Wednesday, 6 March 2019
The Banff Mountain Film Festival is probably a world leader in its genre. I think the festival takes place in Banff in October or November, when there isn’t much else happening there. A selection of twelve films then goes on tour to the UK and elsewhere. There are two separate screenings of six films each, in a programme lasting a couple of hours. I don’t know how they decide which venues get which set of films. The tour lasts from 19 January to 24 May.
On Saturday Sue and I were joined by Cary and Penny for a visit to the ‘Blue’ programme at the historic Plaza venue in Stockport.
The films covered the antics of a 97 year old runner, a lady who set out to climb all 82 of Europe’s 4000 metre summits in one season, a nineteen year old woman’s bid to climb grades never before achieved by a woman, an Asian mountain biker, mountain bikers on a near vertical ski run, and the retracing of an 80 year old journey of survival in Australia’s outback.
All quite exhilarating, despite the stiff necks we came away with. (Note our position in relation to the screen…)
Sunday mornings at home have, for me, got into the habit of starting with a 5km jog around Wythenshawe Park. This takes place under the auspices of ‘great run local’ and is aimed at novices and others, with a 2 km route and a 5 km route. About 100 people take part, including many children. As with the unrelated parkrun events, it’s a very friendly community event, with some folk trying harder than others. It’s a good way to get some Sunday morning exercise and justification for eating any cake that might appear later.
Here’s the start line. The children in particular enjoy a lap of the running track at the start, and everyone finishes half way around the track at the end of their run.
So there was nothing holding me back from eating a fair number of young Kate’s cakes when the opportunity arose later. Thanks Kate.
I’ll finish with a note from last week’s bike ride. When we cycled past the section of the Rochdale Canal that was being drained and cleaned, Richard and I didn’t stop to enquire as to the niceties of what was going on.
Since then, Jan has brought to my attention a video that shows how the canal is drained via a 215 year old trapdoor into the culverted River Tib. The position of the trapdoor is given by this arrow at the edge of the towpath just near where the above picture was taken:
The hidden (in culverts) River Tib flows into the River Medlock, with the water eventually seeing daylight where the Medlock drains into the River Irwell/Manchester Ship Canal.Here’s the link to the 26 minute video:
Thursday, 27 January 2011
“The Banff Mountain Festival World Tour brings Banff to audiences around the globe. Immediately after the Festival ends in November, a selection of the best films go on tour across Canada, the United States, and internationally from Scotland to South Africa to China, Japan, New Zealand, Antarctica, and points in between. Each year, the films travel to 30 countries reaching more than 210,000 people at over 550 screenings.” They may be coming near you!
We habitually enjoy a visit to the Ottawa leg of this ‘World Tour’, and last night’s offering was one of the best.
Kranked Kids – a spoof mountain biking movie featuring the children of the stars of the ‘Kranked’ movies
Chimaera – a short film capturing spectacular winter sports moments
Rush Hour Dream – short film about an office worker goes to work and falls asleep in the carriage. In his dream he wakes up on a mountain side and discovers that he is carrying a paraglider in his laptop bag
Crossing the Ditch – a wonderful feature film about two young lads who kayaked, unsupported, across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand (look out for this one)
The Longest Way - an entertaining time-lapse of a one-year-walk from Beijing to Urumqi
Dream Result – extreme kayaking, at its most extreme
Still Motion -still images from motion-triggered wildlife cameras create an intricately sequenced movie-like production of Alberta’s amazing wildlife
The Swiss Machine - Ueli Steck may be the greatest speed alpinist the world has ever seen. In this film, Ueli tells of his record-breaking ascents in the Alps, accompanied by stunning aerial footage that captures him racing up 8,000 foot alpine faces. When he joins Alex Honnold in Yosemite, Ueli sets his ultimate goal: to take his one-man alpine speed game to the largest, highest walls in the world.
Life Cycles – a short but engaging film about the life cycle of a bicycle
Parking Garage: Beyond the Limit - a short spoof of the Discovery Channel Show, Everest: Beyond the Limit.
All in all, a very pleasurable way to spend an evening.
Monday, 26 January 2009
Yes we do help with the housework in our home from home!
...we spent the evening at the cinema, in front of seven films selected for Ottawa by the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour.
Here's their trailer:
During the interval an attempt was made to distribute minor items of gear (not up to the standard of my new hat, Phil) as prizes in a raffle for which everyone had been handed tickets. Unfortunately, as the numbers in the 'hat' didn't often match those held by members of the audience, this was a fairly long drawn out and tedious process.
