Walk on the wild side… or ski, climb, paddle, ride, sled
Rockport — While toboggan racers have been prepping their sleds in preparation for the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, Jeff Boggs of Maine Sport Outfitters has been polishing his film programs, mixing two nights of the best from 2012’s Banff Mountain Film Festival.
For the 13th consecutive year, Boggs and his team will host the Midcoast’s visitation of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. There will be two different programs of films screening Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8 and 9, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Strom Auditorium of Camden Hills Regional High School, Route 90. NOTE: BOTH NIGHTS HAVE BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO THE SNOWSTORM; ONE NIGHT OF FILMS WILL BE PRESENTED TUESDAY, FEB. 12; TICKETS FOR EITHER OF THE ORIGINAL NIGHTS WILL BE HONORED THEN.
“The films look better than ever,” said Boggs a couple of weeks out. Clips from the chosen films can be seen at the store on Route 1, which is selling advance tickets for the popular event.
The films come from the annual fall festival held at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, which celebrates and advocates for mountain sports and culture around the world. This year’s World Tour has stops planned in about 400 communities and 35 countries; and offers a collection of the most inspiring action, environmental and adventure films from the fest.
Each night features some two-and-a-half hours of footage, split by an intermission (and the popular outdoor giveaway door prizes). The longest film runs 47 minutes and shortest, only two; and their subjects and settings range just as widely. Attendees Friday night will take in adventures in mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, alpine climbing and crack climbing; visit Antarctica, the Grand Canyon and Japan; and marvel at the exploits of a young Jack Russell terrier and an old mountaineer. Saturday’s program offers trick riding, ultra trail running, highlining, skiing, snowmobiling and freestyle climbing; and travel from Banff to Afghanistan to Yosemite and beyond.
Adult tickets for each night are $10 in advance; at the door, tickets will be $12, $5 for students. The film menu is subject to change, but following are the scheduled films and some information about them. A few of these unrated films carry parental guidance warnings due to coarse language. Unless otherwise noted, they are United States releases.
Friday, Feb. 8
• “Strength in Numbers” is a 15-minute edit of a 2012 Canadian mountain biking film directed by Darcy Wittenburg.
• “Unicorn Sashimi,” directed by Ben Knight, offers six minutes of Japanese powder joy that builds to a climax of taiko drumming and swirling snow.
• “Ernest,” a five-minute film directed by Samuel Bricker, focuses on Ernest Wilkinson, one of the last of a vanishing breed of mountain men or, as Boggs pegs him, a “cool old guy.”
• “Crossing the Ice,” Justin Jones’ 44-minute depiction of Australian adventurers James Castrission and Justin Jones record-attempting journey to the South Pole and back again, won the festival’s Grand Prize and People’s Choice Award and was named Best Film, Exploration and Adventure.
• “Lily Shreds Trailside,” a three-minute 2011 film directed by Ross Downard, stars an inspiring Jack Russell terrier who shares her master’s love of mountain bike trails.
• “Last of the Great Unknown” is a 23-minute exploration adventure within (i.e., canyoneering) the Grand Canyon.
• “Flow Hunters” is a nine-minute edit of a 2012 New Zealand film, directed by Jon Forder, featuring some of the world's best white water paddlers.
• “The Denali Experiment,” a 16-minute film by Banff regular Jimmy Chin, follows freeride skier Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and big mountain snowboarder Lucas Debari as they attempt to descend Alaska’s famed slope. Ascending Mt. McKinley, though, may be even more challenging.
• “Reel Rock 7: The Wide Boyz,” a 12-minute film from the annual gathering of climbing and adventure films, spends time with UK off-width crack climbing specialists Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall as they train in Sheffield and climb in the American Southwest. This edit from Paul Diffley and Chris Alstrin’s feature film was named Best Short Mountain Film.
Saturday, Feb. 9
• “Industrial Revolutions,” which got Special Jury Mention, is a five-minute film by the UK’s Stu Thomson about world-renowned trails rider Danny MacAskill using an abandoned ironworks as his trick riding playground.
• “The Gimp Monkeys,” an eight-minute film by Mikey Schaefer, follows three friends as they attempt the first all-disabled ascent of Yosemite's iconic El Capitan.
• “5 Races, 5 Continents” offers an 11-minute edit of a film by South Africa’s Dean Leslie about the world of mountain running.
• “Wild Bill's Run” is a 47-minute edit of Mike Scholz’s celebration of American folk hero Wild Bill Cooper’s 1972 expedition across the top of the world, snowmobiling from Minnesota to Moscow with a ragtag crew.
• “On Thin Sea Ice 2” is a two-minute pick from an ongoing YouTube series by Tor Eckhoff, whom Bogg describes as a “crazy Norwegian.” Factory worker Eckhoff makes the most of his long winters, it would appear.
• “Highway Wilding” is a 13-minute edit of Leanne Allison’s Canadian film about wildlife in Banff National Park … and efforts to keep it from becoming road kill.
• “Moonwalk” is another Mikey Schaefer entry, four minutes of exquisite nighttime highlining by Dean Potter.
• “1st Afghan Ski Challenge,” a 17-minute film by Switzerland’s Hans-Urs Bachmann, was named Best Film, Mountain Sports. First-time Afghan skiers take part in their country’s first-ever downhill racing competition.
• “Reel Rock 7: Honnold 3.0,” which runs 33 minutes, won Best Film, Climbing. It takes a crew of four — Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen and Alex Lowther — to capture Alex Honnold’s attempt at the Yosemite Triple; as Banff film fest fans know, Honnold is a climber like no other.
For more information on the Midcoast stop of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, call 236-7120 or visit mainesport.com and click on the events tab.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.