I managed to remember there were showings in Cork for both the red and blue films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival on this week, so I snagged tickets.
I greatly enjoyed kayaking at uni and elsewhere, and plan to take that hobby back up sometime, and currently spend a fair bit of my time climbing. Both of those sports were well represented at the films.
Below are my thoughts on the various films in the “Red Films” night. I won’t say too much – you should go see them. I originally planned to write a bunch, then realised – just stream them or go to a screening. I don’t have the words.
Blue Films will be a second posting, after I see them 🙂
A Baffin Vacation.
A couple of world class adventurers, who also happen to be a couple, go on a “holiday” (expedition) to Baffin Island. They take some fantastic video.
This involves hiking across sea ice, climbing, and kayaking as the sea ice melts. Just the two of them, no external support crew or camera crew.
“The first woman to run a 100 foot waterfall” undersells how ridiculously talented Nouria is as a kayaker. Pretty much everyone interviewed during this either explicitly or implicitly stated she is probably the best kayaker currently paddling.
This film explores Nouria’s journey, from competitive slaloming (something I never knew existed tbh), to running rivers/waterfalls, to winning the slaloming world cup, to running more rivers/waterfalls…
One of the things I found interesting in this film was how it also explored the “evolution” of technique in kayaking when it comes to running waterfalls. In the past, it was kind of a “well, fuck around and find out, hope you don’t die”, and now there is techniques, strategies, etc to help you not die when you decide to punt yourself down a giant fucking waterfall in a kayak.
Pete and Tom are addicted to crack. This film explores them living under some bridges, white powder all over their hands, feeding their crack addiction. Absolute crack fiends. Crackheads.
So the crack I’m referring to here is crack climbing, a method of climbing where you jam your hand/foot/whatever into a crack in the rock. Pete and Tom, many moons ago, got obsessed with this and built a crack den in Toms basement out of kitchen cabinets, where they trained and trained before doing all of the hardest crack in America.
Lockdown came along, and they couldn’t get their fix outdoors, so they were back to the basement. Eventually, someone in Scotland pointed out that a lot of bridges have a “gap” on their underside that resembles a splitter crack and can be climbed that way.
So, these lads start traversing the underside of bridges in the UK.
Then Tom finds the biggest bridge with a crack, this enormous fucker, the bridge on the M5 motorway. So they plan a multipitch, multi-day, crack extravaganza where they will go end-to-end on the damn thing. Sleeping, eating, etc, up there, dangling below the motorway. While the motorway is in use.
Then they go do this daft thing.
Walking on Clouds.
Look, this is absurd. This absolute madman from Brazil, an engineer, decides to take slacklining/highlining to its absolute logical conclusion: putting a fucking slackline between two hot air balloons, really, really high up.
The cinematography was beautiful. The whole setup? Fucking absurd. I want to try it. Probably the most inspirational film of the night.
The Nine Wheels.
This film follows a family who, after the mother came down with a degenerative disease, live a nomadic lifestyle around Europe in a camper van. Their kids are growing up to be really, really, really good (world class maybe?) mountain bikers.
This one tugs on the ould heartstrings a bit, its emotional, its about family more than sport really. No, thats not tears in the eyes, the screen is blurry. Honest.
This short film was a labour of love. Spectacular visuals, some of the clearest FPV drone shots ever, following a guy who decided to showcase the bit of the mountains he lives in, by skiing around them, while the ski resorts were closed due to lockdown.
I understand he had to hike/ski for like, several hours to get each individual shot because the ski lifts, etc, were all shut down, and each shot required retakes… Breathtaking.
I’m very much looking forward to the Blue films.