Nov. 5-7, 1999 Marketplace

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Vision Man Takes Film Fest Grand Prize
[Click Here for all the Nominated Films]

Vision Man, the powerful and moving story about a contemplative 87-year-old Inuit hunter looking back on his life in the Arctic, is the winner of the 1999 Banff Mountain Film Festival Grand Prize. The announcement was made during the festival's Awards Ceremony on Sunday, November 7.

The film is the tale of Utuniarsuak, who within his lifespan has seen his community advance 4,000 years. But he also understands and tells the inevitable story of profound loss – a loss of connectedness and balance between man and nature in his remote region of northern Greenland.

118 Days in Captivity of Ice
Film Festival Winner
(56k) (100k) (300k)

(56k)  (100k) (300k)

"There was no dissent among the jury about the best film of the festival," said jury member Audrey Salkeld. "Vision Man was everyone's first choice. This elegy for a lost Arctic way of life – described in the memories of a dying Inuit hunter – moved us all with its eloquence and its beautiful camera work."

The international jury selected the Swedish film, produced by Lars Aby and directed by William Long, after viewing 37 films in four categories. Jury members included: Kitty Calhoun and Dr. Thomas Hornbein, USA; Leo Houlding and Audrey Salkeld, UK; and Junko Tabei, Japan. The finalist films were chosen earlier by a pre-screening committee from an impressive 138 entries representing 22 countries.

Other Category Winners

Best Film on Mountain Sports
Slovakia. Director/Producer: Pavol Barabas

118 Days in Captivity of Ice
Four Slovak and Russian polar explorers try crossing the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Canada through the North Pole, using only their own strength and wit, without any aircraft support. This authentic story presents not only an incredible journey filled with constant risk, but reveals the beauty and immensity of this landscape.

It is simply unbelievable that these men could capture such a difficult, long, self-contained expedition on film as well as they did," said jury member Kitty Calhoun. "They have absolutely raised the standard against which future films will be compared."

Best Film on Mountain Environment
Austria. Director: Paul Reddish. Producer: Dr. Walter Köhler, ORF - Austrian Broadcasting Corporation

The Magic Trees of Assam
Tigers, elephants and great Indian rhinos roam the tropical forests of Assam in northeastern India, but perhaps most thrilling are the teeming wild colonies of giant honeybees. A camera team shows Assam's impressive natural treasures from a bee's perspective and beautifully documents the life cycle of these amazing insects, which mysteriously return to the same "magic" trees each year.

"This imaginative and intelligent portrayal of the life and migration of the giant honeybees of Assam entranced us all. We marveled at the dedication of the cameraman, pushing his lens toward living curtains of bees, which are among the world's most aggressive insects. Using the latest macrophotography and technical effects, this film pushed wildlife documentaries into a new dimension," commented Salkeld.

Best Film on Mountain Culture
Spain. Director: Jesús Bosque. Producers: Guillermo Campo, Jesús Bosque

The Mountains of Yesterday
By the 1940s, nearly all of the peaks of the Riglos region in Spain had been climbed. All except one particular pillar – a dangerous, steep and crumbling tower of rock that, because of its shape, remained a fascinating goal. It took several attempts to finally climb the peak. This dramatic re-enactment captures the feeling of the era in a compelling way.

"It was difficult to decide which category this film fell under," said Leo Houlding. "Although it was very much a climbing film, well made and full of nail-biting reconstructions, we felt it also told a story of climbing's intimate history with a small Spanish mountain community and so also reflected mountain culture. Climbers, locals and events of the '50s and '60s, their ties with General Franco's regime, an inspiring yet tragic tale of human courage, loss and achievement – all are part of this film. A deep and captivating film."

Alpine Club of Canada Award for Best Film on Climbing
South Africa. Director: Nic Good. Producers: Nic Good, Charles Standing

Oceans of Fear
In 1984, Andy De Klerk and Greg Lacey aid-climbed a route up the centre of an overhanging expanse of rock in the Klien Winterhoek Mountains of the Western Cape, South Africa. Andy returned to freeclimb Oceans of Fear several years later and vowed to complete the experience by coming back to freeclimb it and then BASE jump off the summit. This is the documentary of that BASE climb.

"Every aspect of this film was outstanding," said Kitty Calhoun. "The joy of climbing and being in the mountains was expressed in this climbing film as in no other. We were totally captivated."

