Banff Film Festival: 4 Years & Climbing

Banff Film Festival: 4 Years & Climbing

By Terrah Baker

For the past four years, new images of adventure, culture and nature have been brought to Fayetteville in the form of award-winning films. The films highlight the beauty of history, locations around the world, the bravery of men and women setting out on often dangerous adventures and allow a little bit of all of these experiences to seep into our local world-understanding.

Fayetteville is one of 390 communities in 35 countries that will host the event sponsored by huge names in exploration like National Geographic and The North Face. The energy that’s already in Northwest Arkansas is one reason the world tour of Banff Mountain Film Festival keeps coming back to Fayetteville, said Mass Media Coordinator Savanna Smith.

“The people who host it, they love this area, the culture of this area and the dynamic, so they keep asking to come back,” she said.

Banff was originally brought to Fayetteville after several leaders and members of The Community — a Christian organization founded in Fayetteville — traveled to South Dakota to attend the festival. They fell in love with it, Smith said.

“It was something different that had never been shown in this area. So, they met with representatives to see if they’d be interested in coming to Fayetteville.”

After researching the area, the representatives of Banff agreed, and the first local showing was held in 2009 where close to 200 people attended. Last year there were almost 300 attendees, and tickets were sold out early.

What keeps bringing people back to the festival is the chance to experience cultures and places outside of their own — one of the important lessons in The Community doctrine.

“One of the biggest reasons we like hosting is being able to experience a global dynamic, and a connection to different cultures and different activities that we wouldn’t get to experience otherwise,” Smith explained.

Films shown this year have titles such as “On the Trails of Genghis Khan: The Last Frontier,” which tracks one man and a band of horses on a 10,000 km trek following the footsteps of nomadic warrior Genghis Khan, and “C.A.R.C.A,” which is described as one man’s quest to revolutionize the world of animal avalanche rescue, and is illustrated by a photo of a man holding a cat in a rescue vest on top of a snow-covered mountain.

All seven films to be shown are the best of hundreds submitted from around the world, and selected by a group of professionals in the film industry who meet at the original location of Banff in Alberta, Canada.

The festival will take place on Sept. 14 at the University of Arkansas starting at 6:30 p.m.  It begins with showings of short clips and films for an hour and a half. In between each film, a host will share unique facts and information about the film. During intermission, local organizations will set up booths, while hosts will give away door prizes from local sponsors. The festival finishes up with a longer, one-hour film and then a set of film showings, with people being allowed to engage after each film.

In addition to the big-name sponsors, the festival is supported worldwide by groups like Parks Canada, Deuter, Outdoor Research, PrimaLoft, Central Asia Institute, Tom’s of Maine and Therm-a-Rest.

This year’s proceeds from the event will go to benefit Prism Education Center of Fayetteville, and is locally sponsored by the Bank of Fayetteville, Arsaga’s, Pack Rat, Adventure Subaru, Ozarks Outdoors, Susan Clemens, Ph.d. Clinical Psychologist, Highroller Cyclery, Inc., University Recreation, executive sponsor film company 36/94 and KUAF 91.3 FM who will cover the event.

For more information, and to buy tickets, visit

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