Everyday Activist - Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2018/19: Red Program Part 2

Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2018/19: Red Program Part 2

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Even with all the dates the Calgary shows have, the screenings usually sell out, so I don’t feel too bad providing the links to the shorter films available online. Surprisingly, even the short film winners didn’t make it on to the World Tour this year. I’ve added a couple short films that were at the festival, but not on either program.

Far Out Kai Jones

His uncle is snowboarder Jeremy Jones and his dad Todd Jones along with his other uncle Steve Jones started the film company Teton Gravity Research back in 1995, which has won numerous awards over the years. The ski footage was what we have all come to expect from TGR, athletes skiing incredible lines, but Kai’s calm personality takes the documentary to the next level. Not only does he excel at snowsports, he has good grades, rock climbs, runs, hikes and serves on student council. I was seriously impressed at how articulate he was.

Having other skills and interests builds resilience as mountain sports have inherent risks involved. Luckily, the adults in his life take safety seriously making sure Kai has taken backcountry avalanche classes along with learning from some of the best in the business. From all accounts he’s definitely willing to learn and ask questions as well as train in the off season. Most adults don’t have this kind of dedication, so it’s wonderful to see a child’s desires and energies properly supported as he achieves his dreams.

RJ Ripper

From the fully supported and privileged child living in the United States, we travel to the other side of the world where a poor young man, Rajesh Magar in Nepal, struggled in school, yet excelled at cycling. Neither of his parents supported nor understood his ambition, which must have been difficult for Rajesh. Most parents, especially if they couldn’t get an education, understand academics as a way to get ahead rather than sports. Thinking cycling was an unnecessary distraction, his mother sold his first beloved bike for scrap. Rajesh’s love of the sport had him making his own bike that thankfully didn’t fall apart, while riding, some rough terrain, garnering him a job leading bike tours with H and I adventures.

Director Joey Schusler has been on the Banff World Tour Before with 55 hours in Mexico. His latest film, RJ Ripper contextually showcases RJ’s riding skills within his community. The imagery makes you feel like you have been Nepal. Adding the archival footage provided a more well rounded view of RJ. We could witness his humble beginnings. The interviews with RJ’s mother feel natural, which impressed me, because good interviews require trust and generally speaking locals are suspicious of foreigners. Also, her honesty on film tugged at my heart. Most people from that particular culture like to ride the bandwagon so to speak, but she openly admits her mistakes. Despite rough beginnings between his family and mountain biking, Rajesh uses the money he makes cycling to support his family, never forgetting his roots despite his escalating fame.


On the tour the film is called Choices, but the link says “What it Takes”, frames a story of a father balancing responsibilities of parenthood along with mountain biking. I liked the way the director integrated home life with adventure by having the father look at a trail map that he had posted at home, revisits in his imagination what those trails have to offer before making his choice. The cinematography of the featured trails make them look straight from a commercial. I’m not sure how they were filmed, but the use of bigger, professional cameras wouldn’t surprise me. 

The 2019 Red program can be seen at the University of Calgary on January 15, 17, 20 (matinee), 22, 24, 26, 27.

For more mountain film, Free Solo is still playing at Canyon Meadows and This Mountain Life is playing at the Globe. Check calgary movies for times. On January 27th, the full version of The Moment will be at the Plaza, though the online rental rate is only $5.99 CAD.

Everyday Activist Film Review (CalgaryMovies.com): Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2018/19: Red Program Part 1 > | Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2018/19: Blue Program >

Calgary Local Scene:  Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2018/19 #1 > | Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2018/19 #2 >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.