On April Monday 11, Kalamazoo College Outing Club sent a van full of interested students to Grand Rapids for the Banff Film Festival hosted by Calvin College. The annual festival kicks off in the town of Banff in Alberta, Canada and goes on a world tour showcasing films about outdoor adventure and environmental conservation.
According to Jory Horner, Director of Outdoor Programs at K, “people will submit their films to the Banff film festival to be selected.”
He added that since the various hosts for the world tour also have a say in which films are shown at their events, one might see different films at different host venues.
Not just for the outdoor enthusiasts, the films selected vary in length from nine minutes to hour-long documentaries that range in subject matter from individual stories about adventure to those containing messages of conservation and awareness.
“It’s inspirational to see these films because a lot of the stuff you see in these films are way above the skill level of what most of us are doing but part of it is seeing what else is out there,” Horner said.
“Salween Spring” is a nine-minute long documentary that follows adventurer and river runner, Travis Winn, who has founded a kayaking company and whose mission is to bring the young population in China to their rivers in order to urge conservation efforts through their encounters with the natural environment.
Other films follow individuals in their quest for adventure and conquer the next obstacle they set out for themselves. In “Reel Rock 10: A Line Across the Sky,” climbers Tommy Caldweld and Alex Honnold document their five-day long ascent across the Fitz Roy massif, a seven-summit climb in Patagonia. They were the first ones to do it.
According to Josh Cho K’17, who has had his share of outdoor activities from being a LandSea leader to an executive board member of the Outdoor Club, “the film festival was a phenomenal experience.”
He cited his favourite film as “A Line Across the Sky” and said “these two stepped so far out of their comfort zones and risked their lives to complete such an epic trip. It makes me realize that no pain, exhaustion, inconvenience can prevent me from doing something that makes me happy.”