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The local's guide to the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

What kicks off with a block party and wraps up with a marathon screening of epic mountain adventure and environment films? The Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, of course.

BANFF – What kicks off with a block party and wraps up with a marathon screening of epic mountain adventure and environment films?

The Banff Centre's Mountain Film and Book Festival, of course. Featuring world-class adventurers, authors, photographers and filmmakers, plus a craft fair and trade show topped off with beer and wine, the 2019 BMFF lineup is jammed packed with all-star speakers, panelists and presentations.

Friday, Oct. 25

Banff Avenue between Buffalo and Caribou streets is the place to be for the festival kick-off street party complete with product demos, interactive displays and live entertainment. Events begin at 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 26

All-day films share stories of people, places and wildlife from Ulukhaktok in Canada’s far north, to tigers in India’s jungles, to an octogenarian fishing in the glacier-fed rivers of northern Italy with a hazelnut branch and a line of braided white stallion tail hairs.

Climbing Through Barriers features climbing mentors Kai Lightner, Mikhail Martin, Erynne Gilpin and Bethany Lebewitz who are working to bring diversity to climbing live. Live panel discussion hosted by James Edward Mills, followed by films begins at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 27

All-day films feature stories from the Arctic to Czech Republic, from South Africa to an extraordinary high-altitude rescue operation on K2, and a slack line spanning the border between Mexico and the U.S.

At 7:30 p.m., Winterland rings in the snowy season with a profile on master ski photographer Lee Cohen, a traditional Buddhist monk, skiing bold new lines in Japan, seven kayakers running deep canyons and whitewater of the Andes’ Rio Apurimac, and Teton Gravity Research’s celebration of ski and snowboard culture.

Monday, Oct. 28 

Radical Reels at 7:30 p.m. is sold out in Banff and Canmore. This event features a showing of high energy films of crazy adventures, extreme sports and hard-charging athletes.

Tuesday Oct. 29

Drawn to Nature teaches how to sketch and draw climbing gear with Teaching Artist in Residence Janice Tanton and special guest Chic Scott, encouraging artistic exploration and conversation about interacting with the cultural and geological landscapes of Banff National Park, with themes of Truth and Reconciliation woven throughout. Free, but registration is required in advance.

Queen without Land shares at 7 p.m. at the Lux Cinema shares the true story between Frost, a polar bear mother, and Norwegian wildlife filmmaker Asgeir Helgestad in this four-year cinematic journey to Svalbard where rising temperatures are responsible for dramatic changes in Frost’s ecosystem as the ice is melting at record speed.

Wednesday Oct. 30

The Snow Show at 7:30 p.m. serves up steep, deep and off the beaten piste, from the Artic to Pakistan’s Hunza Valley to some secret Canadian stashes with stories of friendship and the deep bond that develops through skiing.

Thursday Oct. 31

North America’s premier gathering of mountain writers opens at 10 a.m. with Craig Childs presenting his fascinating account of North America’s first peoples in Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America, and Frank Wolf sharing two decades of adventure travel journalism in Lines on a Map.

Festival favourite – Old Style Storytelling at 4 p.m. – returns with Chic Scott moderating unscripted stories by Jasmin Caton, Kathy Calvert, Don Mickle and Bow Valley Arctic adventurer Jerry Kobalenko.

The Bow Valley’s Sharon Wood presents her memoir, Rising: How a Canadian Became the First North American Woman to Summit Everest at 7:30 p.m., followed by the inimitable Reinhold Messner interviewed on stage by Canmore’s master interviewer, Geoff Powter. While he’s there, Powter will receive his Banff Mountain Book Festival award for Best Climbing Literature for Inner Ranges: An Anthology of Mountain Thoughts and Mountain People. Live show sold out, score tickets for the Margaret Greenham Theatre simulcast while they last.

Friday, Nov. 1

Hosted by Geoff Powter, Voices of Adventure features a live interview with one of Canada’s most accomplished alpinists, Ian Welsted, recipient of the Piolet d’Or award for his and Raphael Slawinski’s 2013 first ascent of K6 West in the Karakoram.

Tales and Ales: A Mountain Reading features Canmore writers Helen Rolfe, co-author of Honouring High Places: The Mountain Life of Junko Tabei and Jamey Glasnovic, author of A Few Feet Short: An Uncommon Journey to Everest,and northern Alberta’s Jenna Butler, author of Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard. Hosted by Banff Poet Laureate Steven Ross Smith at 4 p.m.

With most of the Friday night showings sold out, Hans Gmoser’s Deep Powder and Steep Rock serves up a visual feast of vintage backcountry skiing and rock climbing adventures in Banff, Yoho and Rogers Pass from 1961-62 at 6:30 p.m.

At 8 p.m., the documentary Artifishal, produced by environmentally progressive outdoor company Patagonia, features people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them in the face of possible extinction and threats posed by hatcheries and fish farms.

Saturday, Nov. 2

With daytime films sold out, cruise the Mountain Marketplace beginning at 10 a.m. and take in the free discussion Indigenous Dialogue: Return of the Bison, featuring Indigenous filmmakers from the Napi Collective and Nakoda AV Club speaking about a new collaborative film project that explores stories of ancestry and cultural connection related to the return of bison to Banff National Park. Moderated by Reneltta Arluk.

Rough Draft with Rocky Mountain Books at 5 p.m. Celebrate 40 years of mountain stories with premier mountain book publisher Rocky Mountain Books – get your free drink tickets at the RMB booth.

At 8 p.m., one of 11 children, Andrzej Bargiel was three-time Polish champion in ski mountaineering and has skied all the highest peaks in Russia. Renowned for his cutting-edge descents from four 8,000-metre peaks, he accomplished a near impossible ski descent of K2. He’ll share the stage with his brother, filmmaker Bartek Bargiel, for a live interview conducted by Canadian uber ski mountaineer Greg Hill, followed by films.

Also at 8 p.m., among the world’s top alpinists, Chantel Astorga and Anne Gilbert Chase spent four days making the first female ascent of the 2,700-metre Slovak Direct on Denali. They followed up with an expedition to the Indian Himalaya where, along with Jason Thompson, they made the first ascent of Mount Nilkath, earning special mention at the 2018 Piolets d’Or. Their live stage presentation will be followed by films.

Sunday, Nov. 3 

Snap up the last few tickets for the daytime films or check out Searching for Climbers. The all-star panel includes Parks Canada mountain risk specialist Grant Statham, multisport adventurer Will Gadd, Chantel Astorga and other industry experts discussing how, while many climbers wear avalanche safety gear when they ski, they don’t while climbing, and how, when things go sideways, it’s their loved ones and search and rescue teams who bear the brunt of these decisions. Hosted by ACMG mountain guide Larry Stanier.

Author, climber and psychologist Geoff Powter, and local author and mental health advocate Margo Talbot join alpinist Mark Twight and others for a discussion on addiction, tragedy and the healing power of mountains, Love & Loss Our Relationship with Mountains. Hosted by alpinist Ian Welsted at 12:30 p.m.

The badge of the true BMFF fan, the Best of the Festival features a selection of competition winners late into the night beginning at 8 p.m. at various venues.