’s and Ian’s jumps and emphasizes how important it is to say “I love you” while you still can. Both adrenalin-inducing and heart-breaking, Matt narrates his goodbye letter and highlights the importance of being true to yourself, “You either live a genuine life that’s true to who you are or you don’t”. The key message is clear: follow your passion and show your love for your friends and community as often as you can. Especially in uncertain times as those we are experiencing now, this appeal to enjoy the present and cherish loved ones could not be more impactful.

The Hut Master

Along the Appalachian Trail, a small group of heroes, who call themselves Croo, nourish and care for hikers in need. They operate in 8 huts, over the 50 miles in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, completely off the grid and in the harshest conditions to save lives. They have used the same equipment for the past hundred years: simple wooden ladders to which they tie as much food as their backs can bear. Then, they set out into the dangerous terrain to save hikers from starvation. Many of the current Croo are women who carry more than their weight for hours at a time. The Hut Master highlights selflessness and community and the empowering act of giving and the danger of isolation.

Choss Whisperer

Choss Whisperer tells the story of adventurer Mike Libecki who has set the goal to explore the most remote places of the world. Both a TEDx Talk speaker and winner and 2013 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, he leaves us with a simple message, “Life is sweet”. Even in the harshest conditions, some of which threaten his survival, Libecki persists with his optimism and courage. Awe-inspiring and action-provoking Choss Whisperer encourages us to be grateful, take risks, and not take life for granted.

Guilt Trip

As the title suggests, this longer short film is about the guilt of the carbon footprint. A group of professional skiers from all over the globe and a glaciologist who tries to diminish the carbon footprint of humanity. The skiers have an ambitious goal: they want to be the first to ski Greenland’s second-highest peak. In a comedic manner, this film explores the guilt about harming the environment yet the selfishness of humanity to, for their personal experiences, to ignore the guilt. “We looked to offset some of our guilt by bringing a scientist, which is Alun,” one of the skier jokes. His message, however, hits hard. Interspersed with breath-taking shots of snowy mountains and icy peaks, Guilt Trip confronts viewers with their own shame, hypocrisy and ignored guilt.

How to Buy a Mountain Bike

What do you need to give your life the spice that it’s lacking? How much are you willing to pay to be part of a group, impress others, and break free from your routine? Structured like a blend of a how-to guide and cringy advertisement, How to Buy a Mountain Bike challenges viewers on the spiral of consumerism and trying to keep up with society. Despite the sarcasm and light-hearted tone, this short film showcases the unhealthy comparison and judgment many put themselves through. Ultimately, sending the message to slow done and enjoy what you have. “It’s not about the bike you ride but the rides your bike takes you on.”