The Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival is on a worldwide tour — with stops near youThe Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival is complete and the votes are in. The nine-day festival showcased the world's best mountain sport, culture, environment, adventure and exploration films and books. Now the winning entries are on a worldwide tour — with stops near you. (Click the link at the bottom of this article to find the festival’s schedule.)
Here is a rundown of some of the best entries from the 2013 Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival.
Best of the Books
On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey through the Land of the Nomads
By Tim Cope
The grand-prize winner of this year's festival was On the Trail of Genghis Khan; it also won the Adventure Travel category award. Australian author, Tim Cope, was inspired by fulfilling his desire to better understand the nomad way of life and there were no more famous nomads than the Mongols under the thumb of Genghis Khan. This book chronicles his 6,000-mile journey on horseback across the Eurasian steppe from Mongolia to Hungary, the same route that Khan himself once took with his horde. Beginning as a novice rider, he spent over three years on horseback. Cope writes about his challenges, his triumphs and the delicate balance nomadic culture still maintains in this modern world.
Everest: The First Ascent – How a Champion of Science Helped to Conquer the Mountain
By Harriet Tuckey
Everest was a close contender for the grand-prize, but ultimately ended up winning the category for Non-Fiction Mountain and Wilderness Literature. The book combines the history of the first accent of Mt. Everest and the biography of the author's father Dr. Griffith Pugh who designed the survival strategy for the expedition. The author presents some truly groundbreaking research on just how much her late father contributed to the expedition. The book itself challenges the glorified figures and events that, while once thought the only truth, are revealed to be not quite right. Everest was praised for its meticulous research and fair retelling of the first ascent of the mountain.
Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration
By David Roberts
Alone on the Ice was the fan favourite book of the Banff Mountain Festival. This chilling tale documents the story of Douglas Mawson who was the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition in 1913. Mawson — alone and near starvation — was hauling a sled back to base camp after his dogs had died. Mawson plunged through a snow bridge and found himself dangling over the abyss. On the brink of death, it was a singular line of poetry that gave him the will to survive this ordeal. As he struggled for days, he was reduced to crawling after the skin on the soles of his feet had peeled off. When he eventually made it back to base camp, he was an unrecognizable skeleton of a man. Through the use of wondrous Antarctic photographs beside this miraculous tale of survival, Douglas Mawson is immortalized as one of the greatest polar explorers.
Best of the Films
North of the Sun (Nordfor Sola)
Director: Inge Wegge
Director Inge Wegge brought his film North of the Sun to the Banff Festival where it went on to win everyone's hearts and the grand prize as well as the People's Choice award. The film documents the adventure of two Norwegian explorers who discover their own personal playground on a remote island north of the Arctic Circle. They build a cabin out of beach debris and proceed to spend the entire winter snowboarding and surfing in the eerie Arctic darkness. This engaging adventure film won people over with a wonderful story and engaging personalities.
The Secrets of the Glom Mountain
Director: Tom Edvindsen
At first glance, The Secrets of the Glom Mountain appears to be an exceptionally ordinary film about geology. However, as the film goes on it, it clearly won the crowd over due to its quirkiness and the fresh approach it takes to mountain filmmaking. It is not difficult to see why this film won the award for Creative Excellence. The story follows the story of the director, Tom Edvindsen, as he and his grumpy teenage daughter take a trip to the caverns of Glom where Tom hunted exotic beasts as a boy. While his daughter naps the day away, Tom is delighted to find out that the creatures still linger.
The Last Ice Merchant
Director: Sandy Patch
The Last Ice Merchant documents the story of a long-lived tradition that is soon to be no more. Balthazar Uscha is the last man practicing the dying art of harvesting ice from the highest mountain in Ecuador. When he dies, the craft dies with him. This short film won the Mountain Environment and Natural History category and proves to be a poignant portrayal of a culture soon to die. Film viewers commended Sandy Patch for finding this amazing man and portraying his culture and story in such a tender way.
To see if some of these great books and movies are coming to a town near you, visit: