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The Cape Union Mart’s Adventure Film Challenge 2013 winner will screen at The Banff Mountain Film Festival, which takes place at five Ster-Kinekor Cinemas around the country at the end of the week.
This is the first time the competition, aimed at encouraging local film-makers to capture South Africa’s outdoor adventure lifestyles, has been held.
Organisers received 25 entries “ranging from brilliant to unusual to quite interesting”, according to Nick Bennett, Cape Union Mart’s marketing manager.
The winning film is Path Into the Future, a short film about vulture conservationist Kerri Wolters, who paraglides alongside paraglider Walter Neser and endangered Cape vultures.
“This is about a purely South African problem, a conservation problem that’s endemic to here,” explained Bennett.
Banff has always acknowledged the lack of South African content in their line-up, so when they were approached for permission to augment the local leg of their film festival with a local film, they gave the okay as long as it was of a high quality.
“They’ve made it very clear that if the quality is not good enough, it can’t be screened, so we feel very honoured. They’re primarily outdoors men, and then they’re film-makers,” said Bennett.
Finding a film which highlights not only the great outdoors, but draws on an extreme sport and a conservation angle was fortuitous and he hopes that screening the film will encourage local film-makers to enter the second competition (entries close June 30 next year, check www.banff.co.za for details).
“If you look at the South African outdoor space, there are so many stories occurring, but those stories aren’t captured on screen. We want to expose South African audiences to the amazing things happening and create a culture of people creating film around these amazing things,” said Bennett.
The 11 short films which make up the Banff Mountain Film Festival were chosen from hundreds of entries received by the Banff Centre in Canada from mountain-based extreme sport and adventure film-makers across the globe and screen daily at 8.15pm for a week.
At a time when film festivals around South Africa are losing sponsorship quicker than they can pick it up, Bennett pointed out that Cape Union Mart continue to support this festival for the eighth year running because their products neatly encapsulate why people love spending time outdoors.
“So if you’re an extreme couch fan, there’s something that makes you want to spend more time outdoors,” which feeds into the whole point of this particular outdoor equipment store.
“It’s difficult to derive the direct benefit, because it’s difficult to track, but we have to believe it’s a powerful partnership.
“And the nice thing about Banff is there’s something for everyone.”
Two films which stand out for Bennett this year are Gimp Monkeys and Crossing the Ice.
The first one is about three disabled mountain climbers who do phenomenal things that put regular climbers to shame. The short film captures their attempt to ascend Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan.
The second one is about two friends who attempt to be the first people to walk to the South Pole and back again.
“It’s a huge journey and the 15- minute film that follows the journey they go through, from a mental and physical perspective, is mindblowing. It’s an emotional experience,” said Bennett.
Having attended the festi- val for several years in a row, Bennett points out that if they only screened films about extreme sports, their attendance would have waned over the years.
However, the reason the attendance grows year on year is because the films are about human stories, which happen to be couched within the vocabulary of extreme sports which push people to the limits of their physical and mental endurance.
• Cape Town: The Banff Mountain Film Festival at Ster-Kinekor Cavendish Square from Friday to November 1 and Ster-Kinekor Tygervalley Centre from Friday to Thursday, October 31.
• Joburg: The Banff Mountain Film Festival at Ster-Kinekor Sandton City from Friday to November 1.
• Pretoria: The Banff Mountain Film Festival at Ster-Kinekor Brooklyn Mall from Friday to Thursday, October 31.
• Durban: The Banff Mountain Film Festival at Ster-Kinekor Gateway on November 1.
The other films which screen are:
• 1st Afghan Ski Challenge: the first downhill racing competition in Afghanistan;
• Reel Rock 7: Wide Boyz: veteran climber Mark Synnott brings young climbing stars Alex Honnold and James Pearson to the Ennedi, Chad, to explore its untouched landscapes;
• The Rollerman: rolling daredevil Jean-Yves Blondeau flies down mountain roads wearing a futuristic body suit covered with wheels;
• Being There: a gang of fun-loving free skiers take their sport slope-side and high into the stratosphere with their spectacular athleticism and determination;
• Wingsuit Downhill Target Punch: flying his wingsuit towards a special slalom gate, Alexander Polli literally breaks through the barriers of what is possible in human flight;
• Wanna Ride?: join speed-riders Maxence Cavalade and François Bon as they perform an aerial duet in the French Alps.
• For more information, visit www.banff.co.za