Take a Moment for “Wanderment” by Doug Urquhart

From the maker of Mountains in Motion and Eye of the Beholder, Doug Urquhart’s latest masterpiece is Wanderment (chosen today as a Vimeo Staff Pick!). Having worked with Doug before I know first-hand just how much of a genius he is with his craft, and how humble he is about it. Wanderment demonstrates his artistry and eye for detail, his passion for the wilderness, and desire to bring that beauty to others.

Take five minutes and watch the video below.

Synopsis

Best Viewed in Full Screen (with scaling turned off)

From meandering streams and forest-dwelling organisms to the grandeur of high mountains above tree-line, this short film wanders through the contrasting wilderness of Alaska, North Carolina, Georgia and California.

WANDERMENT is the result of a 12-month collection of 4K time-lapse sequences captured while backpacking. Countless miles of hiking in the Appalachian Mountains and adventurous backpacking in California and Alaska provided no shortage of opportunity to capture the planet’s poetry in motion. Further juxtaposing these contrasting landscapes is the use of both color and black and white techniques throughout the film. Each time-lapse sequence, comprised of hundreds of still images, represents a chance to share these reflective moments far away from urban epicenters. It offers a simple reminder to step outside with your friends and family to experience and respect nature first-hand.

WANDERMENT from The Upthink Lab on Vimeo.

Valley Uprising Wins 2014 Banff Mountain Film Competition Grand Prize

Content courtesy The Banff Centre.

The greatest untold story of American counterculture is that of the Yosemite Valley rock climbers. For 50 years, Yosemite’s cliffs have drawn explorers to venture on the high, lonesome granite. Climbing greats like Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard and Tom Frost not only set new standards for climbing hard routes, they pioneered the “dirtbag” lifestyle. Part fact and part attitude, Sender Films takes us on a journey through the history of Yosemite right up to the present and shows why the big walls of this amazing place are still as coveted today as they were 50 years ago. Valley Uprising has won the Grand Prize at the 2014 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

“The mountain culture in which so many of us here are a part of; we are pretty good at telling our stories to each other,” said 2014 jury member Nicolas Brown. “We watch some sick action— and get totally stoked. However, sometimes we are less effective telling our stories to the rest of the world. This film tells an epic tale, giving us larger than life characters whose lives play out on a vast stage. The result is a work that will inspire not just climbers but the world at large.”

Created 39 years ago, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The Festival showcases the world’s best films, books, and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment, exploration and adventure, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and extreme sports as presenters and speakers. 84 films were screened during the nine-day festival and an international jury awarded more than $50,000 in cash and prizes in 13 categories.

Category winners for the 2014 Banff Mountain Film Competition include:

Grand Prize—Sponsored by MEC

Valley Uprising
Director: Nick Rosen, Peter Mortimer, Josh Lowell
Producer: Zachary Barr
Production Company: Sender Films

Creative Excellence Award- Sponsored by SOLE

El Sendero Luminoso Director: Renan Ozturk
Producer: Aimee Tetreault
Production Company: Camp4 Collective

Best Film – Exploration and Adventure – Sponsored by MSR

And Then We Swam Director: Ben Finney
Producer: Robb Ellender

Best Film – Mountain Culture Sponsored by Helly Hansen

Tashi & the Monk
Director: Andrew Hinton, Johnny Burke
Production Company: Pilgrim Films

Best Film – Climbing Sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada

Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell Director: Thomas Dirnhofer Producer: Philipp Manderla*
Production Company: Red Bull Media House GmbH

Best Film – Mountain Sports- Sponsored by Live Out There

Little Red Bus (Petit Bus Rouge)
Director and Producer: Sébastien Montaz-Rosset
Production Company: Montaz-Rosset Film

Best Film: Snow Sports – Sponsored by Oboz Footwear

The Crash Reel
Director: Lucy  Walker
Producer: Julian Cautherley
Production Company: KP Rides Again LLC

Best Film – Mountain Environment and Natural History – Sponsored by Film Festival Flix

NATURE: Touching the Wild

Director and Producer: David Allen
Production Company: Passion Planet, THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET

Best Short Mountain Film – Sponsored by The North Face

Delta Dawn
Director and Producer: Peter McBride
Production Company: Peter McBride Productions

Best Feature Length Mountain Film – Sponsored by the Town of Banff

Marmato

Director: Mark Grieco
Producer: Stuart Reid
Production Company: Calle Films

Special Jury Mention

Jungwa: The Broken Balance

Director: Stanzin Dorjai Gya, Christiane Mordelet
Producer: Barra Muriel
Production Company: Lato Sensu Productions

People’s Choice Award for Radical Reels – Sponsored by Deuter

Sufferfest 2: Desert Alpine

Director and Producer: Cedar Wright*

People’s Choice Award – Sponsored by Treksta

Mending the Line Director Steve Engman, Producer John Waller. Production Company: Uncage the Soul Productions.

Jury members in 2014 included Swiss journalist and producer Benoît Aymon, multiple award-winning producer and director Nicolas Brown, former Programming Director for the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Joni Cooper,  American alpinist Mark Synnott and Shirley Vercruysse, Executive Producer of the National Film Board of Canada.

