Calling all outdoor enthusiasts. Calling all crazy stunt lovers. Calling all film fanatics. Calling everyone out there with a sense of adventure and curiosity, who wants to be inspired, moved, excited and thrilled by the beauty, culture and adventure of the natural world. The Banff Film Festival is coming to Western, and it is something you just can’t miss. Skydiving, B.A.S.E. jumping, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, and solitary walks across entire continents-- the festival brings a blustering whirlwind of excitement and inspiration to a campus film screen near you.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival tours around the globe, and offers an eclectic array of films that highlight the environment, culture, and high-energy extreme sports. Gabriel Manuel Prestella III, Western’s very own “Mayor of Movies” (AS Productions films coordinator), said the films are about “high adrenaline outdoor activities, mixed with culture,” and said that last year’s festival had the audience in all states of emotion from laughter to awe to tears. The festival routinely sells out, drawing around 1,000 viewers to delight in awesome documentary footage of beautiful landscapes and amazing cultural and physical sights. “It’s very visually stimulating,” said Prestella, “because you see all these different environments. There are heartwarming stories mixed with stories of people who go and do these crazy, fun things. It’s beautiful.”
Banff is a town in Alberta, Canada, and is home to the Banff Center, “a globally respected arts, cultural, and educational institution and conference facility,” says the center’s website. Every year, the center teams up with tons of sponsors like National Geographic, Dunham Bootmakers, and Patagonia to present and tour a wide variety of exciting films. There are about 300 films that enter into the festival, and about 50 of them end up in the final tour. At Western, about eight of those films will be shown.
“It’s so hard to choose which films to show, because there are so many great ones to choose from,” said Prestella. “This is stuff that really keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s all really inspiring.”
And consider this: we live in Bellingham! There are a plethora of awesome outdoor experiences to be had in every possible direction. After you see these films and are inspired to go have some wild outdoor experiences, you can go right on and do it!
If you’re wondering where to begin, just head by the Outdoor Center. From skiing and snowboarding near Mt. Baker to exploring bat caves off Chuckanut Drive, there is surely a nearby outdoor experience for anyone interested.
The films in this festival range from 3 to 50 minutes, and have been shot by both novice and expert filmmakers. They capture some of the most remote and beautiful environments in the world, and relay some of the most stunning cinematography you will ever see. With the variety and thrill captured in the films, it is no wonder that this is ASP Films’ biggest event of the year.
“This stuff pumps you up and makes you want to go out there and do things. It makes you want to utilize the outdoors. Even if you’re not into sports, you’re still going to enjoy this,” said Prestella. “If you like films, you want to come to this. It is seriously one of the coolest things we do all year.”
Co-sponsoring the event is the Outdoor Center, who will be giving away some cool gear and prizes to motivate your own outdoor adventures. Tickets are $6 for students and $9 for general public, and can be purchase at the PAC Box Office. The festival is on November 29, at 7 p.m. on the PAC Mainstage. “This is the cheapest price [for the festival] you’ll find in the entire USA, because we love our students and community here,” said Prestella. Do not miss this event!. Reserve your tickets now.