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Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival winners announced

BANFF – The COVID-19 pandemic couldn't stop the stoke of mountain enthusiasts, who went online to enjoy the Banff Centre Mountain Book and Film Festival this year. Running Oct. 31 to Nov.
9781771604567_Emilio_Comici_web
David Smart took home the Banff Mountain Book Festival award for climbing literature, which included $2,000 in prize money, for his book Emilio Comici: Angel of the Dolomites published by Rocky Mountain Books. SUBMITTED IMAGE

BANFF – The COVID-19 pandemic couldn't stop the stoke of mountain enthusiasts, who went online to enjoy the Banff Centre Mountain Book and Film Festival this year.

Running Oct. 31 to Nov. 8 – the festival handed out its prestigious hardware to filmmakers and authors, including David Smart, who is well-known in the Bow Valley. 

Smart took home the award for climbing literature, which included $2,000 in prize money, for his book Emilio Comici: Angel of the Dolomites published by Rocky Mountain Books. 

Grand prize of the 2020 Banff Mountain Book Festival went to Raven's Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson by author Hank Lentfer, which included $4,000 in award money.

The book tells the story of Nelson, one of the state's leading nature writers and conservationists. It also won the award for mountain literature, non-fiction, which included a $2,000 prize. 

“This book makes me want to ponder over our connections with nature and the meaning of spirituality for each one of us," said jury member Nadini Purandare in a press release. 

"Such is the power of its quality of writing and the subject of the book, Richard K. Nelson. There can never be enough of books like this. A lifetime spent in wilderness must be written about, and celebrated, read by young people everywhere. For this universality alone, Raven’s Witness is deserving of a Grand Prize." 

The jury also included Bow Valley resident Helen Rolfe and Pete Takeda (U.S.). The jury chose winners in nine categories in mountain and adventure literature, mountain fiction, mountain image, mountain articles and mountineering history, and guidebooks. 

There were 137 submissions from 11 countries. 

The 45th annual 2020 Banff Mountain Film Competition grand prize went to Then Comes the Evening filmmakers Maja Novaković and Milan Milosavljević, who also received $4,000 in prize money. The film tells the bittersweet story of two grannies living in isolation in the hills of eastern Bosnia, with nature as the medium through which they speak, listen and show respect.  

“Transforming experiences and visuals from her childhood into a meditative experience, Maja Novaković's debut film Then Comes the Evening is a thoughtful and artistic tribute to a way of life that is fast disappearing," said jury member Reena Mohan. 

"Filmed in the village in Eastern Bosnia where she grew up, Maja is careful to not romanticise or glamourise or valorise the unceasing toil and mundane events in the daily lives of two ageing women on a farm. In painterly images, we are invited to contemplate seasons and their colours, the time of day, and the eventual decay of human existence."

The jury included Claire Carter (U.K.), Bryan Cole (U.S.), Bryan Smith (CAN) and Subina Shrestha (NEP). They picked the finalists and winners in each category from a total of 373 films submitted from 36 countries. 

2020 Film Award Category Winners: 

Best Film: Climbing
$2000 – CLIF Bar & Co
The Wall of Shadows
(Poland, 2020, 94 mins)
Director: Eliza Kubarska
Producer: Monika Braid

Best Film: Mountain Culture 
$2000 - Sponsored by Helly Hansen
Cholitas 
(Spain, 2019, 80 mins)
Director: Pablo Iraburu, Jaime Murciego
Producer: Itziar García Zubiri
 
Best Film: Mountain Environment & Natural History 
 $2000 – Sponsored by Kupilka
The Cull – Scotland’s Deer Dilemma 
(United Kingdom, 2020, 58 mins)
Director: Ted Simpson
Producer: Finbar O’Sullivan
 
Best Film: Mountain Sports 
$2000 – Sponsored by Storyblocks
Confessions of a Runner 
(United States, 2020, 28 mins)
Director: Bachar Khattar
Producers: Jerome Gary, Denise Jabbour, Tim Rockwood, Bachar Khattar, Patrick Vaughan
 
Best Film: Exploration & Adventure
$2000 – Sponsored by Devold
Lost at Sea
(United Kingdom, 2019, 47 mins)
Director: Johnny Burke
Producer: Louis Bird
 
Best Film: Snow Sports
$2000 – Sponsored by Park Distillery
Metanoia 
(Germany, 2020, 23 mins)
Director: Paul Schweller, Flo Gassner
Producers: Flo Gassner, Vali Werner-Tutschku
 
Best Film: Creative Excellence Award 
$2000 – Sponsored by Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine
My Last Day of Summer
(United States, 2019, 8 mins)
Director and Producer: Kristina Wayte  
 
Best Mountain Short 
$2000 – Backcountry Lodges of BC Association
Voice Above Water 
(United States, 2020, 11 mins)
Director: Dana Frankoff
Producer: Eric Ebner
 
Best Mountain Feature
$2000 – Sponsored by Oboz Footwear
Godspeed, Los Polacos!
(United States, 2020, 90 mins)
Director: Adam Nawrot
Producer: Sonia Szczesna  
 
Grand Prize 
$4000 – Sponsored by MEC
Then Comes the Evening 
(Serbia, 2019, 27 mins)
Director: Maja Novaković
Producers: Milan Milosavljević, Maja Novaković
 
Special Jury Mentions
24 Leeches 
(Canada, 2020, 10 mins)
Director and Producer: Aaron Peterson
 
Bear-Like (der Bär in mir)
(Switzerland, 2019, 91 mins)
Director and Producer: Roman Droux

2020 Book Award Category Winners: 

Grand Prize 
$4000 – Sponsored by Rab
 
Raven’s Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson
Hank Lentfer, Mountaineers Book (USA, 2020)

Mountain Literature (non-fiction) - The Jon Whyte Award
$2000 - Sponsored by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies 

Raven’s Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson
Hank Lentfer, Mountaineers Book (USA, 2020)

Mountain Fiction and Poetry 
$2000 - Sponsored by the Town of Banff  

The Bear
Andrew Krivak, Bellevue Literary Press (USA, 2020)
  

Mountain Environment and Natural History 
$2000 - Sponsored by Canadian Mountain Network  

Wild Himalaya: A Natural History of the Greatest Mountain Range on Earth
Stephen Alter, Aleph Book Company (India, 2019)


Adventure Travel 
$2000 - Sponsored by World Expeditions  

Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition
Buddy Levy, St. Martin’s Press (USA, 2019)

Mountain Image
$2000 - Sponsored by Banff and Lake Louise Tourism 

The Wild Coasts of Canada
Scott Forsyth, Rocky Mountain Books (Canada, 2019)
  

Guidebooks 
$2000 - Sponsored by Association of Canadian Mountain Guides 

Crack Climbing: The Definitive Guide
Pete Whittaker, Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2020)/ Mountaineers Books (USA, 2020)

Mountaineering Article 
$2000 - Sponsored by the University of Alberta and the Alpine Club of Canada  

Leper Chai
Jeff Long, Rock & Ice Magazine (USA, March 2020)

Climbing Literature 
$2000 - Sponsored by RMB (Rocky Mountain Books) 

Emilio Comici: Angel of the Dolomites
David Smart, Rocky Mountain Books (Canada, 2020)



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