BANFF Mountain Film Festival shows at Calvin

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The 2018 Banff Mountain Film Festival (BANFF) once again chose Calvin College as a tour destination to show off the cream of the crop in outdoor adventure films.

The BANFF Mountain Film Festival World Tour features some of the best independent outdoor films of the year, and the mix of films ensures that students and faculty from across the college will find something of interest,” said professor Jamie Skillen of the Geology department.

BANFF takes place near the end of October every year in Banff, Alberta, after being launched in 1976 to bring mountain literature and culture to life through film and storytelling. As they push the limits to filmmaking and exploring each year, creators and athletes exhibit their mastery over their craft of extreme living. The event at Calvin took place on Thursday in the CFAC.

On top of the uncharted exploration and extreme athleticism that is packed into the films, no mountaineer pushes looks or sound aside to tell their stories. Each film features incredibly stunning visuals and well-mixed sound that work together to display how vast and powerful the earth can be while simultaneously appreciating small details that often may go overlooked.

Backed by these technical feats were refreshing insights into mountain culture, from the glaciers of Greenland to the streets of smaller cities such as St. John’s, Canada.

“The crowd favorite this year was ‘Stumped,’ a film about a 5.12 climber, Maureen Beck, who was born without a left hand. It kept us laughing while simultaneously offering a sober critique of the treatment that many adaptive athletes experience,” Skillen said.

Though none of the films disappointed, there were a few that rose to the top. “Into Twin Galaxies,” directed by Jochen Schmoll, tells the story of three kite-skiing kayakers’ journey across Greenland to never-before- touched rivers that they observed via Google Maps. Through cold and bone-breaking days and nights, the audience is given relief as the travellers reach their destination and kayak down waterfalls and rivers spilling into the ocean.

Another highlight was an amusing, playful film starring professional skier Tom Wallisch. The audience watched Wallisch glide through a snowy cityscape, playing on what might be a fantasy world for any seasoned ski guru, in a film called “Imagination: Tom Wallisch.” The balance between intense heart-racing moments and lighthearted fun that some of the stars expressed gave this year’s films a balance between tense moments and allowing the audience a chance to breathe in.

These adventure films have established BANFF’s place among the mountain culture and help viewers gain an appreciation and insight into the environment that surrounds us daily.

Anyone who enjoys the outdoors should come next year. The BANFF films stretch your imagination of what is possible in outdoor sports, celebrate the beauty and power of God’s creation and explore complex relationships we have with the environment,” Skillen said.