Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival ascends to new heights
In the world of mountaineering, it was enormous news. In late January, two young climbers, Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk, ascended the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre in Patagonia by “fair means”, meaning they didn’t use the bolts placed there in 1970 by Cesare Maestri.
“He drilled 400 bolts into this sheer piece of rock to get to the top, which is really a bad style,” Alan Formanek tells the Straight. “Now these young guns, they came back and climbed the whole piece in a clean style, without using those bolts. That’s just a fascinating climbing story. It’s really a big deal for climbers.”
As Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival program director, Formanek says he’s particularly excited about bringing Kennedy and Kruk (the latter is from Squamish) to speak on the closing night of the fest, which takes place from Friday until next Saturday (February 10 to 18). There are also five movies of varying length lined up for the finale, but that’s not unusual for the VIMFF.
“The guests usually bring slides and film clips, so the boundary between a strict film and a strict presentation is very blurred here,” he says. “I prefer these live shows because of the contact with the audience.”
Indeed, in 1998, the inaugural VIMFF was a two-day event with three guests. This year, Formanek is juggling 51 films (including world and North American premieres of movies such as Kukuczka and Soul of the Sea), 30 speakers, and three venues running full-time. And on that note, in case you haven’t heard, the six screenings Formanek had lined up at the Rio Theatre have been moved to the Denman Cinemas. If there’s one thing that a life of mountain sport, recreation, culture, and general outdoorsiness teaches you, it’s how to adapt. Visit www.straight.com/ for previews, and www.vimff.org/ for the full lineup of events and screenings.