“The Hunger Games” may be rocking the box office this weekend, but we have a better bet for family night at the movies: the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. The show, which brings the best of the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival to venues on seven continents, came through our town this week and, as usual, wowed the crowd—young and old—with its lineup of adrenaline-spiked adventure movies and call-to-action enviro documentaries.
Little powder hounds will dig the slow-mo footage and rad urban skiing in “All.I.Can,” shot in southern British Columbia, while aspiring climbers and photojournalists will watch in awe as photographer Jimmy Chin dangles off El Capitan with enormous camera in hand to get the perfect shot. But it’s the wildlife that will really win the kids: In “Spoil,” activists search for the super elusive Spirit Bear, a rare white grizzly that lives in the Great Bear Rainforest on the B.C. coast, which is threatened by a proposed pipeline. And on a lighter note, “C.A.R.C.A.” (Canadian Avalanche Rescue Cat Association) tells the hilarious, unlikely story of house cats trained for backcountry search and rescue missions. (Don’t worry, no animals were hurt in the making of this film.)
Admittedly, daredevil highliner Sketchy Andy, aka “Skandy,” may not be the best role model when it comes to safety and prudence in the outdoors, but his high-flying stunts (and out-there hair) are a good reminder of the importance of being yourself, even if that means attempting a back flip naked on a line rigged 300 feet off the deck. A slightly safer choice is packing up your apartment and moving into a renovated Airstream, which is exactly what three 20-something adventurers did in “23 Feet.” Roving to national parks, deserts, and beaches in the West, the young women interview people who’ve made similar choices to live out more simply of vans, school buses, and tents. While the movie’s message—do what you love, and the rest will fall into place—won’t seem all that fresh to more seasoned viewers in the house, it will definitely make an impression on the young and the restless.
And this was only the first of a two-night show. With dozens more Banff screenings to come this spring in California, Montana, New Jersey, Chicago, and Ohio—to name just a few—there’s still plenty of time to treat the kids to a blast of fresh Canadian air and change the way they see the world outside. Check out the website for dates and locations.