The Sky Is The Limit: The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) 2011

With this festival I broke my own record: I did a festival volunteer shift less than 5 hours after getting off the plane in a new city! The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival 2011 ran from 11 until 19 February and was held in two locations, one was the Pacific Cinematheque in downtown Vancouver and the other the Centennial Theatre across the bridge in North Vancouver. I did my shifts at the Pacific Cinematheque as the other cinema was a bit out of the way for me.

The volunteer team was great fun to work with, lots of friendly and fun international people, as usual. After we had done our job, selling tickets or raffle tickets, ushering and handing out festival brochures, we got to see the films. I’m not really much of an outdoor person, but do enjoy a bit of hiking and cycling. The protagonists of the documentaries shown at the festival were at the totally opposite end of the spectrum though. From kayaking to extreme mountain biking there was pretty much a film for every type of adventure sport you could possibly imagine.

One film that was particulary entertaining as well as awe-inspiring was Baffin Babes, the 80-day journey of four Swedish and Norwegian women through the Arctic. My personal favourite was a talk by Bryan Smith, an adventure filmmaker, wo gave a talk on ‘Filming on the Edge of the Earth’, in this case in Kamchatka, in the very far east of Russia. His account of getting the whole camera team to such a remote and wild place and the number of grizzly bears that can be found there was fascinating and made me want to hop on the next plane to be honest. The only issue was that it took about three separate flights from Vancouver plus a long and precarious ride in an old Russian helicopter to get there. Well, I guess I’ll stick with watching his fantastic films instead!

Here are the documentaries that took away the prizes at VIMFF 2011.

And this is an awesome ‘thank you cheer to the filmmakers’ video from the closing night.

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