Death-defying rock climbs, back flips in kayaks, ice climbing on glaciers, tracking man-eating tigers, and… sitting safely in Campbell Hall? While this may seem like one of Sesame Street’s “which one of these does not belong” games, in fact, it’s what happened last year when the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour came to UCSB. Luckily for the unfortunate few who missed the chance to check it out, the Banff Mountain Film Festival will stop at Campbell again, on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
But, while it may seem as though there is plenty of time to pick up a few of the fest’s $10 tickets, when it comes to making sure you get a seat at the screenings, timing is everything. Last year, tickets sold out well before the big screen started lighting up, and this year promises to be just as packed. Fortunately, tickets are available in advance from the Arts & Lectures box office – located on the east side of the parking lot next to Campbell Hall.
That $10 buys you admission to an action-packed program of highlights from the actual Banff Mountain Film Festival – held every year in Alberta, Canada. The festival showcases films about all things adrenaline-fueled, including rock climbing, mountain expeditions, extreme winter sports, environmental preservation and even exploring remote and undiscovered stretches of wilderness and the cultures that inhabit them.
Each night the films are different, yet every film has been hand picked, from the 296 entries from over 32 countries, to be featured in this tour. So whether you decide to go to one or both nights, the presentation should be excellent. Each night’s event lasts a couple hours and has an intermission which divides each of the two nights into the short film first half and the full length second half feature. The short films, which make up the first half, range from a few minutes to as long as 20.
The films that make it into the traveling festival are the centerpiece of the Alberta program and range in length from a few minutes to full-length features. Last year featured a wide variety of films that were all thoroughly entertaining and whose subject matter managed to be eclectic in the same environmental, outdoor and adventurous vein. Some of the highlights were a still shot animation Lego movie done by a nine-year-old and an hour and a half piece about a man who works for the Russian government hunting down man-eating tigers. The feature film about man-eating tigers was captivating, and did an excellent job of addressing the problem of these complicated creatures from many angles, including that of the tigers, the poachers, villagers who were victimized by the tiger in question and the man who has the dangerous job of tracking the tiger to kill it. The film was exciting, but it also managed to present its content in a very humanitarian way.
This year, the films range from nature documentaries to odes to extreme sports and the people who participate in them. On Feb. 26, the program includes “Trial & Error,” about a cyclist taking on some of the world’s most difficult terrain, “20 Seconds of Joy,” about base jumping and “Badgered,” about a badger who just wants to be left alone so he can sleep. On Wednesday night, check out “Ain’t Got No Friends on a Powder Day,” about two men whose approaches to getting down a mountain couldn’t be more different, “Aerialist” about a man whose only wish is to figure out how to fly and “In-Flux,” a French film about kayaking. A full schedule of the films to be screened, and more information about tickets and times, is available at www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.