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Mountain movie festival reaches new heights

FOR decades, fans of films and documentaries exploring mountain culture, sports and environment have been entertained by the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival.

The film festival, dubbed "the Oscars of outdoor documentary films," began in Canada in 1976 and this year marks the first time the festival tours China.

Following its debut in Beijing, the exhibition will run from this Friday until Sunday at the Shanghai Film Art Center.

A total of 20 inspiring and thought-provoking films about diversified mountain sports and cultures will be shown.

These films are by both first-time film makers and professionals working with companies such as the BBC and National Geographic. Audiences will be able to have face-to-face talks with the directors and protagonists.

"Finding Farley," which received the People's Choice Award, is about a family's incredible adventure to retrace the literary footsteps of famous novelist Farley Mowat. The film makers, Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison, along with their two-year-old son Zev and indomitable dog Willow, set out on a 5,000-kilometre trip - trekking, sailing, portaging and paddling from the Prairies to the Maritimes.

"Solo," another highlight of the exhibition, was named the Best Film on Mountain Sports. It tells the true story of Andrew McAuley, who sought to become the first person to kayak 1,600km from Australia to New Zealand across one of the wildest and loneliest stretches of ocean on Earth. However, 30 days into his voyage, New Zealand maritime authorities received his distress call.

According to Qian Haiying, an organizer of the festival's Chinese tour, the exhibition is also proof of the public popularity of documentary films when they're shown in cinemas.

"A lot of people are amazed by the superb cinematography and magnificent scenes in the outdoor documentaries," she says. "But in my eyes, the unique charm of this genre of documentaries is its insight into people's emotional worlds when they have already reached their limit."

Date: October 29-31

Venue: Shanghai Film Art Center, 160 Xinhua Rd

Tickets: 80 yuan for each screening

Tel: 6280-6088


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