Review | Banff Film Festival 2019

By Ilona Cabral

February has broken and the outdoor community has re-united to watch another extraordinary group of thrill-seekers push themselves past their limits.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Banff Film Festival has returned to Cardiff’s St David’s Hall to display another season of phenomenal short films from the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. This event showcases some of the very best work from talented writers, photographers and film makers who are dedicated to exploring the wildest regions of this Earth.

Split over two programmes (Red in February and Blue in March) the films transport the audience from Australia’s remotest coastline to the wild tundra of British Columbia. Creative and visually impressive, the films all convey resounding messages about the human capacity for strength and the rewards of resilience beyond comfort.

The evening began with the comical animation Viacruxis following “legendary mountaineers Marcel and Andrezj” and their daunting journey up one of the highest and most difficult peaks. As they ascended, they overcame formidable obstacles, close-proximity and proved the unwavering bond that exists between true friends – despite their annoying habits.

Next up, in Ascend, Jon Wilson shared his inspirational story, proving that he could continue to power along gnarly mountain trails despite losing his leg to cancer. Then, in Far Out: Kai Jones, the 11 year-old pro-skier proved that age does not matter in the mountains, jumping and backflipping of cliffs with ease – though still unable to view a PG13 movie.

Ice & Palms and How to Run 100 Miles showed stories of determination, with each participant pushing past every barrier and expectation for the love of adventure. Running, skiing and lugging their bikes on their backs, these adventurers proved their strength and determination whilst demonstrating their faith and respect for their partners.

However, the stand-out film for me was undoubtedly This Mountain Life. This film told the story of Martina, her 60 year-old mother Tania and their mission to ski-traverse from Vancouver to Alaska. On this six-month journey Tania and Martina depict a stunning portrait of humanity, sharing their stories, hardships and cravings for sushi! They prove that anyone can take part in an epic adventure and see astonishing sights – if they are willing to put in the effort! As Tania says herself: “you’re not old until you feel old.”

The Banff Film Festival will return on 28th March at for their Blue Film Programme. Check out the previews for the films below and get ready for the next round of adventure!

For the Love of Mary

Liv Along the Way

Reel Rock: Break on Through

RJ Ripper

Rogue Elements

Surviving the outback