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BANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL TOP PICKS 2016

By Cotswold Outdoor
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For adventurers around the world, the Banff Mountain film festival is an amazing opportunity to see the world’s best mountain films on the big screen. Stopping off at 40 countries and 300 locations, the tour consists of two programmes: the red and blue, each with a different set of films. Read on for our top red film programme picks for 2016.

1. Unbranded

Deserving winner of the Banff people’s choice award, Unbranded is a Western with a difference. The film follows four college graduates who drop off the grid to ride sixteen wild horses 3000 miles through the very, very Wild West; all the way from Mexico to the Canadian border.

Unbranded - Banff Mountain Film Festival 2016

Funny, moving and at times genuinely terrifying, Unbranded is a film with an important message; the 50,000 wild horses stuck in government-leased pens in America deserve forever homes. Whilst the friendship between the four riders is touching, the real stars of Unbranded are the Mustangs (wild horses). Each has its own personality and quirks, with the leading role taken by Donquita, a stubborn donkey who joins the group part-way through their incredible journey. A gripping tale of courage, curiosity and friendship, Unbranded is a Banff must-see.

2. Curiosity

‘Curiosity is a real bastard’. That’s the opening line of this 13 minute film from The North Face, following three athletes as they join 2300 other insane individuals taking on the Trail du Mont-Blanc. 100 miles long, the trail spans three countries, with an elevation gain of 9600 metres (that’s higher than Everest!) It’s one of the toughest in the world, with just 40% of competitors completing the race. Curiosity follows three ultra-running legends as they prepare: paediatric-nurse-come-super-woman Rory Bosio, a charismatic ball of energy who makes The Flash look lazy, family man Tim Olson, who takes an inspiring spiritual approach to the sport, and Hal Koerner, the ‘George Clooney-esque’ poster boy of the ultra-running world. Documenting their fears, doubts, trials and victories as they take on the ultimate challenge, Curiosity is truly exhilarating.

3. Denali

If you have ever had a dog, if you’ve ever met a dog, or if you have a pulse, you will be moved by Denali. The story of adventure photographer Ben Moon and his best friend Denali (part pit bull, part husky), the film is a beautiful tribute to the loyal companion who refused to leave Ben’s side through the most difficult times in his life.

Denali film - Banff Film Festival

The story, cleverly told from Denali’s point of view, explores how much we can learn from the dogs that we share our homes with, documenting the incredible bond that exists between man and his best friend. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and I guarantee that you will fall in love with Denali. One word of advice though – don’t forget your tissues.

4. Pretty Faces

Pretty Faces is a high-octane, fast-paced downhill adventure celebrating the community of female ski bums who spend their lives chasing that ‘dream line’.

Pretty Faces Ski Film - Banff Film Festival

With an all-woman, all-awesome cast, Pretty Faces is a refreshing change in a genre dominated by male athletes (the film’s director Lyndsey Dyer estimates that only 14% of athletes featured in ski films are women). From high level skiers like Rachael Burks, Elyse Saugstad and Ingrid Backstrom to the cutest four year old on skis you’ve ever seen, Pretty Faces redefines what it means to ski like a girl.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is touring the UK until May 2016. Find out more about the tour, or book your tickets, here.