Banff Mountain Film Festival 2021 Award-Winning Films Announced

Banff Mountain Film Festival has just announced the 10 winners for this year’s event. The unique selection covers everything from thrilling polar expeditions to empathy across cultural divides. Here are the award-winners for 2021.

Banff Mountain Film Festival 2021 Best Film: The Rescue

Winner of the Banff Film Festival 2021: The Rescue

Directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, The Rescue recounts the harrowing mission to save a Thai soccer team after monsoon flooding trapped them inside a cave for 16 days.

Watch the trailer for The Rescue.

Feature Film: Torn

Banff Film Festival 2021 Best Feature Film: Torn

Directed by Max Lowe, Torn is the heartbreaking account of the loss of Alex Lowe in 1999 to an avalanche on Shishapangma and its impact on the lives of his wife, small boys, and best friend, Conrad Anker. Notably, Alex’s eldest son, Max, is the filmmaker behind Torn.

Mountain Sports: The River Runner

banff film festival 2021 award winner: The River Runner

The River Runner, directed by Rush Sturges, documents iconic expedition kayaker Scott Lindgren’s 20-year commitment to paddle the four great rivers of Tibet’s Mount Kailash while battling a brain tumor and his own anger. Not only that — Lindgren’s trying to be the first person to run all four rivers.

Watch the trailer for The River Runner.

Exploration & Adventure: Exit the North Pole

Banff Film Festival 2021 award winner Exit the North Pole

Director Ole-André Lagmandokk follows the 3,000km polar expedition by eminent polar explorers Borge Ousland and Mike Horn in 2019. The pair sailed from Nome, Alaska across the Arctic Ocean till the pack ice stopped them. Then they skied the rest of the way, to the northern outlands of Norway. In the dark. Unsupported. We slated it as ExWeb’s top expedition of 2019.

Stream Exit the North Pole on Vimeo.

Climbing: They/Them

Climbing movie They/Them

Lor Sabourin is an adept, young, and remarkably accomplished climbing guide in Arizona. And they are trans. The documentary focuses on Lor’s relationship with themself as they pour themselves into a climbing route at their upper limit.

According to Banff Mountain Film Festival jury member Paul Pritchard,  They/Them is a “timely film [that] forces us to recognize gender diversity and the importance of being an ally in the climbing community.”

Watch the trailer for They/Them.

Mountain Culture: Horse Tamer

banff film festival award winner Horse Tamer. Still: Good People Productions

Photo: Good People Productions

Directed by Hamid Sardar, Horse Tamer accents the relationship between humans and their horses. The fictitious storyline plays out in the Central Asian grasslands, and baltic fringes of Siberia as nomadic communities fight to keep their horses stolen and sold to Russian slaughterhouses.

Watch the trailer for Horse Tamer.

Snow Sports: Learning to Drown

banff film festival award winner Learning to Drown

Directed by Ben Knight, Learning to Drown charts iconic female snowboarder Jess Kimura as she grapples with the tragic loss of her partner.

Watch the trailer for Learning to Drown.

Mountain Environment & Natural History: Tigre Gente

Tigre Gente film at Banff

Directed by Elizabeth Unger, Tigre Gente is a fictitious script that employees human empathy for other living creatures and encourages communication in the face of cultural differences. cultural divides. “With Unger’s clear direction, she masterfully drives the audience to experience the clash between environmental sustainability and centuries-old beliefs and customs,” reported jury member Suza Beraza.

Short Film: From My Window

banff film award for From My Window

Directed by Frank Pickell, From My Window is a 19-minute look into an ambitious young girl with cerebral palsy and a view of Colorado’s highest mountains.

Watch the trailer for From My Window  

Creative Excellence Award: Magnitude of All Things

banff film award for creative excellence

Directed by Jennifer Abbott, The Magnitude of All Things explores the many implications of climate change upon the human psyche. One Banff jury member describes the film as an “extraordinary approach to the Earth and human grief.”

Watch the trailer for The Magnitude of All Things.