Monday, December 07, 2009

The long awaited BMFF film list for Huntsville

Editor's note: If you looked at this post prior to Dec. 7, the order would have been slightly different. My gurus suggested a little schedule tweaking to improve the timing, so we moved two short films around. "Mont Blanc Speed Flying" is now on Jan. 19 and "Ultimate Skiing Showdown" is on Jan. 20. Sorry for any confusion. All the biggies are on the same nights as originally planned.

At long last, the gurus in Banff and I have collaborated to come up with this program. Audience reaction to all these films has been very favourable at other showings, so I feel we have a great lineup. Tuesday night has a total of two hours and 10 minutes of films and Wednesday is a bit longer, at two hours and 14 minutes. There will be an intermission! Unlike previous years, I have not consciously tried to pick a theme for each night. There may be one but we will have to wait till movie night and see what develops.

Go to both shows and save! Remember, if you go to both sows and save your ticket stubs, you can receive a one-time discount of 15 % on any regularly priced item at Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville or Oxtongue Lake.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010. Showtime: 7:30 PM.
Get tickets by clicking here.

Mont Blanc Speed Flying
Banff Mountain Film Festival Award - Best Short Mountain Film, sponsored by Mountain Hardwear

Six speed riders fly from the upper slopes of Mont Blanc down to Chamonix in one continuous 10-minute shot, filmed in Cineflex.

Filmed in the Mont Blanc range, this short features six different mountain sports: climbing, skiing, snowboarding, speed riding, paragliding and BASE jumping. A photographer wants to take one shot showing all the sports, instead of taking separate photos of each sport. It takes a lot of work!

Finding Farley
Banff Mountain Film Festival Award - Grand Prize, sponsored by Mountain Equipment Co-op
Banff Mountain Film Festival Award - People’s Choice, sponsored by Timex

"Stories aren't so much written or created as they are released, expressing what's been there all along." When filmmakers Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison, along with their two-year-old son Zev and indomitable dog Willow, set out to retrace the literary footsteps of Farley Mowat, they meant it literally. Their 5000-kilometre trip -- trekking, sailing, portaging and paddling from the Prairies to the Maritimes -- is captured in this film. The family's arrival at their final destination (Mowat's Nova Scotian summer home) is, as Karsten says, "an affirmation of what the land and animals had already told us."

From the film 'Finding Farley', Photo by Karsten Heuer

Signatures: Canvas of Snow
Gorgeous cinematography, a laid-back roots music soundtrack, and a sincere exploration of Japanese ski culture renders this sweet shredding flick palatable to those tired of the typical ski movie. In Japan there is a cultural connection to the different signatures of terrestrial home - a sense that the rhythm of fall, winter, spring and summer influences the rhythm of the person, their energy, their riding style and the lines they choose. This special edit of the feature-length film features skiers, snowboarders, a photographer and a noboarder who are each in tune with this connection to winter and the environment they ride in.

Revolution One
Loyal BMFF viewers will remember the mind-boggling feats of unicyclist Kris Holm from previous films. Revolution One follows world champion unicyclists Kris Holm and Dan Heaton as they perform on one wheel what most wouldn’t dare to attempt on two. Bouncing and sliding over rocks, logs, and rails, these daredevils showcase the emerging sport of off-road unicycling.

From the film 'Revolution One'

Pick-up Sticks
Take an aerial plunge off the edge of an Arctic coastal headland into the abyss of a seabird colony to find out how marine environmental change is affecting the delicate balance of life for a hardy creature of the northern seas. A visual and metaphorical cliffhanger for our times!

Will Gadd rides again! What happens if you show up to climb one of the biggest frozen waterfalls in Canada but it isn't completely frozen? In Hunlen, Canadian boys Will Gadd and EJ Plimley kid their way through a nail-biting first ascent of B.C.'s remote Hunlen Falls. The climbing is technical—all 1,000 feet of it—but it’s the giant slabs of ice breaking free beside the route that makes the climbers nervous.

From the film 'Hunlen'

Project Megawoosh
Banff Mountain Film Festival Award - Special Jury Mention

Bruno Kammerl, a German engineer, works to perfect the world's tallest human water slide.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010. Showtime: 7:30 PM.
Get tickets by clicking here.

Ultimate Skiing Showdown
The final sprint showdown between the fastest skiers on Earth in juxtaposition with a stunt performer showing some of the sickest moves on Nordic skis. This film puts the ‘X’ in x-country skiing.

From the film 'Ultimate Skiing Showdown'

Kranked - Revolve
Banff Mountain Film Festival Award - People’s Choice Award on Radical Reels Night
The coolest human-powered adrenaline tool ever invented -- the mountain bike? "Revolve" blasts in cinematic glory from the French Alps to the lush coast of B.C., incorporating dirt jump, trail, freeride, slopestyle and downhill.

