Banff Film Festival



Oh sad little blackberry phone-camera-photos….

I picked up a flyer in The Assembly Hall lobby a while ago with the thought: “What on earth is the Banff Mountain Film Festival” and what has it got to do with Tunbridge Wells? It turns out the Banff Film and Book Festival is: a film and book festival that has been held in the Canadian Rockies Banff Centre for the past 38 years, and which has been on a world tour for the last 5 years. The films are all based on the subject of mountains, with eight films on show in Tunbridge Wells tonight, showing real life can be stranger than fiction. Rock climbing in Borneo, Wingsuiting (somewhere down a mountain) kayaking in Mexico, surfing in Norway, cycling in New Zealand, chronicling in Kathmandu, skiing in Norway, being 35 in the USA, we covered quite a lot of things you can do up and down mountains around the world….

I was quite interested in Miss Elizabeth Hawley, who ended up in Kathmandu in 1960 and became ‘Keeper of the Mountain’, chronicling Himalayan expeditions for the Himalayan Database. I was horrified by the antics of the young skiers in ‘Supervention’ as they skied down a near vertical mountain, and pleased at the different ramps for mountain bikers in ‘Not Bad’. Most bizarre was ‘North of the Sun (Nordfor Sola)’. Two Norwegian friends, and filmmakers, with a love of surfing, set up home in a remote bay, surrounded by mountains, and pounded by waves. They live on free, out of date food, make a shelter from salvage, and collect the remaining rubbish that is washed up onto the beach, to be collected and removed at the end of their stay. Living through the nine coldest and darkest months of the world north of the Arctic Circle, they surf in the day that is merely dusk, and wait for the sun to return. Managing not to fall out with each other, they are fairly safe in the knowledge that a farmer lives nearby, they are astonished when a hiking Doctor joins them for a week, and they name a wild mouse that finds their warm house and moves in. During this all, they show how they have lived without spending (much) money, and shown how much consumer waste is floating around the seas and deposited on beaches. Mix in the Northern Lights, seascapes, sunsets and snowy mountains, and this was my favourite.

I was also impressed by ‘Films at the Assembly Hall’, as I’d not seem any there before. It makes a nice town centre cinema, being a little larger than Trinity. The Assembly Hall will be 75 years old in May this year, and has a display of artefacts in the foyer, with more celebrations to come. Worth looking out for the Festival, it tours more of UK and Ireland through April and May.



2 thoughts on “Banff Film Festival

  1. Great write-up! Covers it all beautifully (including the scary bits). Probably best NOT to take your kids to see this! Lol.

    Still pondering which is my favourite film to vote for at – possibly the James Bond-like skiing in Supervention.

    But I agree Keeper of the Mountain was enchanting, amusing and inspiring. After all those happy years in Kathmandu Elizabeth Hawley looked terrific at 90! Who needs the anti-wrinkle cream those boys found on the Norwegian beach?

    And more on the world tour here:

    • Although (don’t take your kids) there was the slight theme of younger people being inspired by older ones (climbing, skiing), and it’s always good to see young people inspired and ‘sparked’ to do something. Although parents may be petrified…

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