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Film fest returning to opera house

Mehreen Shahid

By Mehreen Shahid, Orillia Packet & Times

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES
The Banff Mountain Film Festival being showcased at Orillia Opera House on Thursday and Friday draws crowds from other cities including Lindsey, Markham, Midland and Barrie for sold-out shows.

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES The Banff Mountain Film Festival being showcased at Orillia Opera House on Thursday and Friday draws crowds from other cities including Lindsey, Markham, Midland and Barrie for sold-out shows.

Audiences are in for an adrenaline rush at the Banff Mountain Film Festival (BMFF) this weekend.

A touring show, sponsored by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, showcases a variety of films pertaining to mountain culture and high-energy sports or activities, explained Cheri Doman, owner of Sojourn Outdoors in Barrie.
“It can be sports, it could be rock climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking,” she said. “We’ve had films in there on fly fishing, films on just wildlife in general or films on nature – it’s just a whole wide variety.”
Doman’s business has been hosting the film festival for more than two decades, moving from Barrie to the Orillia Opera House in the past 10 years or so to take advantage of the larger space available two nights in a row.
“I love the inspiration that comes from all the people that like this show,” said Doman. “We have people that return year after year. People know the show and they love it.”
Tickets for both nights were sold out by the end of December, said Wendy Fairbairn, manager of the opera house.
“Tickets usually go on sale in October, just either before the Thanksgiving weekend or shortly thereafter,” she said. “(The) Friday-night show is sold out by mid- to late November and the Thursday-night show is sold out by Christmas. Most people are buying for themselves. They’re very enthusiastic about the subject.”
The film festival draws more than 700 people during the two days in January, which is a quiet month at the opera house with fewer programs offered because of unpredictable weather, said Fairbairn.
“In February, we start with our community theatre production of Death and the Maiden by Mariposa Arts Theatre Group,” she added.
The BMFF presents a selection of movies ranging in duration from two to 40 minutes. These features are entries to the yearly Banff Mountain Film Competition held in fall, with winners in several categories being showcased during the world tour.
The shows, on Thursday and Friday this week, start at 7 p.m. and usually last until 10 p.m.
“I like the energy in the room. Everyone is so excited,” said Doman. “They just love the whole idea of it. Every film is different and every film is new each year, so you never know what you’re going to see. And I like the fact that it’s for both the young and the seasoned adventurer.
“I think it’s a nice night for people to share in like-mindedness,” she added. “It gives them the opportunity to dream and be inspired about doing something new for themselves.”
For more information about other stops along the world tour, visit banffcentre.ca/banffmountainfestival/tour.


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