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Banff Mountain Film presents 84 films from 16 countries

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The world’s best adventure sports, environmental and adrenaline films will be screened at the 47th annual Festival which runs from October 29 to November 6. guest speakers, free events and the return of the Festival Marketplace. Online movie screenings will also be on demand for those who prefer to watch from the comfort of their own home.

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Festival highlights include: Charismatic mentors Brette Harrington and Christina “Lusti” Lustenberger sharing stories of their first remote ski descents on Baffin Island, Paul Pritchard tells stories from his adventure book , The Mountain Path, adaptive athlete/skier Vasu Sojitra in an unscripted conversation with Greg Hill about outdoor living, the environment and inclusivity, and we’ll also welcome Himalayan specialist and Polish climber from high altitude, Adam Bielecki on the Banff stage for the first time, speaking of failure and success on some of the world’s most famous peaks.

This year, a total of 458 films from 45 countries were submitted, with 84 films from 16 countries selected as finalists. The Festival will present 14 world premieres, 14 North American premieres and 23 Canadian premieres. The members of the international jury are: Juliette Barthaux (France), media professional in the television and film industry, vice-president of The Himalayan Club, climber and host of the Banff World Tour Divyesh Muni (India), filmmaker and director Faith Briggs (USA), teacher and activist Erynne Gilpin (Canada) and sound designer and film composer Joaquin Gomez (Argentina).

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Fritz Mueller will attend the festival and present his feature documentary Voices Across the Water about building a canoe and revealing its true form. “A hull is being put in place. The elegant arc of an arch cuts out. A similar process sometimes occurs in life, when a person finally discovers his true path.

Mueller, who grew up in a remote area of ​​British Columbia’s Coast Mountains and now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, has a long history with the Banff Mountain Festival.

Fritz Mueller and Teresa Earle’s feature-length documentary Voices Across the Water follows two master boatbuilders as they practice their craft and find a way to find balance and healing.

For Alaskan Tlingit carver Wayne Price, crafting a canoe from a single solid red cedar is a way to reconnect with the ancestral knowledge of Indigenous craftsmen. Wayne’s long hours of work are punctuated by silly jokes and deep conversation with a new young apprentice, Violet.

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French-speaking artist Halin de Repentigny handcrafts birchbark canoes, like those once used by voyageurs. Harvesting raw materials from the Yukon forest, Halin works meticulously to create her light and strong vessels, lovingly embellished by her whimsical artwork.

But what happens when the old ways are lost? For Wayne, building boats is a way to pass on his skills and expertise to the next generation, while Halin’s work is more introspective, but both men understand the fragility of knowledge. Linked by their dedication to craftsmanship.

“There is a meditative quality to doing something by hand; this is similar to the “zone” that athletes enter. A big part of the personal confidence of Alaskan Tlingit carver Wayne Price and Francophone artist Halin de Repentigny is that they are masters at creating something difficult. They’re both at their best and happiest when they’re about to finish a canoe,” Mueller said.

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“They talk about the rhythmic cadence of chipping, adze and stitching bark to fashion boats. It requires a high level of focus and commitment. There’s also something about the paddling cadence. Wayne says there is no room for anger while canoeing, that paddling actually displaces negative thoughts. When you stay in positive space for a long time, you form new thought patterns and ultimately emerge as a different person. I am convinced that this is part of the healing process.

“These styles of watercraft have been built for thousands of years. They are etched into the human ethos, with an important place in stories and literature. Making this type of craft requires a high level of understanding of materials and tools.

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“In shipbuilding, there are no straight lines. No piece of wood is the same. Each type of material has different knots and grains, so they need to respond with creative ways to get the most out of things. What sets their work apart from other art forms is that the boats are beautiful but they are also functional and practical. Historically, boats were used for transportation and warfare, but they are also symbols of wealth, strength, and ceremony.

Mueller said Halin lives in a remote northern environment where he has access to small birch trees, spruce roots, and plenty of bear sap and fat, while Wayne lives in the lush coastal forest of Alaska, with huge trees suitable for trimming a canoe. from a single newspaper. Their different traditions are largely influenced by their materials.

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“In Wayne’s case, there’s 10,000 years of history in the making of these canoes. In Halin, there are several hundred years of French-speaking tradition in the manufacture of birchbark canoes. Both men believe their communities will be enriched if people understand this story, and they hope it will increase awareness and allow greater healing and knowledge to emerge from the practice.

“There is definitely something about making a boat building movie that forces you to slow down and dig into the process. The process of making documentaries requires many of the same attributes as boat building – patience , courage and humility,” Mueller said.

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