Outdoors and sporting world showcased in film festival

A range of fascinating international films is on the way to Red Deer via the Banff Mountain Festival World Tour.

The event is slated to run Jan. 13-14 at the Memorial Centre, and it’s also the Kerry Wood Nature Centre’s biggest annual fundraiser.

Host organizations choose programs that reflect the interests of local audiences as well, and there is plenty to choose from with superb films packed with adventure, mountain sporting, culture and environment and exploration.

Immediately after the Festival wraps up in November in Banff, a selection of the best films goes on tour across North America. They also hit the international circuit from Scotland to South Africa to China, Japan and New Zealand.

Each year, about 30 countries are included in the tour reaching more than 210,000 people at some 550 screenings.

“I honestly feel that there is something for anybody who has any kind of interest in the outdoors,” said Todd Nivens, programs coordinator at the KWNC.

About 30 films made the cut for this year’s Tour, but of course there’s only time to show about a dozen in Red Deer. When making this selection many factors are considered including comments made by the pre-screening committee, audience reaction to the films shown in Banff and feedback received from the tour audience.

It can be a challenge to make the final selection of screening choices, added Nivens, because for a film to make it into the annual Banff screening, it has to be of top quality to begin with.

Meanwhile, the Red Deer stop on the renowned tour has been ongoing since 1998.

“It’s also a chance to see places around the world that people may never get to, or to get immersed in a sport they may never try.”

Nivens said organizers aim to offer a real cross-section of films on both nights. And rarely is the same film shown on both evenings as well.

The screenings have proven a huge hit with local audiences, regularly selling out the Memorial Centre.

“There’s a real community around it.”

In 1986, the Banff Mountain Film Festival began an outreach program to bring the festival to other communities. Organizers wanted to share the efforts and talents of the world’s finest mountain filmmakers with a larger audience.

Tickets for the Banff Mountain Festival World Tour are $20 per night or $36 for both nights.

They can be purchased at the KWNC, Valhalla Pure Outfitters and Purearth Organics.

For more information, call the Kerry Wood Nature Centre at 403-346-2010.