Then we enjoyed more adrenaline fuelled film-making, with images of acrobatic cycling (the highlight being a ride along a chain-link railing), kayaking from the underground source of a river in Papua New Guinea to the Pacific (down some stupendous rapids), climbing on some sandstone towers (no chalk this time), and heli-skiing down unlikely looking slopes (rather steep).
Thursday, 27 November 2008
We spent the weekend in Kendal, enjoying an assortment of lectures and films at Kendal Mountain Festival:
Colin Prior - was informative, but he lives for photography and has huge amounts of equipment, so we 'snapshotters' can hardly hope to emulate him. He also spent some time discussing his specialism - panoramic shots taken with a special camera. I doubt anyone in the audience had one of those cameras, we simply feasted our eyes on Colin's brilliant pictures. For an overnight shot, he carries 56 pounds of equipment!
Kenton Cool's audio visual presentation on his exploits on the north face of the Eiger (successful) and on Everest (unsuccessful) with the enigma that is Ran Fiennes was superb - hilarious at times. Here's his blog on his Kendal experience.
David Breashears introduced his new film 'Storm over Everest', an attempt to tell a fuller story of what happened in the fateful storm in 1996. It was made in the documentary style of 'Touching the Void', concentrating on interviews with just half a dozen or so of the survivors. There was no mention of any Brits or of the (controversial) South Africans on the mountain. So it didn't present the full picture, but we found it compulsive viewing.
Contrasting greatly with the mountaineering exploits of Cool, Fiennes and Breashears, was Cameron McNeish and Richard Else's excellent double act, describing a trip through Sutherland from Lochinver to Tongue. Here's Cameron's take on the experience.
There were many more lectures, mostly audio visual. It was a shame we couldn't see more. One that I am sorry to have missed is Andy Kirkpatrick's 'Brokeback Mountaineer' (the link is to his blog), in which he looks back at ten years' worth of climbing partners and wonders why no one will climb with him any more. We did get to see a film about him - 'Hard XS: Suffering Andy' which opens with the line 'Andy Kirkpatrick should be dead'. He is clearly one of the characters of British mountaineering - if he's speaking near you - go see him...
We also watched a small sample of the 80 or so films on view, being quite selective about what we saw. A highlight for us was a film made by an Indian motorcyclist, Gaurav Jani, 'Riding Solo To The Top Of The World'. This was some undertaking, and the lone filmmaker's friendliness and determination is repaid in kind by the indigenous people he meets and befriends en route. Brilliant.
The awards ceremony was, as usual, introduced by Sir Chris(Berghaus are the main sponsor - their 'Experience the Adventure' video was shown before each event at the Festival), who opened with a tribute to the former organisers of the Festival, John Porter and Brian Hall. They disappeared from the scene fairly recently under (to an observer) odd circumstances, and were not present this year. I'm sure it's all explained in a 'Forum' somewhere, but I'm not really a 'Forum' person, so my memories of John and Brian's efforts are of some superbly organised Film Festivals, and Chris Bonington's fitting tribute to them.
The Grand Prize was won by a climbing film 'On Sight' which we did not get to see, and the 'People's Choice' was a film called 'Beyond The Summits' featuring Catherine Destivelle, which we did see. The photography was admirable, but the film had serious defects (explained by one of the judges here). I can only surmise that it appealed to the climbers who predominantly attend the festival, and that Catherine, who was present, did some effective campaigning.
Our hosts for the weekend was the excellent Meadowcroft B&B in Ings, right next to the excellent Watermill Inn where on Friday we enjoyed their fine food and the Collie Wobbles Beer from their micro brewery.
Sunday morning dawned white, so just a few monochrome images were gained:
Thursday, 3 January 2008
But this was a day of rest after a number of hectic days over Christmas, and ‘The History Boys’ came up on TV. I like Alan Bennett’s work though sadly I don’t seek it out.
I found the film spellbinding, absolutely brilliant, occasionally reminiscent of some of the best days of my education, and for once I concur with the critical acclaim for this film:
"According to Time, the film is better than the original play, as the transformation to film improved the 'flow and intimacy' of the production, while preserving the messages it seeks to convey. Rolling Stone notes that some sense of familiarity with the subject of the film is lost in the cutting of nearly an hour from the original play, but the dialogue remains witty and pointed as is the customary style of the author. New York describes the film as 'brilliant and infectious', and filled with Alan Bennett's customary dead-pan humour. The author writes as though he simultaneously envies the extrovert characters he has created, yet is happy to stand apart from them. Hector's classes ramble, but manage to inspire the boys to the extent that they are pleased to adopt his approach to learning, and contentedly go along with his eccentric behaviour. The film is peppered with literary references and carries an encouragement to engage with life."
Here’s more on the film, and on the play on which the film was based. If you haven’t seen it you have a treat in store.