posted in: Outdoors, Travel | 2

A couple of weeks ago I had my first Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour experience, when I watched the Red Films at Cheltenham Town Hall. I thoroughtly thoroughly enjoyed it and, naturally, and can totally understand why the film festival has become so popular. Last week I went back to the Town Hall to see the Blue Films.

Splodz Blogz | Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

Unfortunately for me, I was a bit later getting a ticket this time and so was much further back in the Town Hall, and actually had quite a rubbish view of the screen. I’m quite short and had a couple of much taller people in front of me, which obscured my view for the majority of the evening. It’s a shame the seating in there isn’t tiered – it’s not even staggered so you are sat directly behind people rather than positioned to look between the seats in the row in front. But then I guess they wouldn’t get as many chairs in…

Despite the problem with the view, the films were still excellent and I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, coming away inspired for adventure once again. As I did with the Red Films, let me tell you what I thought of each film in the Blue programme:

2.5 Million

This was the story of an utterly incredibly journey Aaron Rice took to break the world record for the most human-powered vertical feet skied in the back country in one calendar year. I admire people like this so much; imagine spending all your time and energy working towards one single aim? And for Aaron it was a year-long aim.

Ace and the Desert Dog

I think I need a doggie companion for my adventures! And I really hope I’m adventuring still when I am 60. Maybe not a 60-day trek… but maybe! I loved the story telling in this short film, it packed a whole load in.


This film made me feel real panic in my seat. How does Johanna Nordblad control her breathing and heartrate as she dives through the ice into a world that could kill her in an instant if she didn’t remain calm? Absolutely beautiful, yet so unsettling.


The feature film for the Blue Films programme, Dugout is the story of a home-made canoe and a journey in the Amazon. I did wonder if I would end up thinking “just another couple of skinny white blokes heading off to find themselves in adventure”, but actually ended up totally invested in this story. There was plenty of humour, a lot of well shot insight into the lives of the indigenous people, and a little bit of controversy at the end with the sale of the canoe. I especially loved that they didn’t gloss over the making of the boat, but made it the main feature of the film.

Where the Wild Things Play

Why aren’t there more films about female adventures? Are we really just too busy having fun doing our own thing while the men get drunk in the bar? I certainly would have loved to join each of the ladies featured in this one their adventures – please?!


While Hera has already cycled through 43 countries, it is clear that her journey has only just begun. Oh to be a bit like Hera; on a constant life-long adventure. I guess her point was that we all are, we just have to know how we want to travel.


I often look at some adventures and adventurers and wonder why people do it and how they come up with their seemingly unbelievable plans. I have to admit I found the answer a little lacking… like when a teacher says “just because” when I questioned them! Amazing scenery though, what a place Iceland is.

Safety Third

This film confirmed to me that I could never climb free solo, I just don’t want to! I mean, I love doughnuts and I don’t mind heights, but I don’t have any desire to hang from rock by my finger tips and tippy toes. I loved the film making – another great creation from Cedar Wright.

Surf the Line

A very quick but rather hilarious short showing the amazing Flying Frenchies having an absolute ball with a highline in the Vercors mountain range. I smiled for the full two minutes.

Splodz Blogz | Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

This time around, my People’s Choice Award goes to… Johanna. One of the shortest films shown in the Blue programme, the fact that it made me quite uncomfortable whilst making it impossible not to watch was brilliant. I’d love to try ice diving, but not through a tiny little hole! Dugout came a very close second, but sometimes you want something that is short and sweet.

Have you seen either of the two Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour programmes this year? Which was your favourite? And what other adventure films – short or long – would you recommend that I watch this weekend?

There are still a few showings of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour around the UK, it runs until mid-May. If you like film, stories and/or adventure, you’d do well to get yourself to a showing near you.

I’m no adventure film maker, but I have made a few quick shorts of adventures over the years. Check out Splodz Blogz TV if you want a laugh! 

2 Responses

  1. Katy

    I think my favourite this time round was probably Safety Third, though I also loved Desert Dog. The Banff films this year have definitely made me want to start climbing again…

    I had a tall person in front of me too 🙁 But luckily the seat next to me was empty so I could lean over and see around him.

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