By Han Sang-hee
The prominent Banff Mountain Film Festival has finally reached Seoul.
Located in Alberta, Canada, Banff is a small city surrounded by lakes, forests and mountains. Every year, the city holds a mountain festival and various programs, notably, the "Banff Mountain Film Festival".
The annual event started in 1976 and continues to this day every November. More than 300 works of mountain climbing, expeditions and wildlife created by film directors, mountain climbers and extreme athletes enter the competition.
When winners are announced, they go on world tours, visiting more than 30 countries. This is the first tour in Korea, and the visits will take place annually every April.
Unlike other blockbuster mountain films like "Cliffhanger" (1993) and "Vertical Limit" (2000), the 10 films showing Seoul are more like documentaries with messages about mountains, extreme climbing and the overall environment.
"King Lines" was filmed in France, California, Venezuela, and Greece and captures the climbing of Chris Sharma, a professional mountain climber. The film shares the meaning of mountain climbing, through success and failure. The film was the winner of the Alpine Club of Canada Award for Best Film on Climbing at the festival last year.
"King Lines: Es Pontas" is the 13-minute edited version of the original "King Lines". The short film captures the struggles of mountain climber Chris Sharma while he mounts "Es Pontas", a 65-foot arch-shaped rock islet off the coast of Mallorca, Spain. Both films are directed and produced by Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer of the United States.
"Entropy" is about "snow-kiting", an extreme sport that involves riding a snowboard attached to a paraglider over snow-covered mountains and hills. With its fast-paced images, the movie feels like a music video rather than a documentary film. Directed and produced by Morten Gjerstad of Norway, the film runs 11 minutes.
"Trial and Error", an eight-minute-long film, carries an environmental message. Through the thrilling moves of mountain biker Ryan Leech along the coastal mountains of British Columbia, the film depicts the importance of preserving natural forests. Directed by Bjorn Enga from Canada, the film won the People's Choice Award for Radical Reels at the film festival last year.
"La Ventana" shows the dangerous yet breathtaking sights of Patagonia, the border region of Chile and Argentina. A Venezuelan expedition team faces the chilly peaks of Cerro Torre and Saint Exupery, one of the two most dangerous mountains in the region. Federico Pisani of Venezuela directed the 21-minute film.
"Badgered", which was chosen as the Best Film on Mountains' Environments, is a seven-minute animated film directed by Sharon Colman, from Britain. The only animation film at last year's festival, it shows a badger who wishes to live in peace, but is disturbed by a nuclear plant built right under its cave. The badger, curious of the strange environment below, wanders around and accidentally presses a red button.
"Balance" is a film for ski-lovers. Directed and produced by English director Paul Cotton, it offers viewers the excitement and thrills of extreme skiing for 11 minutes against the backdrop of the Canadian Rockies.
"The Endless Knot" depicts friendship, love and guilt. While climbing the Himalayas, best friends Alex and Conrad are caught in a snowstorm. Alex is killed but Conrad survives. Full of survivor guilt, Conrad decides to build a safety facility for Sherpas with Alex's wife. Running 52 minutes, the film is directed by American director Michael Brown.
Experience the world of kayaking with "In Flux". Directed by David Arnoud, from France, this 17-minute film shows viewers the exciting experience of kayaking along the streams and canyons of Italy, Canada, and Norway.
"Aerialist" shows the BASE (Building, Antenna, Span and Earth) jumping of Dean Potter, an American free climber and BASE jumper. Potter climbs cliffs and mountains and jumps off without giving viewers time catch their breath. Directed by Brad Lynch and Jim Hurst from the United States, the film runs 17 minutes.
Tickets cost 3,000 won and the films will be playing in CGV theaters located at Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju and Daejeon through April 30. For more information or schedules, call (02) 724-2000