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VIMFF 2018 Film Awards

VIMFF 2018 GRAND PRIZE

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The Last Honey Hunter

Director: Ben Knight

The Last Honey Hunter documents one of the few remaining cultures to harvest the wild hallucinogenic honey from jungle cliffs deep in the remote valleys of eastern Nepal. The film follows Maule Dhan Kulung – the last man in Saadi who knows the ancient ways of the harvest – on his last trip to the cliffs.

There was no arm wrestling over our choice for Grand Prize. The Last Honey Hunter is expertly executed, beautiful film making. It’s a thoughtful and poignant portrait of a man whose job is as dangerous as it is cursed, set against the community of his small village. Often poetic and at times meditative, the film immediately brings the viewer deep into the Napalese mountains and a culture that is rooted firmly in tradition. The effect of the cinematography is almost a tactile experience, immersing the viewer into the experience. The dramatic tension is palpable and is built well through the film’s pacing, sound design and compelling verite moments. The Last Honey Hunter is riveting and a testament to the people and the spirit of the mountains in which it was shot.

– VIMFF 2018 JURY

BEST ADVENTURE FILM

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BLOOD ROAD

Director: Nicholas Schrunk

The mysteries surrounding her father’s death in the Vietnam war lead ultra-endurance mountain biker Rebecca Rusch on an emotional journey as she pedals 1200 miles of the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Rebecca Rusch and Huyen Nguyen cycle the Ho Chi Minh Trail to reach the crash site and final resting place of Rebecca’s father, a U.S. Air Force pilot who was shot down over 40 years earlier. Beautifully executed, Blood Road interweaves a stunning 1,200 mile endurance cycling trip, the history of the Viet Nam war, and the journey of one woman to reconnect with a father who disappeared in a plane crash. Part history lesson, part endurance film, this is a beautifully shot story about forgiveness, in which two women reach across decades of strife to work as a team in reclaiming Blood Road as a site of hope.

– VIMFF 2018 JURY

BEST MOUNTAIN CULTURE FILM

Presented by the BCMC

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LOVED BY ALL: THE STORY OF APA SHERPA

Director: Eric Crosland

Apa Sherpa has climbed Mount Everest 21 times, more than any other human. But he wouldn’t wish this upon anybody. Having grown up in the remote Khumbu region of Nepal, Apa was forced to leave school and work as a porter at the age of 12. His dreams of being a doctor forever lost. It is a story all to common for the Sherpa people of Nepal, a story Apa aims to change with his work at the Apa Sherpa Foundation.

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Visionary in its shooting, Loved by All, the Story of Apa Sherpa, tells the tale of a man who has ascended Mount Everest more than any other person. Hybrid in form, pure documentary content in terms of story, Loved By All is a strong vision, brilliantly executed. Ultimately, this film takes on the monumental adventure tourism empire that is Mount Everest, and the toll this industry takes on the rural people of Nepal.

– VIMFF 2018 JURY

BEST CLIMBING FILM

Presented by the Alpine Club of Canada

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PSYCHO VERTICAL

Director: Jen Randall

Based on his best-selling auto-biography Psycho Vertical, this is a raw and emotive study of the complex life and motivations of writer, funny-man and Britain’s unlikeliest hero-mountaineer, Andy Kirkpatrick, woven into an 18 day solo ascent of El Capitan, Yosemite.

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The Jury found this film to be direct and nuanced at the same time, treating important and difficult questions that are seldom brought up within the context of climbing. It engages gently, setting a tone, but circles back with considerations about self-image, doubt, family, love, obsession and escape. It presents as very human and doesn’t insist on anything, and it falls far short of drawing a conclusion, yet it is somehow endearing – showing us the fragility in ‘hardcore’. Often telling three different stories at the same time, this work is nevertheless one piece, holding its focus throughout, with polished editing, intense visuals, and a strong connection to the viewer during the narrative. Then it leaves you with a tentative smile, rather than a slap on the back.

– VIMFF 2018 JURY

BEST CANADIAN FILM

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IMAGINATION

Director: Dave Mossop

Have you ever been that little kid sitting in the back seat of your parents car, wishing you were somewhere else? At the ski hill, on your bike, anything but on the road, listening to your parents talk about boring adult stuff.

So you imagine a skier on the side of the road, your fingers commanding back flips and roof drops, improbable rail slides and huge airs.

Well what if your imagination came to life? Join us as we travel the streets of Nelson, British Columbia through the eyes of a young boy who manages to bring professional urban skier Tom Wallisch to realization. Together, they turn an otherwise drab winter commute into an ski adventure for the ages.

Imagination is five minutes of pure joy. Removing viewers from the stresses of everyday life, this delightful short film captures the playfulness and whimsy of childhood, through an extremely well-conceived and tightly-composed urban ski adventure. Just when you think you can’t have more fun, the final frames elevate the narrative to the next level. JP Auclair would be appropriately stoked.

