12th Banff film fest in Juneau celebrates mountain culture

Tibetan children's trek to Nepal among this year's selections

Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2003

Even without snow, mountains inspire and motivate people the world over. In Juneau, the mountains inspire paintings, poetry, contemplation and adventure. In Banff, Canada, they inspire movies.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will stop in Juneau for the 12th year in a row this weekend with a three-hour celebration of mountain culture and outdoor adventures in film.

"I always look forward to it every year because it just brings forth the best in mountain sports and mountain adventure," said Tish Griffin Satre, director of student activities at the University of Alaska Southeast. UAS student activities organized the festival's stop in Juneau and will benefit from the proceeds.

The Banff Centre in Alberta began the Banff Mountain Film Festival 27 years ago as a way of promoting understanding and appreciation of the world's mountainous places. Mountainous Juneau seemed a natural stop on the festival's world tour, Griffin Satre said.

More than 250 films from 29 countries were entered in the most recent festival, which took place in November. A committee in Banff chose 40 films to be featured at the festival, and awards were given in eight categories such as mountain culture, mountain environment, mountain sports and people's choice.

The films to be shown Saturday were chosen by Griffin Satre and a group of students at UAS.

"We usually go for high adrenaline," Satre said. The group chose the films with the help of festival staff, who provide information on what films are best received on other stops on the tour.

This year the festival will include "Escape Over the Himalayas," a documentary about Tibetan children who make a mountain trek to attain an education in Nepal or India. The film won a special jury mention at the festival.

Other films include extreme skiing and snowboarding, ice climbing, unicycling, rafting and one film called "Urban Ape," in which a Colorado climber turns downtown Denver into his own climbing playground.

Director Peter Mortimer created the film to show climbers who "love climbing so much and have their own uncanned vision of it what it means to them," he said.

The festival is immensely popular in Juneau, Griffin Satre said, and most years the showing is filled to capacity. Doors open at Centennial Hall at 6 p.m. Saturday and the show starts at 7. Admission is $8 for UAS students and $12 for everybody else.

Christine Schmid can be reached at cschmid@juneauempire.com.

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