The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is returning to Moab on Monday, March 11.
Held in November in the Canadian town of the same name, the Banff Mountain Film Festival has been providing world-class outdoor films for 36 years. It began as a one-day event in 1976 and has now expanded to nine days of feature films.
Those films are then shared on a World Tour, stopping in 30 countries for over 550 screenings.
Moab will feature eight films in one night.
Each screening highlights a selection of the Festival films of particular interest to the local audience, as chosen by local organizers.
Dave Erley has been working with the Moab festival since it began 10 years ago.
He and his wife Yrma van der Steenstraeten will view shorts of films to choose from over the holidays at their home in Castle Valley.
“I take notes. She takes notes. We nix some,” Erley said. “I take picking of the films very seriously.”
Erley will create about four different itineraries for the night, and sends the lists to a staff member in Banff.
“They take meticulous notes and they know what Moab audiences have liked over the years,” Erley said. “I really rely on their expertise.”
The films this year will feature climbing, canyoneering, highlining, kayaking, mountain biking, a polar adventure, and a wildlife film/environment film.
“I try to take people on a photo tour of the world,” Erley said. “If there are two great kayak films, I pick the one that is exotic location.”
Some of the films are shorts, featuring adventure and cinematography in just a few minutes.
One of these is “Moonwalk” featuring rock climber pioneer and former Moabite Dean Potter. In the four-minute film Potter walks a highline against the face of a full moon at Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park.
One of the films, “Highway Wilding” is a 22-minute documentary about a project in the Canadian Rocky Mountains designed to provide solutions between transportation corridors and wildlife conservation.
“If something wins an award, that certainly catches my attention. Try to get the award winners in as much as possible,” Erley said.
“Crossing the Ice” is a 44-minute film that won the People’s Choice Award at the festival. It features the two Australians dragging their food and shelter across 1140 kilometers of barren ice on a trek to the South Pole. After much planning and preparation, the two arrive to tackle one of the last great Antarctic odysseys, but discover an eerie similarity to Captain Scott’s race to the South Pole: there’s a Norwegian on the ice. He’s more experienced, he’s tackling the same record, and he has a head start.
“These films are a celebration of the outdoor lifestyle and living life to fullest. It’s a perfect fit for a brand like ours” said John Evans, Petzl’s marketing director who had the idea to bring the Festival to Moab back in 2003.
The first Banff Festival showing in Moab was a benefit for Utah Open Lands, which was in the process of buying land at Castleton Tower, also known as Castle Rock, in Castle Valley from School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
This year, the Moab stop will raise funds for the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign, a multi-million dollar revolving grant fund that helps local climbing organizations across the United States to acquire land and preserve it for climbing or climbing access.
“I really like having the Banff Film Festival here in Moab,” Erley said. “It’s at the first of the season and mostly locals come.”
Last year the tickets were sold out the day before the showing.
Moab will get a second glimpse of the Banff’s films next fall with Radical Reels on Oct. 12. This will be the second time Radical Reels will be shown in Moab, sponsored by Petzl in support of Friends of the La Sal Avalanche Center.