Banff film fest returns for 19th year of mountain culture, adventure

Banff film fest returns for 19th year of mountain culture, adventure

OGDEN — The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour is returning to town for the 19th year, featuring films highlighting the best in mountain culture and adventure.

This year’s festival will run Friday through Sunday, Feb. 15-17, at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd. Tickets are $20 per night.

Janifer Larson has been the organizer of the annual event since its inception. She hosts the fest every year as a fundraiser for the Snowbasin Alpine Ski Team.

Larson used to work in the race department at Snowbasin Resort, back when her children were ski-racing. While there, she was given some information about the touring film fest.

“Anyway, so about 20 years ago I got this package handed to me,” Larson recalls. “I said, ‘What is this,’ and the gal said ‘Just check it out. It’s for the Banff Mountain Film Festival — you can keep it or throw it away, just look at it.’”

Larson looked. She quickly decided there was nothing to lose in bringing the traveling show to town, so she did. That first year the theater wasn’t even half-full.

“But I just kept doing it,” Larson said. “We eventually went to two nights, and pretty soon those sold out, so Banff said, ‘Why don’t you try three nights?’ I didn’t know if it would work, but it’s working.”

This will be the second year the Ogden stop has expanded to three nights of films.

The film festival features seven to nine different films each night, ranging in length from about five minutes to 40 minutes. Larson says Saturday’s event is effectively sold out, although there might be a few single seats left. Tickets are still available for both Friday’s and Sunday’s screenings.

This year’s festival will offer films on mountain culture, sports, adventure, and the environment.

“The cinematography is outstanding, from all over the world,” she said. “In the past we’ve had some really huge adrenaline high-adventure films — with things like bat-wing suits flying off of cliffs — but not so much anymore.”

One film, the 12-minute short “Sacred Strides,” deals with the controversial Bears Ears National Monument.

“It’s a controversial subject, of course, and it was hard to decide to put this one in, but since we’re in Utah we decided to do it,” Larson said. “It’s an awesome story about current events, and it is somewhat political, but it’s also an emotional film, with a strong message.”

Another film, “The Beaver Believers,” is described by Larson as “a funny 12-minute film about basically saving the beavers.”

Other films that stand out for Larson are “RJ Ripper,” about Nepalese mountain biker Rajesh “RJ” Magar; “Ice & Palms,” about two free-ski athletes who travel from Germany to the Mediterranean by bicycle, skiing along the way; and “This Mountain Life: Coast Range Traverse Segment,” about a mother-daughter team who embark on a six-month ski traverse in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia.

Larson says she hopes audiences not only enjoy the films, but that the festival inspires them to find some way to get out into nature.

“If you look at our area especially, with the hiking paths, bike trails and climbing, this festival is just perfect for this area,” she said. “This shows people they need to come out of their shell and do something adventurous of their own.”

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