The Banff Mountain Film Festival at U of M Willey Hall


The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, a traveling showcase of films focusing on mountaineering activities -- usually of the extreme variety -- will include Minneapolis as one of its stops this Friday and Saturday. Hosted by Midwest Mountaineering and held at the Willey Hall auditorium in the West Bank of the University of Minnesota, this year's festival includes over 50 feature and short documentaries on mountain-related topics and activities, some so extreme they would give pause even to Aron Ralston, the unfortunate real-life climber played by James Franco in 127 Hours.

[jump] An extension of the film festival founded in 1976 in Banff, Alberta, the world tour is an attempt to reach out to audiences of a broader spectrum by tailoring the film and event selections to each stop along the way. The tour also includes a book expo, which will be held in the lobby surrounding the auditorium of Willey Hall. Workshops on mountaineering and exploring will take place between film screenings.

This year's Minnesota edition includes films in the categories of mountain culture, mountain environment, climbing, mountain sports, exploration, and adventure in feature and short length.

A major work in the exploration category is Crossing the Ditch, a documentary about the expedition of the same name, in which two men traveled the Tasman Sea by kayak from New South Wales to New Zealand.

Among several films about mountaineering is Tibet: Murder in the Snow which incorporates documentary footage and reenactments to tell the story of several climbers who witnessed the murder of a nun by Chinese border police who opened fire on several villagers near the Nangba Pass.

Expedition Grizzly is a National Geographic special that focuses on Casey Anderson, who had a more positive, less extreme approach to studying and living amongst bears than Timothy Treadwell, the subject of Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man. Anderson discusses many things most people don't realize are issues with bears.

Daredevils: The Human Bird is a Channel 4 web series focusing on risk-takers who fly across the vast gulfs between mountain peaks using nothing more than wingsuits.

To order tickets and get more information on the Banff World Tour, visit the Midwest Mountaineering website.