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Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

Coutesy of Banff Centre
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October 29 to November 6, 2011

5 Questions with Banff Centre's Programming Director Joni Cooper:

How many submissions this year?
Film submissions: 310 from 29 countries.
Book submissions: 106 from 11 countries.

Did you always have the book segment and can you share more about that aspect?
Film Festival started 36 years ago, with Book component added 18 years ago.
Bernadette McDonald, who really brought the Festival onto the world stage, had the idea 18 years ago since there wasn't -- and still isn't a Mountain Book Competition and Festival celebrating the genre in North America. Fashioned in a sense after the Kendal Mountain Festival in the UK where they celebrate and present the Boardman Tasker Literary Award for Mountain Literature. The Trento Film Festival -- oldest mountain festival at 59 years -- also has a huge mountain literature component where they too have major prizes for mountain literature. So the Book Festival was born and since the Film Festival at that point was throughout the weekend, two days was added in front to make it an extra long weekend.

Of course as the Festival became more known, more film submissions were received and additional screening time was required, so now we have the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival -- integrating both film and book components as one festival -- that runs for nine spectacular days. This year from October 29 - November 6.

What types of movies do you get the most?
We have eight categories: Adventure/Exploration; Mountain Sport; Mountain Culture; Mountain Environment; Climbing; Radical Reels; Short Mountain Film; Feature-length Mountain Films; and new this year, Mountain Wildlife & Natural History.

Of these categories, we tend to get a plethora of Mountain Sport, partly because it encompasses all mountain sports except climbing -- but we also get a lot of Adventure/Exploration which tend to be a little less mountain than the other categories; and we continue to receive loads of climbing films. We do get a number of the other categories too, but sport seems to be the most popular genre within our categories.

Any new World tour locations?
Some new Tour spots include venues in: Bangladesh, Belgium, China, France, Netherlands, Scotland, Wales -
We're currently touring over 500 screenings in 30 countries -- your network is likely near one of our Tour sites today!

Anything else?
The Tour screenings stem from the Festival each November -- and heads out immediately following the Festival. We have also got the Radical Reels Tour that is really starting to take off in the United States and Canada -- it's where all the steepest, deepest, extreme sports films are shown on tour.

I'm really excited about what we're featuring in terms of speakers, films, books, and photographs at the Festival in Banff this year! We somehow managed to convince Irish treasure, Dervla Murphy, author of over 20 travel books written from her (mostly solo) travels around the world. She'll be 80 at the end of November and is still passionate about world cultures and travel. Wade Davis will be here with his new book, The Sacred Headwaters; Simone Moro from Italy and Cory Richards from the US will talk about their heinous adventure climbing Gasherbrum II last winter; Leo Houlding from the UK will be talking about big wall climbing and adventure; Canada's Greg Hill will demonstrate how he managed to climb and ski two million vertical feet in one year; Sarah McNair-Landry, from Canada's NWT, and a National Geographic Young Explorer, will be presenting on the kite-ski trip she and her brother did across the Northwest Passage. We've got loads of authors presenting their new mountain-related books And so many great films, we are having a difficult time fitting them all in! Who knows, maybe the Festival will need to expand yet again!

World Tour Schedule

United States



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