Banff Mountain Film Festival & interview with The Himalayan Club

It was a balmy Sunday evening in Mumbai when we walked into the BN Vaidya Auditorium to attend the film screening of The Banff Mountain Film Festival (World Tour).

We reached early, to meet and thank our friends from The Himalayan Club – the force behind the India edition of the travelling film festival. We also wanted to get the best seats in the house. However, the auditorium was already half-full and we settled down in the nearest seats available.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is a prestigious mountain festival held in Alberta every year. The film competition is a sacred part of the festival & many filmmakers enter their films in the competition. Some of these films are chosen for the World Tour that travels to over 40 countries.

The auditorium quickly packed up to its full capacity. On offering was a line-up of 10 handpicked films. 10 stories from around the world that spoke of journeys of passion, tremendous courage, of facing fear head-on and of the heroic ability to disable disabilities of the mind & body through sheer grit.

We absolutely recommend you to attend this film festival when it visits your city. It’s inspiring and will encourage you to delve into your adventuring self – to push the borders of your self-imposed limits. The Himalayan Club is planning the screening in many cities across the country. The immediate screenings are in:

  • Delhi – 6.30pm Saturday, March 25th at the Indian Mountaineering Foundation Complex, 6 Benito Juarez Marg, South Campus, South Moti Bagh, New Delhi 110021. Registration and payment details.
  • Surat – 9am Sunday, March 26th at Rajhans Theatre, Gaurav Path, Dumas Road, Opp ISKCON Mall, Piplod, Tirupati Nagar, Surat, Gujrat 395007. Registration and payment details.

“The Himalayan Club was founded in 1928. It works tirelessly to espouse and promote the spirit of the mountains and encourages Himalayan travel and exploration. You can know more about them on their website and follow them on Facebook.”

We met with Divyesh Muni , Vice-President of The Himalayan Club to talk about the Club’s association with the festival. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Sherpa Soul: Tell us more about The Himalayan Club’s association with The Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Divyesh: The Himalayan Club has been hosting The Banff Mountain Film Festival since 2001. Initially, the screening was held only in Mumbai. Since 2015, we have been appointed the official host of the festival in India and we have been screening the festival in several cities and towns (around 10 locations each year). We hope to take the festival to as many locations as possible to encourage adventure.

Sherpa Soul: Who curates the list of films for the screening and what goes into choosing the final cut?

Divyesh: The Banff Centre offers us a choice of many films of different duration, genre, etc. which have been selected by them for the World Tour. Two or three of us (Vineeta Muni, Kalpesh Jain and I) go through the films and make an initial selection. I then have a discussion with the director of the festival at Banff and based on his recommendation, we finalise the selection and order of screening.

Sherpa Soul: Which film is your personal favourite from the line-up of films from the film fest?

Divyesh: From the current screening, I personally like ‘Metronomic ’, ‘ Ace and the Desert Dog ’ and ‘ Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out ’. All of these bring out a lighter side of adventure.

Sherpa Soul: The Himalayan Club is one of the oldest clubs in India pertaining to the Himalaya, with a very active Facebook following; what is the sense of responsibility the Club feels to these fellow lovers of the Himalaya?

Divyesh: We feel a great sense of responsibility to the community and try our best to provide authentic information to people. For the Facebook group, we have a team of 20 dedicated people who are admins of the group. The Himalayan Journal is one of the most authentic sources of information on the Himalaya. The Club is respected for the high standard of quality of its programmes and publications.

Sherpa Soul: The Himalayan Club is on its way to celebrating 90 years of being in 2018 – would you like to share some of the events planned to mark this milestone?

Divyesh: Through the year, we hope to hold seminars, film screenings at various locations in the country. We will be holding a photography competition during the year. We just released a special edition of The Himalayan Journal. His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be providing blessings to the Club in April – many members will be visiting Dharamshala for this. We also hope to conduct some treks and expeditions during the year. This is in addition to the normal e-news that we send out, scholarships we offer, the Kekoo Naoroji Literature Award and our gamut of regular activities.

Sherpa Soul: Your advice to the Himalayan traveller

Divyesh: Go and enjoy the mountains, regardless of age, sex etc. BUT be a responsible traveller and take special care of the environment.

Yes, we second that! And go now – book your seat for the screening in your city.