October 30, 2013

Radical Reels at Banff Mtn Film Fest 2013

Chasing Summits from shams on Vimeo.

The paragliding movie Chasing Summits was one of a few great films at Radical Reels. 

It's been a time since I last went to Radical Reels at the Banff Mountain Film Fest. More often then not, travel or apathy are to blame. But this year the stars aligned and I found myself at the show. Josh Dueck, of sit-ski back flip fame, did a great job hosting the event and the line-up of films was awesome. 

Of course, every one is going to have their personal likes, but to me, there were two stand-outs. The first was the paragliding film Chasing Summits. Basically, three Euro guys went to Pakistan's Hunza Valley and flew paragliders amongst some of the highest and most bad-ass mountains on the planet. From a pilot's perspective, this was a really impressive journey and in typical Euro style, they pulled it off with many laughs and a good look in to the local culture. They made the adventure as much about the local people and culture as it was about their flying and I find this style very refreshing after getting bombarded by some of the North American look-at-me-being-rad films. Plus, the soundtrack was pretty good.

Chasing Summits seemed to be well-received by the audience, but I couldn't help but wonder if the film was lost on the crowd as a whole. Do you need to be a paraglider yourself to appreciate how far-out this sort of activity is? I remember watching people fly around before I got into the sport and it just looked like a bunch of fat, old, lazy dudes bobbing around in the sky. Not terribly exciting. But after learning a bit more about the sport, you quickly realize how little there is between you and the ground. 

 The Sensei  - replete with wisdom, laughs, great climbing and a tight narartive.  

The other film that really appealed to me was the climbing film The Sensei. In short, this was the story about the teacher / student relationship between aging Japanese rock-master Yuji Hirayama and the super strong - if not a little unpolished - American climber Daniel Woods. A great look at the contrasting styles between East and West, age and youth.

And if you're looking to eat up a few more minutes of your day, here are two worthy videos from the flying world. 

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