Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival

National Geographic Live is the D.C. host of what is billed as "the largest adventure film tour on the planet."

Walking on Clouds

Every fall, organizers of Canada’s Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival summon the world’s finest mountain filmmakers to its locale in the Canadian Rockies.

After the festival, they then select and package an assortment of the year’s more notable films, particularly those with shorter runtimes, into programs for a World Tour of screenings in over 40 countries, including multiple stops in Canada and throughout the U.S.

For over 25 years, National Geographic Live has served as the D.C. host of what is billed as “the largest adventure film tour on the planet.”

The 2023 edition features a slate of two-dozen short films, shot on location and spanning multiple countries and continents around the world, showcased in three programs, each screening twice during six days of scheduled programming.

First up are the eight films in the Aspen slate, screening Monday, Jan. 30, and Thursday, Feb. 2, including:

Walking on Clouds, a seven-minute short from Brazil following along as Rafael Bridi attempts the highest highline record in the world, with his line set dramatically above the clouds.

Sheri, a 19-minute American short detailing the hurdles that Sheri Tingey overcame as she launched a company at age 50 that has gone on to revolutionize the outdoor industry.

Colors of Mexico, rider Kilian Bron’s view of Mexico from the tops of its most active volcanoes to the steep and colorful streets of historic villages.

Eco-Hack!, about American biologist Tim Shields’s quest to intervene in the plummeting tortoise populations of the Mojave Desert on account of its ballooning populations of ravens.

And Clean Mountains, following along as a Sherpa family climbs Mount Everest during the pandemic to clean up the garbage left behind, “restoring the holiness of the mountain and calming the gods.”

Next are the eight films in the Willow slate, screening on Tuesday, Jan. 31, and Friday, Feb. 3, and including:

The Fastest Girl in the Village, about Khothalang Leuta, who never imagined she could become a bike racer growing up as a girl in Lesotho.

Wild Waters, a 45-minute profile from Switzerland of Nouria Newman, the most gifted kayaker of her generation.

Free to Run, a look at UN human rights attorney and mountain runner Stephanie Case, taking on her most challenging ultra-race yet while also struggling to find a way forward for the Afghan women of her NGO.

Creation Theory, a journey from the interstellar birth of gravity and rhythm to their ultimate human creative expression of surfer on wave, snowboarder on peak, and musician on stage in the Westfjords of Iceland.

And Flow, depicting the aerial and symphonic journey of skier Sam Favret in the heart of a closed resort during the winter of 2021.

Finally, the eight films in the Juniper slate screen on Wednesday, Feb. 1, and Saturday, Feb. 4, including:

Before They Fall, a 40-minute Canadian film capturing the moment when a coalition of conservation groups, First Nation members, scientists, and land defenders block a logging company from accessing the last unprotected watershed in an old-growth forest on southern Vancouver Island.

North Shore Betty, a profile of Betty Birrell, who picked up mountain biking in the misty forests above North Vancouver at age 45 three decades ago.

Wood Hood, a profile of 15-year-old DeVaughn who gets his wish of retreating to a “quiet place” to escape the chaos and bullies of his New York City home on a weekend-long group camping trip.

Doo Sar: A Karakoram Ski Expedition Film, the adventure of Polish freeriders Andrzej Bargiel and Jędrek Baranowski at over 6,000 meters above sea level.

And Reel Rock 16: Bridge Boys, a 28-minute American short capturing “a horizontal big-wall adventure on the longest, most ridiculous crack climb ever attempted.”

All screenings at 7 p.m. National Geographic Live is at 1600 M St. NW. Tickets, including parking, are $35 for each of the three programs. Visit

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