In the dead of every winter for more than a decade, the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour has brought stunning images and intriguing stories to the Strom Auditorium of Camden Hills Regional High School, Route 90. The World Tour offers a selection of the best films from the previous fall’s festival held at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, which celebrates and advocates for mountain sports and culture around the world.

The World Tour has stops in some 35 countries and features a collection of the most inspiring action, environmental and adventure films from the fest; this is the 12th year Maine Sport in Rockport has brought it to the Midcoast. Last year, the local event expanded to two nights and this year will do the same, during National Toboggan Championship weekend. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will be presented Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10 and 11 at 7 p.m., with a different slate of films each night.

“We had about 1,200 total last year, and mixing the sport and travel films went over well,” said Maine Sport’s Jeff Boggs.

“Sport” in Banff Mountain Film Festival terms means vertical — flying down mountains in a variety of ways, from skis to paragliders to wingsuits, and climbing up them, by hand or ice pick; exploring exotic mountain locations by bicycle, kayaks and canoes; and a variety of other adrenalin-driven exploits. Since Boggs brought the fest’s Radical Reels tour to Camden last fall, there will be fewer extreme sports in this year’s World Tour weekend, although those watching the film about BASE jumper Andy Lewis might beg to differ (that was him working a line during Madonna’s Super Bowl half-time show).

“Travel” takes the less beaten paths in these films. One of the weekend’s features depicts a three-year crossing of the Carpathian Mountains. Other locales in this year’s selection include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, K4 on the border of Pakistan and China, Chad, British Columbia and the American southwest’s Colorado River.

Each night’s program offers a feature film of about 40 minutes, surrounded by shorter films that run from four to 30 minutes. A Banff Centre host introduces each film and helps Boggs and his staff give away the popular door prizes of adventure gear from the festival’s many sponsors (hold on to that ticket stub). The door prize segment can get pretty rowdy. Audiences are encouraged to express themselves throughout the evening, and hosts have said the Strom stop is known to be one of the most vocally enthusiastic on their circuit.

The World Tour offers the best of Banff. Friday’s feature is “Kadoma,” which won Best Film on Exploration and Adventure and dramatically illustrates the risky nature of exploring the uncharted. Saturday’s feature, “On the Trail of Genghis Khan: The Last Frontier” won the People’s Choice Award; and “Cold,” also on the Saturday schedule, was the 2011 festival’s Grand Prize winner.

“That’s a real man-versus-the-elements story, and the camera and video are right with this guy, so you really see it. And the cinematography in ‘Genghis Kahn’ is really well done,” said Boggs.

Boggs makes his World Tour selections based in part on audience response postings by other hosts; the tour begins shortly after the fall festival concludes. There is usually at least one outright comic film; this year’s is “C.A.R.C.A.,” which will close both nights’ programs.

“It’s a spoof of avalanche rescues, with cats,” said Boggs.

The Saturday program opens with “The Freedom Chair,” which won Best Film on Mountain Sports and offers Josh Dueck’s inspiring quest to take sit-skiing off trail. Another inspirational film is about 9-year-old Ashima Shiraishi, who is taking the climbing world by storm. Parents should know, however, that many of these films carry parental guidance warnings due to coarse language, occasional nudity and, in one case, the off-screen death of the protagonist.

Those attending are also warned to leave themselves enough time to find a space in the school’s parking areas and walk over to the auditorium, as the World Tour draws a good, and good-humored, crowd. Adult tickets for each night are $10 in advance at Maine Sport Outfitters on Route 1. 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.

Friday, Feb. 10

• “All.I.Can: The Short Cut,” an 11-minute edit from the Canadian film that won Best Feature-length Mountain Film, offers stunning time-lapse sequences, creative visuals, great skiers and deep powder in its look at snow sports and the environment.

• “Reel Rock Origins: Obe & Ashima” (23 min., USA) follows young Ashima Shiraishi from New York City as she crushes competitions and raises the bar, guided by her coach and former bouldering star Obe Carrion. Here, the tiny master travels to the bouldering mecca of Hueco Tanks in Texas.

• “Ski Bums Never Die,” a four-minute film from Canada, follows an unusual and inspiring band of skiers in the Kootenay region of British Columbia in their lifelong quest for deep snow.

• “Kadoma” the 42-minute USA-made film that won Best Film on Exploration and Adventure, gets its title from the nickname of Hendri Coetzee, a legendary South African kayaker known for exploring some of Africa’s wildest rivers. In December 2010, American pro kayakers Chris Korbulic and Ben Stookesbury followed Coetzee for a first descent of the dangerous Lukuga River in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

• “On Assignment: Jimmy Chin,” a six-minute USA film, offers a brief portrait of a passionate athlete who has melded climbing and photography.

• “Reel Rock: Sketchy Andy” (22 min., USA) spends some time with gonzo American climber Andy Lewis as he goes higher, harder, and faster with climbing, slack and BASE (jumping from buildings, antennas, spans and earth, the latter two referring to bridges and cliffs), soloing the world’s longest high-lines and mastering the hardest aerial tricks while pushing his equipment to the limit.

• “Blue Obsession” (8 min., USA) is an eye-popping depiction of ice climbing adventures on the beautiful and ever-changing icefalls of Alaska’s glaciers.

• “Towers of the Ennedi” (14 min., USA) follows veteran climber Mark Synnott, known more for his far-flung adventures than his technical accomplishments, with young climbing stars Alex Honnold and James Pearson as they climb the breathtakingly lovely spires, towers and rock formations of Chad’s Ennedi Desert.

• “C.A.R.C.A.” (8 min., Canada) offers fictional fun in one man’s quest to revolutionize the world of animal avalanche rescue (C.A.R.C.A. stands for Canadian Avalanche Rescue Cat Association).

Saturday, Feb. 11

• “The Freedom Chair,” 15-minute Canadian Best Film on Mountain Sports, focuses on Josh Dueck, an aspiring skier and coach before a ski accident who came back to enjoy success in the world of competitive sit-skiing. Now his dream is to tackle the backcountry and the steepest and wildest mountains in the world.

• “Reel Rock: Ice Revolution” offers 13 minutes of radical ice climbing by Will Gadd and Tim Emmett as they tackle the heinously difficult ice of British Columbia’s Helmcken Falls.

• “On the Trail of Genghis Khan: The Last Frontier” (46 min., Australia) won the People’s Choice Award. Director Tim Cope, his band of horses and his dog Tigon travel overland 10,000 km from Mongolia to Hungary, following the footsteps of legendary warrior and nomad Genghis Khan. They visit distant parts of the world rarely seen, places on the cusp of modernity yet proud of nomadic traditions.

• “Chasing Water” (18 min., USA) won Best Short Mountain Film. Pete McBride, who grew up on a ranch in Western Colorado, spent his life visiting other countries to tell stories as a National Geographic photojournalist. In 2008, he decided to follow the Colorado River from his family’s ranch to see where it ends up.

• “Hanuman Airlines” (26 min., USA) follows two Nepali adventurers on their mission to launch a paraglider from Mount Everest’s summit and travel to an ocean they have never seen.

• “Cold,” the 19-minute Grand Prize winner from the USA, straps a camera on alpinist Cory Richard as he tackles Gasherbrum II (K4) in the middle of a deep, dark winter. The film’s raw, honest perspective interweaves pain, fear and doubt as it reveals a harrowing descent amplified by isolation and exposure.

• “C.A.R.C.A.”

For more information on the Midcoast stop of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, call 236-7120 or visit and click on the events tab.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to