Marie Birkbeck
Banff Mountain Film Festival photo
Banff Mountain Film Festival photo

For many of us here in Valemount attending the Banff Mountain Film Festival (BMFF) would be something we can only dream of, but thanks to Valemount Arts and Cultural Society the festival comes to us each fall as a part of the BMFF World Tour.

When the BMFF World Tour came to Valemount Community Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 24, once again it did not disappoint!

From the Scottish Highlands, to the icy cold Arctic Circle in Norway, to a gorge high above the Verdon River in France and the deserts of Utah; from silly to serious and laughter to tears, the twelve featured films had the full attention of the audience for three hours.

The short film “Shift” was the winner of BMFF People’s Choice Award. Shift is the inspirational story of a group of indigenous youth in Carcross, Yukon who converted over 60 kilometers of historical trails around their community into a world-class mountain biking destination and in doing so, transformed themselves along the way.

Winner of the Best Short Mountain Film “Northbound” chronicles the adventures of four skateboarders who headed north above the Arctic Circle to the cold Norwegian coast to apply their urban riding skills to a canvas of beach flotsam, frozen sand, and pastel skies. There, the four boys, liberated from their egos, freely express themselves having realized that 'it is nice to be where the eagle wants to be'.

Set high above the Gorges du Verdon at about 700 meters, the deepest gorge in France, “Metronomics” combines a skillful blend of artists and high-level balancing athletes that play a high energy symphony devoted to risk, to provide jaw dropping, heart stopping pure entertainment. Metronomics won the BMFF best film award in the Mountain Sport category.

And, of course, they saved the best for last.

“Four Mums in a Boat” follows the journey of four middle-aged British women who decided on a whim that they were going to join the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge and row over 3,000 miles to Antigua.

With the support of their husbands, families, and communities the four women trained and fundraised for three years and in Dec. 2015 set off on an adventure that would test their strength and endurance in every way imaginable.

Some ways we could not even imagine, from equipment failures to the wrath of force-12 Hurricane Alex that kept them holed up in their small cabins for seventy hours. In the end, what was expected to be a 50-day journey, stretched into 67 days.

The women, despite being emotionally and physically exhausted completed their epic journey and claimed the Guinness World Record as the oldest all-female team to row across any ocean.