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Banff Film Favorites Coming to Lebanon

  • The movie "Moonwalk" is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)

    The movie "Moonwalk" is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)

  • The film "Industrial Revolutions" will be among those featured at the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)

    The film "Industrial Revolutions" will be among those featured at the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)

  • The movie "Ernest" is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)

    The movie "Ernest" is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)

  • The film "Lily Shreds Trailside" is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)

    The film "Lily Shreds Trailside" is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)

  • The movie "Moonwalk" is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)
  • The film "Industrial Revolutions" will be among those featured at the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)
  • The movie "Ernest" is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)
  • The film "Lily Shreds Trailside" is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 30. (Courtesy photograph)

There’s almost no place on earth that doesn’t boast a film festival, so why should mountains be any exception?

Right now the Sundance Film Festival is being held in Park City, Utah in the Rocky Mountains, and there’s the Banff Mountain Film Festival, held annually each November, in the Canadian Rockies. But if you can’t get to the Canadian Rockies, then let them come to you via the Lebanon Opera House, which will screen selections from Banff on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m.

The two-hour anthology, said Tom Widing, who selects the films for American distribution through his company Chestnut Mountain Productions in Philadelphia, is a “nice palette of films.”

Ten films of varying lengths made the cut out of nearly six hours of programming, said Widing, and they show a cross-section of subjects, from mountain sports and adventure to kayaking and biking.

The festival includes Reel Rock 7: Honnold 3.0, a half-hour profile of American rock climbing star Alex Honnold, who attempts one of this country’s most difficult feats of mountaineering: ascending Yosemite National Park’s three most difficult rock faces, Mount Watkins, El Capitan and Half Dome, in succession and in under 24 hours. He does this solo, relying not on safety equipment but his own experience, athleticism and instincts. A New York Times article this summer noted that the ascent of all three (called the Triple) totals about 7,000 vertical feet.

“He’s an incredible athlete and it takes an incredible amount of guts to do what he does,” Widing said.

Another highlight of the festival, said Widing, is Crossing the Ice, a documentary that follows two Australians who try to cross Antarctica unassisted (no dogs, no vehicles, no support teams) to the South Pole and back. Many have tried to cross Antarctica, and many have died in the attempt, including the legendary 1915 expedition led by English explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Will the two-man Australian team make it, or will they be beaten by a Norwegian explorer who has a head start?

“One of the things that makes (the films) special is they’re character-driven narratives,” Widing said. “One can say that most filmmakers make films to get people into theater seats, but these filmmakers make films to get people out of their seats.”

For tickets and information, call the Lebanon Opera House Box Office at 603-448-0400 or go to www.lebanonoperahouse.org. For a complete listing of the films being shown, go to www.chestnutmtnproductions.com/banff/hanoverhome.htm. Tickets are $21 in advance, students $18; $23 at the door, students $20.

Nicola Smith can be reached at nsmith@vnews.com or 603-727-3211.