Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

BANFF Film Fest inspires students
Photo courtesy

“Our mission is inspiring creativity.”

The Banff Centre website proudly heralds these words as the foundation for all they showcase. Claiming they are the largest arts and creativity incubator on the planet, the Banff Centre, located in Banff, Alberta, Canada, seeks to expand its reach globally and partner strategically as it advances its mission. One of Banff’s supporters is Calvin College.

Calvin has demonstrated its support of Banff by hosting various film showcases, the most recent of which was the Mountain Film Festival World Tour this past Wednesday evening.

The tour highlights adventurous outdoor pursuits ranging from climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and beyond. The high-adrenaline event also drives home issues that matter to much of Calvin’s thoughtful community, such as studies of mountain culture and global environmental concerns.

The relationship between Banff and Calvin has brought, and continues to bring, a great deal of pride to the community and the people in charge of this event.

Michael Wildschut, events coordinator of conferences and campus events, recalls an experience with professor Jamie Skillen of the GEO (Geology, Geography and Environmental studies) department:

“Jamie and I shared with each other how much we enjoyed our previous experiences with Banff and decided that Calvin would be a great fit for the festival,” said Wildschut. “We worked with Banff to get on their rotation and have slowly been building the movement.”

Since the first Banff film event, Wildschut’s team has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the Calvin community, local partners and Banff. This feedback continued for the showcase’s fifth consecutive appearance on campus.

When describing the Banff film showcases, professor Jason VanHorn of the GEO department finds similarities with the January Series.

“I like to think of the World Tour as similar to the January Series which calls the audience to listen, learn and discern,” says VanHorn. “It’s why I am involved.”

VanHorn believes the excitement and learning opportunity bring people back for showing after showing.

“All students, staff and faculty of Calvin and all the community of Grand Rapids should be drawn to this series because it promotes adventure, exploration and sport in nature with a specific focus in the mountains.”

For those not particularly inclined to the outdoors, VanHorn saw the display of human and nature interaction as worth the admission price in and of itself.

“The festival explores human and environmental interaction – from heights of exhilaration and profundity to the lows of degradation… [it] demonstrates the challenge of what is currently happening in the vast ecosystems of Earth.”

In this showing, viewers saw mountain biking in Scotland, a young boy’s record-setting climbing feats, and even river exploration as reconciliation between Mexicans and Americans.

Each film was aimed at demonstrating love for recreational pursuits among a range of age groups, convictions and backgrounds. The incorporation of environmental diversity appealed to the fairly diverse audience.

Banff’s approach has been described as adrenaline-pumping and educational, or as Wildschut puts it, the X-Games meeting National Geographic.

Even though he enjoyed last year’s riveting showcase, senior student John-Marc Eshelman believed this year “ended out well.”

More to Discover