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8 Amazing Mountain Film Festivals to Stoke Your Appetite for Adventure

8/17/17 by Samantha Larson

Fall is just around the corner, and if cooler temperatures aren’t enough to get you psyched about outdoor adventure, the jaw-dropping, beautiful films that showcase the Great Outdoors—and the wide variety of people who love to play in them—almost certainly will. It seems adventure films just keep getting better and better, in part thanks to the popularity of film festivals like Banff, Telluride Mountainfilm, and Reel Rock that showcase and celebrate them. Here, eight mountain film festivals that should be on your must-do list.

1. Reel Rock; on tour fall 2017

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Whether you’re a boulderer, sport climber, or trad climber, if your idea of a good weekend involves pulling on rock, Reel Rock is the film festival you won’t want to miss. In fact, it’s become a core event in the national climbing community. The 2016 festival—Reel Rock 11—included five films, featuring the likes of rising stars Ashima Shiraishi and Kai Lightner, elite crack climbers Will Stanhope and Matt Segal on their project in the Bugaboos, and a sailing and alpine adventure in the Arctic Circle with Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll, Ben Ditto, and Nico and Olivier Favresse.

2.No Man’s Land; September 15-17, 2017, Carbondale, Colorado

Ever notice that all too often there’s something—or, rather, some_one_—lacking from mountain films? If you think there should be more women featured in adventure flicks, you’re not alone. The new No Man’s Land Film Festival is tackling this issue head on, with a festival that solely focuses on films featuring females pursuing radical adventure across many different disciplines. By highlighting the stories of strong, bold women, No Man’s Land hopes to inspire other women to pursue their own passions and, ultimately, redefine what it means to be feminine.

3. Adventure Film Festival; on tour October-December, 2017

The Adventure Film Festival gracefully blends adventure, art, and activism, showcasing films that inspire viewers to both explore the world and make it better. The idea for a film festival that used adventure storytelling to inspire awareness and the power to "make your own legends" was hatched in the early 2000s by the late Jonny Copp as he was daydreaming in a tent while waiting out a Himalayan storm. Now, Adventure Film has become an anticipated annual event in its hometown of Boulder—and across the world from New York to Nepal when it goes on tour.

4. International FreeSki Film Festival (iF3); October 26-29, Montreal, Quebec

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If your mind’s not on winter already, the International FreeSki Film Festival will get you psyched for powdery slopes and epic steeps. Now in its 10th year running, the annual gathering is known for raising the bar of the ski film genre, featuring artfully shot films with themes and narratives that take the movies beyond gnarly tricks—though rest assured, there are plenty of those, too.

5. Banff Mountain Film Festival; October 28-November 5, 2017, Banff, Alberta

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is the granddaddy of them all: It’s the largest, most iconic, and most comprehensive. If you want to soak up endless outdoors and creative inspiration, the nine-day festival held in Banff National Park will not disappoint. In fact, many of the films that are screened at other festivals throughout the year are first shown at Banff. If you can’t make it up to Canada for the main event, don’t worry: The festival goes on a world tour, hitting most major U.S. cities and towns.

6. Radical Reels; On tour fall 2017*

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Radical Reels is the Banff Mountain Film Festival for thrill seekers looking for a dose of adrenaline. These films, featuring action sports including mountain biking, skiing, climbing, and more, are all shown at the main Banff festival, but take their own tour through select cities in the U.S.

7. 5Point Adventure Film Festival; April 2018, Carbondale, Colorado

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The 5Point Adventure Film Festival seeks to celebrate more than just pure adrenaline and feats of athleticism. Following the ethos that "adventure belongs to all," the festival’s mission is to inspire adventure of all kinds, so long as they highlight their five principles of respect, commitment, humility, purpose, and balance. The 2016 film selection included stories of rock climbing infants, The Burning Man Ultramarathon, and a South African village that empowers youth through skateboarding.

8. Telluride Mountainfilm; May 25-28, 2018, Telluride

Started in 1979, Telluride Mountainfilm is one of the longest-running mountain film festivals out there, and is itself a mountain film festival in the broadest, best sense. Recent lineups have included films spanning a documentary on the threat of plastics to seabirds, to a tribute to climbing legend Fred Beckey, to the story of a man who climbs up precarious cliffs to collect honey in Nepal. The weekend also includes talks with athletes and artists and other community events.

Originally written by RootsRated for Marmot.