Banff Film Festival banishes the winter blues

Outdoor documentaries return for 27th rendition

Janibek rides a horse through the Mongolian mountains in Boy Nomad.  
Screenshot from Vimeo

This weekend, the Banff Film Festival will make its annual stop at the Bader Centre to showcase some of the best Canadian mountain culture has to offer. 

The films bring viewers to exotic mountain locations and cultures across the world, and introduces the audience to thrilling mountain sports thatappear out of reach to many. 

Every fall, following the week-long festival in Banff, Alberta, the Banff Film Festival takes its top ranking films from over 400 submissions on the road. 

With 550 stops in over 40 countries, each community’s organizers customize the selection of films to fit the interests and needs of the community. Despite the variety, each community sees films that, according to the website, are “an exhilarating and provocative exploration of the mountain world.” 

Running from Saturday to Monday at the Bader Centre, the festival will be returning for its 27th year in Kingston, where for the past few years, it’s sold out months in advance. 

Sponsored by Trailhead Kingston, the Kingston stop showcases films revolving around mountain culture, which organizer and Trailhead General Manager, Michelle McShane, said included activities like skiing, mountain biking, and exploring mountainous terrain. 

While many of the films are set in Canada, others showcase mountain culture in  communities across the world. 

While the name of the festival conjures up images of rock-climbers and outdoor landscapes, the films are deeper and more profound. With a recurring focus on the trials and tribulations of family and personal life, the films deal with myriad of complex and compelling issues outdoors, which people experience all around the world. 

One of this year’s highlight is Boy Nomad, a coming of age story that features 9-year-old Janibek living in the mountains of Mongolia with his family. The film follows their challenging winter migration that threatens their animal stock. 

It’s a compelling story. While the film depicts a tale so different from Kingston life, the content is relatable. This is part of the overwhelming attraction of the film festival. 

There are many other films on the docket for this weekend, and for only $20, guests can access all of the films being shown at the festival. 

Another film follows an 11-year-old skiing prodigy who is not old enough to be world class but can do backflips going down the mountain. 

Sadly, if you were thinking of attending chances are slim that you’ll find a ticket. 

Each year tickets sell out months in advance, as Kingstonians flock to the cinematic world of mountain slopes to escape cold, windy winters. 

While those without tickets are out-of-luck for this year, the festival will return in 2020 with a fresh batch of films. Tickets go on sale in early spring—and sell out quick.  

In the dead of winter, it’s an easy opportunity to see the wilderness with none of the drawbacks. 

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