Special Jury Award
UK. Director/Producer: Alun Hughes

From Nowhere to the Middle of Nowhere

Using one solitary camera, From Nowhere to the Middle of Nowhere captures the raw adventure of the first crossing of western Nepal by paraglider, undertaken by pilot John Silvester and filmmaker Alun Hughes in May of 1999.

Jury member Leo Houlding commented: " Many of the adventure films in this festival are made with the aid of a helicopter. To make a film about flying over the Himalaya, without such assistance or ground support, is a truly remarkable achievement. An alpine-style production if you like! The film documents an adventurous quest to far-off inaccessible lands in an experimental and effective way, giving us a beautiful glimpse into the lives of the people who live here. Original, exciting, inspiring - we felt this film deserved special mention."

Nominated Films
This year's festival finalists were selected from 138 entries representing twenty-two countries. An international jury consisting of Kitty Calhoun (USA), Dr. Thomas Hornbein (USA), Leo Houlding (UK), Audrey Salkeld (UK) and Junko Tabei (Japan) chose the winners in four categories: best film on climbing, best film on mountain culture, best film on mountain environment and best film on mountain sport.


A Look Back; Lee Goss, USA 

Bonington's Secret Mountain: Episode 7
Martin Belderson/Chris Lister, UK 

Freya - Honeymoon on a Big Wall
Jochen Schmoll, Germany 
Il était une voie Edlinger [Once upon an Edlinger Climb]
Gilles Chappaz/France 3 Montagne, France 

Le Dolomiti di Pietro
Fulvio Mariani/Enzo Pelli, Switzerland 

Lost on Everest [festival version]
Liesl Clark/WGBH, USA 

The Making of Extreme: Rock Climbing
Jon Long, Canada 

The Mountains of Yesterday
Guillermo Campo/Jesus Bosque, Spain 

National Geographic Explorer: Hitting the Wall
Andrew Carl Wilk/Michael Rosenfeld/David Hamlin, USA 

Oceans of Fear
Nic Good/Charles Standing, South Africa 

Passe-moi les jumelles!:
Premier de cordée, La grande crevasse - Le film des films 
[Pass Me the Binoculars!: 
Leader on the Rope, The Big Crevasse - The Making of the Films]
Benoît Aymon/Claude Delieutraz/Pierre-Pascal Rossi, Switzerland 
Stone Soup
Janet Rodden/Julia Barrick Taffe, Canada 

Wild Climbs
Tasmania; Richard Else, UK 

Wild Climbs
Colorado; Richard Else, UK 
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East Meets West - Mongolian Cowboys
Debra Karls/John Armstrong/John Wilcox, USA 

Francesco Santullo/Grivelart, Italy 

Their Home Is below Kanchenjunga
Pavol Barabas, Slovakia 

Jean Boggio Pola/Jean-Pierre Bailly, France 

Vision Man
William Long/Lars Ĺby, Sweden 
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Darwin's Evolutionary Stakes 
Andrew Horne/Deborah Szapiro, Australia 

Denali - Land of the High One
Andrew Manske/Ava Karvonen, Canada 

The Magic Trees of Assam
Paul Reddish/ORF; Austria 

Mark Stanger, Canada 

Mitsuhiko Imamori/NHK, Japan 

Voyage au coeur de la Fournaise
Rémy Tézier, France 
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Sponsored by
118 Days in Captivity of Ice
Pavol Barabas, Slovakia 

Belly Boat Hustle
Sandra Sawatsky, Canada 

Dirk Collins, Todd Jones, Steve Jones, USA 

Free BASE - The Depth of Air
J. Ruby/M. Marchand/S. Beaugey; France 

From Nowhere to the Middle of Nowhere
Alun Hughes, UK 

Kiwi Wildwater - Women's Heli-kayaking in New Zealand
Debra Karls/John Wilcox, USA 

National Geographic Explorer: Tragedy on the Tsangpo
Simon Boyce/David Royle/National Geographic Explorer, USA 

New World Disorder
Jeff Lawrence/Derek Westerlund, Canada 

Soul Pilot
Dominique Perret/Rob Bruce/Vertical Zoo, Switzerland 

Traverse in the Land of Ayacara
Michael Brown/John Wilcox, USA 

True Fans
Dan Austin, USA 
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