BANFF Film Festival

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is screening films online this year through Oct. 17. [Courtesy photo]

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, which screens award-winning short films curated from the Banff Mountain Film Festival based in Canada, is coming to Moab again this year– though, like many events in the time of the pandemic, it has moved online.

Proceeds will go to support the Utah Avalanche Center-Moab and Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation in Price. Tickets are available from the Utah Avalanche Center’s website and will remain on sale through Oct. 17.

Event organizer Chris Benson said he hopes people will choose to enjoy the Banff Film Festival this year from the comfort and safety of their own homes, adding that this is the 17th year of the event.

“While we can never hope to replicate the theatrical experience of a Banff screening in our hometown surrounded by friends, we can still provide these award-winning films to help provide adventure and inspiration,” said Benson.

“While we are aware of the tough financial times for many people, we hope that the Moab community will do what they can to support the UAC and Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation,” he said, noting that private donations and fundraising events such as the film festival are crucial for the organizations they support.

The Utah Avalanche Center-Moab provides daily snow, avalanche and mountain weather forecasts for the La Sal and Abajo mountains. Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation provides wildlife rehabilitation services for southeastern and south-central Utah.

Patrons of the film festival may choose from three different pre-selected film programs. Each program consists of eight to 10 films that total close to two hours and forty-five minutes of viewing time. The cost is $15 per program, or patrons may purchase all three film programs for $40. Upon purchase, patrons will have 72 hours to view the films. Films range in length from two to 45 minutes.

The green program includes a 45-minute feature film titled “Into the Canyon” which documents the epic struggles of a through-hike of the Grand Canyon. This package also contains the 23-minute “Lhotse” that documents the first ever ski-descent of the fourth highest mountain in the world.

The blue program includes “Deer 139” (44 minutes) in which a team of adventurous naturalists follow a mule deer, learning to see the world differently. It also includes “Hunza” (33 minutes) which documents ski culture in Pakistan.

The red program feature films include “Spectre Expedition: Mission Antarctica” (36 minutes), which documents the self-supported ascent of the most remote mountain on Earth – the Spectre in Antarctica. It also includes “Myrtle Simpson: A Life on Ice” (25 minutes) which details the impressive life of a trailblazing naturalist and adventurer exploring high-latitude locales like Greenland and New Zealand, all while writing 13 books and raising four children.

Many other shorter films are intertwined into the film programs, offering comic relief as well as artful reflection.

Benson said Castle Valley resident Dave Erley originally initiated Moab’s Banff Mountain Film Festival. This year, Erley handed the planning of the annual event over to the UAC. Benson said he was hired by the UAC to help coordinate the event moving forward. Previously, Benson said, he worked for Outward Bound for 15 years leading trips in the mountains, rivers and canyons of southeast Utah.

“I have always loved the spirit that Banff's films capture,” Benson said. “It sort of provides a reminder that we only have one life to live, and that we shouldn’t waste a second of it!”

Benson said the festival is made possible through “the gracious efforts of our local sponsors” including the Moab Adventure Center, Poison Spider Bicycles, Desert Bistro and Pagan Mountaineering.

Tickets and more information are available at utahavalanchecenter.org/events.

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