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is presented by National Geographic and The North Face, and sponsored by Deuter, Bergans of Norway, Clif Bar, Cushe Footwear, Icebreaker Merino and Banff Lake Louise Tourism with support from Mammut, MSR/Mountain Safety Research, PETZL, World Expeditions, Kicking Horse Coffee, The Lake Louise Ski Resort, MEC, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Sculpted in Time: Sherpas Cinema Release Latest Film

With material from Banff Lake Louise Tourism. 

They brought you Into the Mind and All.I.Can. Now Sherpas Cinema has created four dramatic short films capturing the deep spirit of skiing straight from the heart of the Canadian RockiesThe series, entitled ‘Sculpted in Time’ reveals a new dimension to the significance of ski culture in Banff and Lake Louise – depicted in spectacular high-definition footage.

Sculpted in Time is a compelling portrayal of unique stories shot in documentary form and edited in Sherpas Cinema’s renowned storytelling style. Featuring extreme slow motion, long term time lapse, a pensive score and emotive narrative throughout, the series focuses on the personal transformations of local ski legends – each with character as strong as the mountain landscape of Banff National Park. The films were shot on location during 30 rigorous days, across the park’s three ski areas. The series presents stimulating perspectives on:

  • Mt. Norquay [The Wise Man, featuring long-term Banff local, Eddie Hunter]
  • Lake Louise Ski Resort [The Character, featuring skier Eric Hjorleifson]
  • Sunshine Village [The Artist, featuring artist Dan Hudson]
  • A deep dive into its backcountry terrain [The Innovator, featuring local Paralympian Christian Bagg, as well as Chris Rubens and Eric Hjorleifson].

“To have the opportunity to complete a project like this in the Canadian Rockies was a dream come true for us”, says Malcolm Sangster, Sherpas Cinema. “The Sherpas founders, including myself, Dave Mossop and Eric Crosland, all grew up together in Calgary and it was these very hills where we cut our teeth – both as skiers and filmmakers. The peaks of Banff National Park have truly had an everlasting positive impact on our personal lives and careers, their beauty and grandeur instills a sense of awe, humbleness and respect in everyone that lays eyes on them.”

Follow the ‘Sculpted in Time’ four-part film series at: SkiBanffNationalPark.com. #SculptedinTime  #MyBanff

Catch the trailer here:

Where Are the Women? Pretty Faces Teaser

Feature photo Top of the world, somewhere in Alaska. Photo by Scott Dickerson.

I have attended the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival each year since 2007, save for one year when I was trekking through Nepal. Being the biggest film fest of its kind in the world, the Banff Festival offers a good barometer on a variety of industries, mainly outdoor gear, adventure film, sponsored athletics and publishing. I know for a fact that despite the considerable presence of women in sports, including skiing, they are poorly represented in most of these industries. Ski and snowboard films may show a ‘token female’, but otherwise women are usually left out of the picture.

This is problematic for a number of reasons. It isn’t an accurate representation, for one. It also leaves young girls without positive female role models in the area of outdoor sports, which promotes healthy body image, good self-esteem, and a ‘can do’ attitude. Instead these girls are left flipping through magazines and observing the lives of celebrities as if their representation in the media is actually true. As the mother of a young daughter, I hope she grows up to be inspired by women in a variety of arenas. She doesn’t need to admire them – that can often lead to comparison and a feeling of inferiority – but I do hope she sees all the possibilities for her future.

Lynsey Dyer has created a ski film about women called Pretty Faces, produced by Unicorn Picnic, with the goal of inspiring “girls of all ages to pursue their dreams, walk the path less traveled, and reach their fullest potential, whatever path they choose” (a quote from their Kickstarter campaign). Their Kickstarter campaign also offers some interesting statistics. Despite women’s presence in about 40% of the skiing population and about 30% of adventure sports film viewership, only 14% of athletes in major ski films were female this past season. Of most interest to me, they also say that many girls drop out of sports around the age of 11-15 years. These young teen years are so vulnerable for girls, and if we can give them positive female role models to look up to, I hope they’ll be inspired to stay active and healthy through sports (whatever those sports may be).

I’ll admit I’m not a fan of the title of the film, Pretty Faces. I get it: it’s a play on words, describing the mountain faces these women are skiing. But take a good look at the teaser of the film and you’ll see a bunch of, well, pretty faces. Does it take good looks to also be successful in your industry or sport? Or to make it into a ski film? Do we need beauty to sell even the concept of women being capable and feeling empowered? Beauty is a powerful, wonderful thing. But I fear we’re walking down the same worn path if it is being used once again to sell an idea and give it legitimacy.

I’m of course pleased to see an all-women ski film on the film circuit, and I’m all for the goal of inspiring young girls. I hope it has the positive impact the producers are looking for. I hope it comes to the Banff Festival so that the crowd here can benefit from seeing more women represented. Finally, I hope the trend continues and that this is just the beginning.

For more information, head on over to Unicorn Picnic.

Check out the trailer here: