The award-winning film "Reel Rock 10: A Line Across the Sky" follows two of the world's best climbers as they cross snow- and ice-covered rock in Patagonia. [Photo by Austin Siadak / Courtesy of Banff Mountain Film Festival]

An opportunity to host the renowned Banff Mountain Film Festival in Moab arose 13 years ago when a group of local outdoor enthusiasts got together to save a piece of land.

Property at the base of Castleton Tower, a popular climbing area, was threatened by proposed development, so Utah Open Lands, with the help of community donations, bought the property. The world’s largest climbing gear company, Petzl, was involved with the effort.

Petzl had a relationship with the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Alberta, and when Banff announced it had an open date for its world film tour – something that hadn’t happened in eight years – Petzl and Castle Valley resident Dave Erley decided to bring the scenic adventure films to Moab.

Two days of award-winning films will be shown during the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival when it comes to Moab on Monday, March 7, and Tuesday, March 8, at the Grand County High School Auditorium, 608 S. 400 East.

This year’s movies include “Reel Rock 10: A Line Across the Sky” featuring two of the world’s best climbers, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold. The 40-minute “Best Climbing” film shows the climbers discovering routes and climbing across snow- and ice-covered rock in Patagonia to complete a first ascent in February 2014.

“They found a window of good weather in Patagonia and were able to pull it off,” Erley said.

Another notable film is “Chasing Niagara” – a 53-minute feature about pro-kayaker Rafa Ortiz who decides to paddle over Niagara Falls.

“Eclipse” – a film set in Norway – has been getting great reviews, Erley said. It’s about a photographer determined to get a shot of a skier in front of the 2015 solar eclipse.

“Rocky Mountain Traverse” is another breathtakingly beautiful film about two men who paraglide 700 kilometers, camping each night in the Canadian Rockies – mountains that make the Colorado Rockies look small in comparison, Erley said.

And, a film chosen especially for the Moab audience, is “Voyages Without Trace” about three Parisians, who in 1938, explored the wild Green and Colorado rivers via kayak.

Sixteen different films will be shown during the two-day film festival.

The Moab Banff Mountain Film Festival is a benefit for Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation in Price, and Utah Avalanche Center-Moab.

Second Chance founder and director Debbie Pappas has been caring for injured wildlife for the past 22 years. She founded Second Chance in 2001, and is one of three wildlife rehabilitators in Utah.

“All (donations) go toward ongoing expenses for all the animals,” for medical supplies, surgeries, and food, said Pappas, who volunteers her time.

Pappas currently is caring for eight golden eagles, most of whom were injured in automobile accidents. When birds or animals are unable to be released back into the wild, she finds other legal homes for them, sometimes with Native American tribes, Erley said.

While the majority of patients are birds – all kinds – Second Chance volunteers also care for mammals of all types, including rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and beavers.

Pappas will be at the event with information about the organization during intermission. For more information, visit

The film festival’s other beneficiary, the Utah Avalanche Center, partners with the U.S. Forest Service to provide critical mountain weather and avalanche forecasting, and snow-depth recording for the La Sal Mountains near Moab.

Advance tickets for the festival are available for $10 at Back of Beyond Books, Canyon Voyages Adventure Co., Pagan Mountaineering and Poison Spider Bikes. For more information, call 435-259-4859.

Screening of award-winning films to benefit local nonprofits

What: Banff Mountain Film Festival

When: Monday, March 7, and Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. Doors open 6:15 p.m.

Where: Grand County High School Auditorium, 608 S. 400 East

Cost: $10 advance; $15 at the door (Cash only) Tickets available at Back of Beyond Books, Canyon Voyages Adventure Co., Pagan Mountaineering and Poison Spider Bikes.

Information: 435-259-4859