Pullman meets the great outdoors once again

The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival makes its 27th stop at WSU.



Festivalgoers watched films in the Compton Union Building Auditorium on Jan. 24.

JOSIE GOODRICH, Reporter/Copy Editor

The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour stopped in Pullman Monday and Tuesday, marking its 27th anniversary with WSU.

For nine days at the end of October and into November, the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival screens about 70–75 films curated from around the world, said Sabina Litherland, World Tour Program Coordinator. The films feature different genres associated with mountain culture, including climbing, skiing, surfing, paddling, mountaineering and the environment.

Following the nine-day festival in Banff, Alberta, around 3035 of the best films are selected to go on a World Tour, Litherland said. The tour starts Dec. 1 in Canada, making its way across the United States and 45 countries internationally.

“It’s pretty difficult to live in Banff and not love mountains and the culture and all the activities that are here, so we watch these films and we facilitate the screening of these films around the world because we’re passionate about the subject matter and about bringing important topics to audiences,” Litherland said. “It’s just great to see audiences get inspired by our content.”

Festival host Jonathan Stahl said that Monday and Tuesday night had eight different films showing, spanning different time lengths and topics.

“The best thing about Banff is it’s not just, for example, a bunch of ski films … there’s also climbing and kayaking,” Stahl said. “It’s taking the audience on a trip around the world and seeing some of the places that, frankly, we’ll never get to see, and it’s through the eyes of these folks who are our professional adventurers or that have that kind of caliber.”

On Monday night, there was a section focused on the Baffin Island and another focused on skiing the Karakoram, which is a mountain range in the Himalayas, Stahl said.

Another film was focused on the environment and how a group of scientists from the First Nations got together to protect a wilderness area in British Columbia.

“There was one called ‘Free to Run,’ and it’s about an Afghan woman who is running to promote human rights; she’s using running as a way to galvanize other women in Afghanistan,” Stahl said. “I don’t think we’ve had a film featuring her before and how timely and interesting and exciting it is to see all different types of films like that.”

In past years, the WSU film festival has consistently sold out the Compton Union Building Auditorium, which holds 475 seats, Stahl said. This was the first year WSU hosted the festival after two years of the pandemic, so ticket sales were down this year.

“It’s wild. It’s entertaining. It’s exciting,” Stahl said.”I think really it just leaves a lot of us feeling inspired to live our best lives in a really active and healthy way, and hopefully a more sustainable way.”