Banff festival entries reflect strength of mountain film industry 

A record-breaking number of films were entered in this year's Banff Mountain Film Festival, reflecting the strength and diversity of the mountain film industry. Two hundred and sixty-three films representing 31 countries were received for the 2002 competition.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival takes place Oct. 29 and Nov. 1-3 in Banff, Alberta.

"The mountain film industry has never been stronger, and this year's entries reflect that fact," says Bernadette McDonald, vice-president, Mountain Culture at The Banff Centre.

"From a 15-year-old novice filmmaker to some of the most respected directors and producers in the business, the story-telling is first-class. I don't think I've ever seen such variety – there is everything from Ethiopia to Patagonia, from mixed climbing in the Canadian Rockies to Lhotse Middle Peak, from an incredible portrait of Massoud the Afghan to an equally compelling depiction of the legendary characters of Yosemite's Camp 4."

The festival today announced the 45 finalist films that will be screened during the festival. The finalist list can be found at: http://www.banffcentre.ca/mountainculture/media/2002/filmfinalists.htm

An international jury will meet during festival week to select winners in six prize categories and to choose a Grand Prize Winner. The 2002 jury includes Jean Afanassieff (France), Gerhard Baur (Germany), Piers Handling (Canada), Roger Payne (U.K.) and Valeriana Rosso (Italy). The festival audience chooses the People's Choice Award.

In addition to screening the 45 finalist films, this year's festival includes presentations by Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind climber to summit Everest, and by American alpinist Steve House.

To order tickets for festival events, contact the Banff Centre Box Office at 403-762-6301 or 1-800-413-8368 or order on line at www.banffmountainfestivals.ca

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