Big year in store for seventh annual Banff Mountain Film Festival

The new location of the Pablo Center at the Confluence will help with previously endured space problems

More stories from Stephanie Janssen

Banff Mountain Film Festival poster from Pablo Center at the Confluence website.

Photo by Submitted

Banff Mountain Film Festival poster from Pablo Center at the Confluence website.

Most people won’t watch firsthand as someone careens through caves, brings back a beaver population or goes through a winter migration — but the Banff Mountain Film Festival makes it possible to see these great feats.

This year, the Banff Mountain Film Festival will take place Dec. 3 and 4 at a new location — the Pablo Center at the Confluence.

Harry Jol, a geography professor at UW-Eau Claire, said he helped co-organize the festival with the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Student Office of Sustainability. Jol said the films are chosen by a judges panel through the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity international film festival.

“Those (selected) films afterwards go on tour,” Jol said. “…These are internationally recognized films that have been recognized by Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and we are getting the best of the best here in Eau Claire.”

This film festival will feature many short films that tell the stories of various individuals battling relentlessly rugged terrains. Each film will also include beautiful scenes of nature, Jol said.

“…We live in a world and a lot of people are inside and are on their cellphones all day, and as we have major changes in our world, people need to get outside,” Jol said. “This film festival helps people realize that we need to get outside more.”

One film being shown at the festival is “Liv Along The Way,” a story detailing world champion rock climber Liv Sansoz’s journey after she summited Mont Blanc in Europe. However, she faces a new challenge: climbing all 82 of the 4,000-meter peaks in the European Alps in a year.

There’s also “How to Run 100 Miles,” a story about Jayson Sime, who dealt with poverty, homelessness, dyslexia and bullying. Now, he’s entered his first 100-mile mountain ultramarathon.

Caleb Carr, the event and marketing intern for Student Office of Sustainability, said people attending the film festival should expect adventurous films.

“We’ve got skiing and snowboarding and mountain climbing and all of these things,” Carr said. “So what you can expect is for your adrenaline levels to run high. So, after the festival you’ll probably want to jump into a kayak and paddle all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.”

The move from the usual location of Woodland Theater in Davies Student Center to the Pablo Center at the Confluence for this year’s film festival adds a new layer of anticipation, Austin Northagen, student director of SOS, said. In years past, the event has completely sold out. The new location subsides any stresses about space.

“This is the first year that we won’t have to worry about filling up because there’s so much room at the Pablo,” Northagen said.

For the sixth year in a row, SOS has subsidized student tickets for the film festival, allowing students to purchase tickets at a lower fee of $4.25 instead of $19.

Because of the new off-campus location, Carr said there will be a shuttle that can take students to the Pablo Center from the Davies Center for the festival.

Janssen can be reached at [email protected].