It’s Saturday evening and Red Programme time in a packed Festival Theatre in Edinburgh for the 2016 Banff Mountain Film Festival screenings. The afternoon had seen an equally busy theatre for the Blue Programme film screenings.
Over the past few years that I have been reviewing The Banff Mountain Film Festival and its sister film festival The Ocean Film Festival (here on Wednesday 14th September 2016), it has been a pleasure to watch the speed at which these events are growing. Part of that success is no doubt due in part not only to the quality of the photography and film making being screened, but also to the general warm and good nature of the whole event.
The Red Programme in Edinburgh for this year featured seven films of varying length from 5 minutes or so upwards.
UNREAL – A film dedicated to those who live for mountain biking - to quote the film blurb “a world where you ride the perfect trail perfectly, and sometimes snow isn’t the only stuff that falls from the sky. When you spend all of your time at work dreaming about mountain biking”.
This “UNREAL” film follows bikers on their dream trail as dirt and moss literally fall from the sky instead of snow. It’s not actually that clear in the film what is falling, but this link that I found online explains everything better
CURIOSITY - Follows the “Trail du Mont Blanc” ultra run of 100 miles through some of the most challenging routes in the world. Also a small insight into what has taken some of our runners to this sport as for some running has taken them to an almost spiritual place.
DENALI - The tear jerker in this programme. A simple story about one man’s love for his dog and vice versa. This film celebrates the bond between the two, but have your handkerchiefs ready at the end.
PRETTY FACES - Celebrates women skiers and follows one skier finding her dream line in the high mountains of Alaska. The pretty faces in this film are of course the snow faces of the mountains.
UNBRANDED - The longest film in this screening as we follow four young Texas horsemen as they come up with the almost insane plan to ride a string of wild horses over 3,000 miles from the Mexican border all the way up to Canada. Incredible views here as our adventurers try to get horses across The Grand Canyon. Do they all make it?
A LINE ACROSS THE SKY - To climb the whole skyline of The Cerro Fitz Roy range has been a longtime dream of alpine climbers, but the feat is eventually done by two rock climbers –Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold who do not come from this climbing background. A remarkable film as we follow these two men over a five day push that gives them success and the prestigious “Piolet d’Or“ award (although I am sure that was not even a thought in their mind on these faces as they climbed them).
HOMEFREE - This is the shortest film in the festival and follows free-runner Will Sutton at home on his Isle of Man terrain.
This film festival is not only a tribute to those out there who want to be different and cannot live their lives in little 9 to 5 boxes, but also to the wonders of the world that are out there and a strong message that if we want to enjoy what is out there for the future then we must start to protect it now.
The Banff Film Festival is still touring, so I have been brief with the film reviews here as you can still catch up with them. Also, the festival’s own website gives a lot more information on them at
Also look out for The Ocean Film Festival at
I have to admit feeling almost guilty on leaving the theatre tonight commenting on a light snowfall that was coming down, after watching a film like ”A Line Across The Sky”. It illustrated to me just how far out of my own personal experiences some of these films are.
Review by Tom King