Everyday Activist - 2017 Banff World Tour Short Film Selections - PART 1

Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2017 at 11:00 AM

"When We Were Knights"

2017 Banff World Tour Short Film Selections - PART 1

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Not being able to do much this winter, gives me a lot of time to write. I have divided the short films from Banff Mountain Film Festival 2016 into different categories. When I started writing, the world tour films hadn’t been announced for Calgary yet, so I just grabbed the tour list off the Banff Mountain Film Festival website and started reviewing the films that I had seen. Then I looked up the ones that I could find online, which were quite a few. Here are the first three, none of these will be shown in Calgary for the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2016/17 #1 & #2, but all these great films are available online, with the links embedded below.

When We Were Knights

The short film, When We Were Knights, talks about love and loss in arguably one of the most dangerous of mountain sports, BASE (Building Antenna Span Earth) Jumping. Because it is such a high risk sport, claiming the life of Dean Potter and Graham Hunt in May of 2015, Matt Blank wrote letters to all the people near and dear him so in case something terrible happened, they would know how much they meant to him. One of the recipients, his best friend, Ian Flanders, died before him in a tragic accident in Turkey in July of 2015. His foot caught in his parachute after doing a back flip off of a chair suspended over river. Matt was with him on this adventure and rushed to him, but he was too late. 

Ansol Fogel of Camp 4 Collective takes the footage of Matt and Ian’s many adventures, splices it together with interviews and has Matt reading his letter that was meant for Ian. It’s a pretty powerful twelve minutes of film, because it’s not about the usual debate back and forth about the dangers of sport or the legality of it, but a memorial to a person who committed himself to it by someone who understood better than anyone what could happen. Fogel handles the elegiac subject matter with grace and kindness, not only for Matt but for the sport of BASE jumping that claims so many lives.

Packing it Out

I seriously wish this film was turned into a public service announcement for the Eric Harvey Theatre at the Banff Centre. Every single shift in the theatre, people leave their garbage behind. Why yes I’m one of the volunteers who gets to clean up after people. “Pack it in and pack it out” should be the motto of the demographic coming to see these films, no? I complain every year that they need to remind people to remove their garbage, so we don’t have to do it. What about in the back country? 

Packing It Out explores this question as two back packers, Seth Orme and Paul Twedt hope to remove literally a ton of trash from the Pacific Crest Trail. This is a follow up trip from their last adventure of spending over four months hiking on the Appalachian Trail where they walked 2200 miles and removed 1100 lbs of garbage. Filmmaker Colin Arisman joins them on the driest part of their journey near the start in Southern California. Their journey is not only to clean up but to spread awareness about environmental stewardship to others as well. In only 700 miles they picked up 550 lbs of trash.


The film Devotion represented one of the many themes brought out in the 2016 Banff Mountain film festival, women adventurers. In the case of climber, Libby Peter, we follow on her journey as she reflects on turning 50, remembering her grandmother who inspired her to be comfortable outside. The mountains have always been Libby’s place of refuge from a busy world. She passes on this wisdom to the next generation of women, her daughters who luckily enjoy climbing and the outdoors as much as she does.

Children take the lead from the adults in their lives. Growing up in the mountains myself, I remember cross country skiing to school or walking to the ski hill. My dad is an avid fisherman and was a hunter. As a result my nephews skate on the local pond in winter and in summer hang out in Waterton National Park, hiking or more likely playing in cold water. In both winter and summer, they fish with their grandfather. If we want children to appreciate nature and care about the environment then we have to have enough time to take them exploring, whether it’s in the mountains or in the local wilderness areas.

Everyday Activist Review: 2017 Banff World Tour Short Film Selections - Calgary Red Program >
Everyday Activist Review: 2017 Banff World Tour Short Film Selections - Calgary Blue Program >
Everyday Activist Review: 2017 Banff World Tour Short Film Selections - PART 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.