Recently I returned from a remarkable two weeks in the heart of the Rockies of Canada where I attended the Banff mountain film and book festival. One of the largest, and long established festivals of its kind, it was an long held dream to attend, let alone have my film screened. More unexpected, the series picked up the 'Peoples Choice Award 2011' and has been selected for the Banff World Tour which is currently touring. Order your copy for christmas on DVD here.
It was only in the end of September that I received an email, notifying me that the series had been accepted as a finalist in the competition, and that they would like me to attend to present it. At the time I was still in Mongolia, and so it appeared to be a long shot, both financially and time-wise with the deadline for my book approaching. Then however, more news came. On the basis of my book, I was offered a two week, fully paid 'fleck fellowship' to work in one of the writer's studios at the banff centre! In fact I was offered a studio that is an old boat that was transported from the coast in Vancouver and manouevered into the forest and turned into one of the most unique studios you will see.
In the end of October, after barely a week in Australia upon returning from Mongolia, I found myself headed to Canada, where the fragile signs of spring in Australia gave way to the icy grip of an early winter in the Rockies.
The Banff centre was at once a kind of revolutonary idea for me - a place dedicated to supporting people in the creative arts including writers, musicans, film-makers, and dancers. I soon fell into the routine of walking up 'tunnel mountain' for a daily vista of snow dusted, angluar peaks in the morning, then going to work after breakfast into the boat where I would often cross paths with elk and deer. One of the highlights of attending the festival itself was meeting the many other authors, film-makers and travellers at the event.
In particular it was a privelege to spend time with the renowned 'Dervla Murphy' - the Queen of Irish travel writing who began her career as an author in 1963 with the publication of 'Full Tilt' - the story about her solo journey by bicycle from Ireland to India with a revolver in her pocket. Since then she has written in excess of 20 books, but although in her 80s, when I first met her she pulled me off balance with her iron handshake. It wasn't long either before she demanded that I share a pint with her - 'no I don't drink during the day' was no excuse. "I am writing my most difficult book of my life at the moment" she explained. "I have just spent several months living in a refugee camp in Palestine, and I can tell you it is just unspeakable what is going on."
Over the days that followed during the festival itself, i travelled with her and her grand-daughter to Lake Louise, and spent many a break chatting. Her advice for writing books "I lock the front gate until the book is written!" she explained.
On the opening weekend of the festival I was fortunate to be able to present all four parts of the European version of the film that were played back to back - a marathon sitting of almost 3 hours. The 1000-seat Eric-Harvie theatre was packed, and it was the first time I had ever sat back and watched my own series from start to finish.
A week later, I was presented with the 'Peoples Choice Award' at the ceremony, and after a few more days in the boat was on my way back to Australia.
I am now in Mount Beauty, Victoria writing my book which is due for publication next November 2012. Tigon is by my side, and Khorloo is here from Mongolia.
In other news, the film also just won the 'Jury's award at the 'Bansko' film festival in Bulgaria. In total this mean that the film has won the following:
-Winner, Graz Mountain Film Festival 2010 (Austria), 'prize of the jury'
-Czech International festival of Outdoor films 2010 'Best Adventure Documentary'
-International mountain film fextival Teplice, Czech republic - 'Best Adventure Film'
-Banff International Film Festival (Canada), 'Peoples Choice Award'
-Bansko Mountain Film Festival, (Bulgaria) 'Prize of the Jury'
Best wishes to all.
from Tim, Tigon, and Khorloo.