The historic Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival Tour returns again for the month of February and although people aren’t able to gather in theatres this year, Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook has teamed up with local Bruce Kirkby to create the Epic Adventures Tour, allowing people to enjoy the festival from the comfort of their own homes.
“At a time when we are all looking for ways to connect, Epic Adventures Indoors is that opportunity,” explained Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook Interim Manager Corrine Highwood. “Experience the same awe and adventure, even though we need to be apart. These films are something that friendship groups and people in line at the grocery store will be talking about all February.”
The origin story of the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour goes back to 1976 in Banff, Alta. when a group of climbers and wilderness adventurers came up with The Banff Festival of Mountaineering Film. Then a one-day event, it quickly grew to become one of the largest and most prestigious festivals of its kind on a worldwide level.
More than three decades ago the festival started an outreach program with the intent of bringing their festival to other communities and the Tour was born.
A group of Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook volunteers have for the past 25 years brought that tour to our area while also utilizing it as the organization’s largest annual fundraiser.
“They are an amazing group of women and they have just been working with the Banff Festival for that long, and they bring it every year and ever year it has been a fundraiser for Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook,” said Outreach and Fundraising Coordinator Courtenay Holden. “We’re really fortunate to have such amazing volunteers.”
When you visit the unique link that Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook has created, you are able to buy your virtual tickets to the event. A substantial portion of each ticket sold goes towards supporting Wildsight in their myriad endeavours.
“Because it’s our biggest fundraiser of the year we’re lucky in the fact that we then can distribute it our amongst all of our projects,” Holden explained.
The group runs projects like the Apple Capture, they are responsible for the Community Garden and they run the Farmers Markets. They also do a Camp Odyssey with kids each summer educating youth about the outdoors in addition to running numerous educational programs at schools throughout the year.
READ MORE: Wildsight Apple Picking events
To purchase tickets visit wildsight.ca/branches/epic-adventures-indoors. From there, you’ll see that the Banff Centre has grouped films in terms of variety and locations and that type of thing, and created different packages you can purchase. The packages are called Onyx, Amber, Sapphire and Ruby. You can either buy these tickets individually or in a bundle, getting all four together at a discounted rate.
If you purchase an individual package you have it for a three-day rental period, while if you purchase the whole bundle you get it for 14 days, and you can watch them at any time during that rental period.
Kimberley-based adventurer, writer, photographer and speaker Bruce Kirkby has a long history with both Wildsight and with the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival.
“When Banff Film Festival let us know how the festival’s going to be run this year and how it’s going to be virtual, we were trying to come up with ways that we can get more people interested and more people really excited about it,” Holden said. “Bruce is such an amazing and exciting character, so we really wanted him on board to help us push the cause in terms of getting people excited about the wilderness and the films and the amazing films that they’re going to be able to watch.”
All of Kirkby’s books have been shortlisted at the festival and he’s been on their book jury twice, their film jury once and has made countless presentations there.
He said that he also feels a real tie with Wildsight and when he moved to Kimberley he quickly realized they fill an important role. He became friends with founder John Bergenske and has done many long trips with him. He also served on their board around 15 years ago.
“I think because of my travels, I just understand how wild places are just seeing so much growing challenges,” Kirby told the Bulletin. “Threat’s a strong word but threat is what it is. And so I think it’s really important to think both globally and locally. It’s not like I’m offloading that responsibility but I’m just thankful that there’s groups like Wildsight that really have their eye on balls that I know I would miss and they are doing what, to me, seems important.”
A regular attendee of Wildsight’s Banff Film Tour events at the Key City in Cranbrook for the past years, Kirkby said that he was somewhat aware of what an important fundraiser it was for Wildsight, but not to the extent he discovered when he was asked to come on board this year to raise awareness.
“It’s just a way to do something that I legitimately think is fun and supports something that I legitimately think is important,” Kirkby said.
Describing the array of films as being on a spectrum from “full adrenaline huck-fests,” to “really intricate, ornate and nuanced portraits of remote cultures or lands” Kirkby said that these films, without trying to make us care, inspire people to think more deeply about the environment.
“The reason why I think these type of films these types of books and all that stuff matters is that it’s not trying to persuade someone,” he said. “It’s not a political act like saying, ‘you really should care about this you, should care about wild spaces’ — it’s like, ‘hey here’s some cool stuff,’ and the caring comes naturally as a bi-product naturally.”
Epic Adventures Indoors runs all month and Wildsight encourages everyone to share their enthusiasm of the event on social media with the hashtag #EpicAdventuresIndoors