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REVIEW: Banff Mountain film festival: Blue Programmes @ Brighton Dome, 20/4/17

The Verse’s Lou Clement reviews Adventure and adrenaline inspired film festival, Banff on it’s second edition at the Brighton Dome on the 20th April.


Banff returned to Brighton for the second part of their film programme. The films all focus on mountain life and cultures and are selected each November. They then tour the world, sharing the expertise and excitement of explorers, athletes and amateurs alike. Many of the stories have emotional narratives, all of them share shots from destinations far and wide.

The evening is not just a film screening. At the event, the Dome is full of promotional teams with competitions you can enter and bits and bobs you can pick up. You might think doing a worldwide tour would dim the enthusiasm of the staff but every time I’m been there’s been a palpable excitement and enthusiasm in the air.

The blue programme 2017 delivered a series of short films that were shot around the earth, from Papua New Guinea to Tasmania. Before we arrived I was telling my friend – well warning her really that some of these films might bring you to tears.
There was an 11-minute film that did just that. Doing is scared is the story of Paul Pritchard, prize-winning author and climber, climbing the Totem Pole in Tasmania. Paul also shares his experience of being hurt on that same climb 18 years previous. It’s dramatic, heartbreaking and courageous piece of work.

Another of the films that really was memorable, more because of the environment and landscapes it shared, was Locked in. The title didn’t give much away. But the open shots of azure blue and crisp white rapids and aerial filming gave this film an edge you rarely see in films. It was wild. Kayakers descended the remote Beriman River, which as well as being lined with sheer cliffs, requiring descent, also had hidden underground caves, which the adventurers had to navigate. It was such a beautiful and hostile environment and you shared the joy of the closing moments of the film. What a brilliant film.

Lastly, I’d like to mention Mira. This was the story of a young woman, a Nepalese runner, and it was inspiring. I don’t think the film fully conveyed the discipline and work that Mira put in to achieve her goals. However, her story is a modern day rags to riches – not particularly to do with money, although I hope her achievements have relieved some of the poverty her family faced. Rather the luck, the determination and the jaw-dropping achievements were just captured in a fantastic worldwide stop off.

Next up, Banff bring the wonderful Ocean film programme in September. Buy tickets here!



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