There's this video being bounced between inboxes and Twitter feeds for the past couple weeks if you haven't seen it, you should watch it right now. Essentially, it's just two animated dudes talking to each other, but what they're saying is hilarious, but only if you've lived in Bend for a while. The two guys just talk about what they're up to that day, which turns into a long stream of where they're hiking, skiing, drinking coffee or taking their kids, complete with the sort of outdoor geek slang we're accustomed to hearing in these parts.
Well, that video could easily include a mention of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, taking place Sunday night. Because if we can't be skiing, kayaking, trail running, saving animals from extinction or hanging prayer flags, we love to watch movies about people who are. And that, for the most part, is the Banff Mountain Film Festival.
If you've never seen a Banff screening, here's the long and short of it: there are nine films, all of them shorts, all of them have something to do with mountains or people who do wild and wacky (or environmentally savvy) things in the mountains. And, as you probably guessed, all these films were screened at the annual festival in Banff, the Canadian Rockies ski town whose residents likely employ a similar mountain lingo as us Bendites - but with a Canadian accent.
While the traveling festival features some 25 film options from the festival, the Bend edition will feature nine selections, ranging in scope from ski docs to excellent climbing pieces and some even crazier stuff. And it's the crazier stuff that's really the draw, in our opinion.
Take "Project Megawoosh," for example. The four-minute documentary provides the back-story to the viral YouTube video about some nutty Germans who allegedly built the world's largest water slide. It turns out the stunt was for a European Microsoft television spot, but watching a dude launch a couple hundred yards off of a waterslide jump (whether real or fake) ranks only slightly lower on the Radical-O-Meter than that KFC sandwich that smartly replaces boring-ass bread with slabs of fried chicken. Fewer carbs, duh.
One of the longer features is "Take a Seat" the story of Dominic Gill, who set out to cycle from the northernmost part of Alaska to the far south end of South America - on a tandem bicycle. This took him two years, during which he picked up strangers looking for a lift - or perhaps the chance to ride a tandem bike.
Also screening at the Tower is the winner of the festival's Best Short Mountain Film award "Mont-Blanc Speed Flying," a 10-minute, continuously shot film of speed flyers pounding down the highest mountain in the Alps. What's speed flying, you ask? It's essentially downhill skiing, but with a parasail that you use to bomb down the hill, sometimes flying, sometimes touching down to ski a bit while continually trying not to die. Ask your yoga instructor - he probably does it on the weekends.
The other shorts are all worth checking out, too. While Banff certainly caters to the adventurous Bendites among us, there's definitely an appeal for those who simply like to watch outrageous people do outrageous things. Plus, recounting the screening will fit perfectly into your Monday-morning water cooler discussion, right between your descriptions of "corn" ski conditions and your new favorite Thump coffee concoction.
Banff Mountain Film Festival
7pm Sunday, April 25. Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St. $23/general admission. Tickets at Towertheatre.org or at the tower box office.