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Outdoor film festival comes to the Wexner Center

A promotional poster for the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Credit: Courtesy of Erik Pepple

A promotional poster for the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Credit: Courtesy of Erik Pepple

Some people like to climb mountains, some get a rush snowboarding down them and some enjoy simply jumping off them. The rest of us, whose palms get sweaty at the mere thought of BASE jumping, can get an adrenaline rush without the danger on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival, founded in 1976, showcases outdoor adventure documentaries and short films every November in Banff, Alberta. After the festival, a selection of shortened films goes on tour. This year will be its 10th at the Wex.

The Ohio State Outdoor Adventure Center first contacted the film festival to make a stop at OSU in 2006, and it asked the Wex to host. The Wex has taken a bigger role in the operations since, but the OAC continues to co-sponsor and play a large role in the event.

“They help us spread the word,” said Dave Filipi, film curator for the Wex.

The assistant director of the OAC, Matt Hartman, said that the festival is a motivating event for the “geographically limited” residents of Columbus.

“We don’t have mountains, or surfing or anything like that,” Hartman said. “I think this film challenges us outdoor folk. It inspires us in a way that validates what we do.”

Each night has its own program, which runs for a little over two hours. Nine films are shown each night, the lengths falling between three and 20 minutes.

“They put a nice mix together,” Filipi said. “There are funny ones, poignant ones. It’s a diverse selection.”

Award winners from the festival are included in the touring films.“The Important Places,” a story of father-son bonding, won Best Short Mountain Film last year. “Reel Rock 10: A Line Across the Sky” chronicles the push to climb the Fitz Traverse in Patagonia, and it won Best Climbing Film.

The People’s Choice Award went to “Unbranded,” which follows four men and 16 mustangs as they travel across the American west from Mexico to Canada.

Options are relatively limited for outdoor adventure in Central Ohio, but the fact that both nights have sold-out shows that a community of enthusiasts exists in Columbus.

“OSU students and our community people aren’t afraid to get out there and do unique things,” Hartman said. “And it’s powerful for us to know that there are people out there who put their whole lives into these activities.”

The festival runs for two nights, Tuesday and Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m. Both nights are sold out.

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