Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival – a taste of the action

Adventure overload! The UK & Ireland touring team is just back from the 44th annual Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Canada, a nine-day celebration of remote journeys and ground-breaking expeditions.

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival takes place every November in the stunning setting of Banff, Alberta, and is a gathering of adventurers, authors, photographers and film-makers from around the globe.

Prize draw time - Canada style! Picture by Jessica Wittman

“Our primary goal at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is to scout out inspirational films for the forthcoming UK & Ireland tour, and the standard of films was so high that our decisions this year will be particularly tough,” says tour director Nell Teasdale.

“But more than that, the festival is a celebration of the outdoor community that we’re so proud to be part of – people who live for wild spaces, mountain culture and escaping the rat race,” she continues.

“As hosts of the UK & Ireland Tour, it’s also a chance to catch up and compare notes with tour hosts from countries all over the world, from China to Australia, who are all dedicated to making Banff the inspirational world-wide movement that it has become.”

It's a win: film-maker Jen Randall accepting the award for Home, featuring British adventurer Sarah Outen. Picture by Jessica Wittman

British films did impressively at the festival, scooping two of the top awards. Piano to Zanskar, featuring 65-year-old piano tuner Desmond O'Keeffe on a quest to transport a 100-year-old, 80kg, upright piano from London to the remote heart of the Indian Himalayas, won the coveted Grand Prize. And Home, starring Oxfordshire adventurer Sarah Outen on an extraordinary four-year human-powered traverse of the globe, won Best Film for Exploration and Adventure.

The festival isn’t just about the films. Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear won Grand Prize in the book competition, with British author David Wilson winning the Mountain Fiction & Poetry award for his lyric poems in The Equilibrium Line. And a collaboration of UK authors, Helen Mort, Claire Carter, Heather Dawe and Camilla Barnard, won the Jon Whyte Award for Non-Fiction Mountain Literature with Waymaking: An Anthology of Women's Adventure Writing, Poetry and Art.

“The annual Banff Festival is an uplifting celebration of mountain culture and adventure, and we’re so excited to be bringing a taste of the action and the spirit of the festival to UK and Irish audiences in 2020,” says Nell. “We can’t wait to see you there.”

Visit to see a full list of winners from the 2019 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. The film programmes for the UK & Ireland tour will be announced in December; keep an eye on

It's snow time! The Banff Festival is held in the magical Canadian Rockies. Picture by Jessica Wittman