EACH YEAR, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada, holds one of the world’s premier film fests: The Banff Mountain Film Festival.
Then they take the show on the road.
With stops in over 500 communities and over 40 countries, this weekend the Banff Mountain Film Fest World Tour makes its regular visit to Savannah.
For well over a decade, the main sponsor of our regional edition of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour has been Half-Moon Outfitters, a Charleston S.C.-based regional chain with a store on Broughton Street in Savannah.
Just down the street from Half-Moon is where the Festival is held here each year, at the historic Lucas Theatre.
Katherine P. Smith works in the Charleston location of Half-Moon and is tasked with organizing this leg of the Banff Mountain Film Fest World Tour.
“We like to be a part of each community we have a store in, and we want to give back to those communities,” Smith says.
“It’s a really fun evening for anybody who feels inspired by the outdoors and the outdoors lifestyle. It’s not just a bunch of extreme sports, though there’s a little of that. These are inspiring adventure films that are great for students or for your 85-year-old neighbor,” she says.
“Sometimes the best way to impart some environmental protection education is to inspire people to do more things outside.”
While the World Tour must conform to the Banff Centre’s strict quality guidelines, regional festival organizers have some latitude.
“There are hundreds of entries, and then Banff sends a number of films out on the road. We’re allowed to curate the list down further to be appropriate for the individual region,” Smith says.
“For example, in Canada they really love their ski films, but we only show a couple here in the South. We could easily do several nights of nothing but ski films if we wanted,” she says.
“In the Southeast, we feature anything to do with this area of course, but also with surfing, with paddling, and with kayaking.”
Whatever the film, the focus is on the accessibility of nature all around us.
“These don’t have to be epic, death-defying challenges. I’ve always found that the best films are about everyday people,” Smith says.
Because of the very high level of cinematography in the films on tour, the Banff Centre has stringent requirements as to what kinds of projection equipment can be used at World Tour venues.
Depending on the location, sometimes the Banff Mountain Film Fest World Tour has to rent equipment.
Luckily, Smith says, the Lucas Theatre is already good to go and no new equipment is needed.
“The Lucas Theatre has always been fabulous for us,” Smith says. “They are one of our favorite venues. The facility and the staff are always so helpful.”
Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour