A large crowd gathered this evening at the Lincoln Center Auditorium in Billings to enjoy The Banff Mountain Film Festival. This was the 17th year in a row that The Banff Centre’s world film tour stopped in Billings. The action-packed films, ranging in topic from incredible mountain biking stunts to the amazing account of the first free-solo climb up Half Dome in Yosemite, captivated the audience.
My favorite film was the inspirational and humorous story of Dominic Gill’s mission to travel on a tandem bike from the northern coast of Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina in Take a Seat. This was the longest film shown (46 minutes) at the Billings tour stop. The chronicle of 24-year-old Alex Honnold’s rise to legendary status as a free-solo climber and his journey to conquer Half Dome in First Ascent: Alone on the Wall was also a favorite. I learned that speed riding is not simply skiing at a fast rate down a mountain as I mistakenly assumed in an earlier article on the film festival. When the film description mentioned flying down the mountain, they meant it, literally. Speed riding is a sport that combines skiing and paragliding. In Mont-Blanc Speed Flying, six speed riders gracefully paraglide down the breathtaking slopes of Mont Blanc.
The film festival, hosted by The Base Camp, was expected to run from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm. With a slightly late start and a long intermission with prize drawings, the event ended up lasting until nearly 10:00 pm. Still, it was definitely worth attending and I look forward to seeing what the festival will have to offer next year.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival makes its final stop of the 2009-2010 world tour at the Middle School Auditorium in Helena this Friday, May 7th. The event is set to start at 7:00 pm and run until 9:00 pm. However, based on the experience in Billings, it will likely last until closer to 10:00 pm. Tickets for adults are $8.50 in advance or $10.00 at the door.