Africa Revolutions
To make the Africa Revolutions Tour, six professional paddlers teamed up with a woman on a mission to bring solar ovens to orphanages, hospitals and communities across Africa. From the crocodile-infested White Nile in Uganda to big-water first descents in Madagascar, a group of friends seek adventure on African rivers. Accompanying the team is Rita Riewerts, the founder of the Sun Catchers Project, a non-profit that installs solar cooking facilities in orphanages, hospitals and communities.

From the film 'Africa Revolutions Tour' by Pat Camblin

Deep / Shinsetsu
"Shinsetsu" means deep powder in Japanese. This short film expresses a typical day in the mountains in Japan.

From the film 'Deep/Shinsetsu', Daisuke Sasaki in Hokkaido, Japan, Photo by Hiroshi Suganuma

Take a Seat
Banff Mountain Film Festival Award - Special Jury Mention
Dominic Gill’s mission is to cycle the 32,000 kilometres from the northern coast of Alaska to the southern tip of South America, on a tandem bike, picking up random strangers on the way. A gripping tale of two years and two continents, full of extraordinary characters and incidents.

From the film 'Take a Seat'

Shining Spirit
Filmed in Canada, India and Tibet, Shining Spirit documents a recording project that brings together the family of Jamyang Yeshi through music and multi-track recording technology. With the help of Western friends, Jamyang, in exile in Canada, and his brother Tsundue, in exile in the U.S., join voices with the family they left behind in Tibet. For the first time in over a decade, they sing together once again. The film is a testament to the power of music, the resilience of the Tibetan culture, and the enduring bond of a family separated by politics and geography.

First Ascent: Alone on the Wall
After gaining international climbing renown for his landmark free-solo of "Moonlight Buttress" (V, 5.12+, 9 pitches) in Zion National Park, Utah, in April 2008, 24-year-old Alex Honnold moves on to his next big challenge: the first free-solo of the "Regular Northwest Face" route (VI, 5.12a, 23 pitches) on Yosemite’s Half Dome.

From the film 'First Ascent: Alone on the Wall'

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The "best of" canoe trip stories 2005 - 2009

Can you believe it, this blog is almost five years old!

I was prompted to review old posts today when I had a request for some canoe trip stories from a British journalist. I made a list of links to send her and was astonished at the amount of stuff I have collected over the last few years. It was also an interesting review of the evolution of this blog. In the early days, when I was still using dial-up (and really SLOW dial-up it was), blogging was really time-consuming and posting pictures was out of the question. Now that I have reasonable high-speed via satellite, I can post pictures, embed videos and all kinds of exotic things. Yes, even though your Crackberry will work in the store, we still do not have DSL or cable out here in Oxtongue Lake.

You'll notice that unlike my colleague Randy Mitson, I have not changed the format of the blog at all or added a lot of gadgets and graphics. Randy's "AO retail and events blog" is more promotional and marketing oriented, so needs snazzy graphics and gizmos, while I see this blog as more of a story-telling and newsletter kind of thing. Plus, Randy is more inclined that way and I am more inclined to keep it simple and word-oriented. Yes, I am still "blogging it old-school in 2009."

It occurred to me that maybe some of my loyal blog readers might like a little review and blast from the past, so here it is, Gordon Baker's pick of the "best of" canoe trip stories from the last few years. Happy reading!

• A nice couple from Manchester make a video of their canoe trip

• The same nice couple from Manchester go on a 17 day canoe trip and send some pics and a story

• A different take on a tragic day

• Some of our staff take a holiday

• Pictures and story of a challenging trip on the Petawawa River

• A British military expedition in Algonquin, with a link to a great UK canoe blog

• Random photos highlighting some special customers and what we do

• German journalist goes on a canoe trip, with a link to her article with nice pics

• A family from the UK reports on their interesting guided trip

• A reminder that Mother Nature is very powerful

• Photos and paintings by an artist that loves Algonquin Park and Algonquin Outfitters

• More photos and paintings by an artist that loves Algonquin Park and Algonquin Outfitters

• A great story of humourous misadventure, see links to parts two and three included

• The grim reality of early June

• Memorial to a memorable client from the UK and a link to some of his great photos

• A fantastic essay from one of our guides about why people need to go on canoe trips

• People seem to like us

• The dark side of nature and some thoughts on evolution

• Another family from the UK writes about their adventure

• A very challenging canoe trip we dreamed up, links included to parts 2, 3, 4 and the map

• My own report about a trip to Lake Superior