– VIMFF 2018 JURY

BEST MOUNTAIN SPORTS FILM

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IN CONSTANT MOTION

Director: Cameron Sylvester

Adam Campbell’s life has revolved around motion. As one of the world’s top ultra runners, his mantra has been simple: ‘If you’re not moving, you’re dead’. This life of movement came to an abrupt halt on August 30th, 2016, when he experienced a near fatal accident while attempting a traverse through Roger’s Pass in BC, with runners Nick Elson and Dakota Jones.

Coming back after an injury or accident is a common theme in film, and an easy one to play for sympathetic applause and budget heroics. When an elite athlete is forced to compete again as an everyman, it is easy to feel a great loss, or the end of things. Yet, this story moves on quickly and honestly from its dramatic beginning to relocate the true value underlying a simple activity. Full of joy and humanity, the main character is vibrant and solid, the landscape is a major supporting player, and the narrative comes to you from the screen rather than the script. Good filmmaking, this one takes us to the core of our life spent outdoors.

– VIMFF 2018 JURY

BEST ENVIRONMENTAL FILM

Skiers: Chris Rubens and Greg Hill Location: Monashee Mountains, BC

THE CURVE OF TIME

Director: Jordan Manley

Due to climate change, by 2050 ski seasons will be markedly shorter. Lower elevations will receive significantly less snowfall. Two veteran professional skiers contemplate the impact their love for adventure has on the very environment that sustains and fulfils them. As they peer into the future, they realize there is a more sustainable path ahead, but it won’t be easy.

For so many of us nature lovers and adventurers, it’s easy to forget the huge impact our lives have on the planet. With humour and levity, ‘The Curve of Time’ reminds us that there are lots of things we can – and should – do to minimize our carbon footprints. While talk of climate change can often bring people down, this important film reminds us that a clean energy future will mean loads of fun, and plenty of fresh pow.

– VIMFF 2018 JURY

BEST SHORT FILM

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DREAMRIDE 2

Director: Mike Hopkins

Step into a dream world were the trails never end. DreamRide 2 is the follow up sequel to last years award winning short film, DreamRide. Combining a Dr.Suess inspired narrative, mind blowing natural landscapes, and one dreamer on a mountain bike, this film will take you on an adventure like no other.

DreamRide 2 is a delightful short film that combines poetry with gorgeous cinematography and downright, fun-for-all mountain biking. Creatively written and skillfully edited, the audience is taken on a sweet storybook adventure through different worlds, covering vast and varied territory. It’s a playful and creative film that in its simplicity, brings the viewer back to the little kid inside.

– VIMFF 2018 JURY

JURY’S AWARD

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STUMPED

Director: Taylor Keating & Cedar Wright

“I don’t want to be known as just a one-armed climber,” says Maureen Beck, “I just want to be a good climber.” Maureen Beck may have been born missing her lower left arm, but that hasn’t stopped her from going hard. She takes whippers on 5.12 and crushes overhanging boulders, while shot-gunning beers. But she is not here to be your inspiration. “People say, ‘Look, a one-armed climber, now I have no excuses.’ I’m like, dude, you never had any excuses in the first place.” Maureen is here to crush the gnar — with one bloody stump helping her get to the top.

Stumped is an exceptionally well made film. The lead character Maureen Beck is a gem; irreverent, always entertaining and never taking herself too seriously. Her unabashed drive to climb a 12b route with her equally engaging climbing partner makes for a great story about a goal that doesn’t come easily. The film is very well constructed, hooking us off the top with Maureen’s cheekiness and bringing us into the world of adaptive climbing. The story of her confronting the same climb time and again, over months, is punctuated with creative and funny scenes and set-ups that aren’t just entertaining, but hit the point home that adaptive athletes are first and foremost athletes. Stumped is a very well paced film whose screeching-halt ending is a satisfying part of its brilliance.

– VIMFF 2018 JURY

VIMFF 2018 JURY

Teri Snelgrove is the Associate Producer at the BC & Yukon Studio of The National Film Board of Canada where she has worked on many documentaries including the acclaimed The Road Forward (Marie Clements), Debris (John Bolton), Bone Wind Fire (Jill Sharpe), Crazywater, (Denis Allen) Beauty (Christina Willings), and the interactive project, Bread (Mariette Sluyter). Teri is also working on a number of animated projects, including recently released The Mountain of SGaana (Christopher Auchter) and upcoming films, Shop Class (Hart Snider) and The Zoo (Julia Kwan). Teri Snelgrove is a Newfoundlander and a graduate of the film/video program at Emily Carr Institute (now University).

Karen Duthie is a Vancouver based director, story editor and filmmaker who has worked in factual television and independent film for 15 years. She won a Gemini Award for Best Direction for the television show Conviction Kitchen. Her documentary 100% Woman won many festival awards, including Best Mountain Biking Film at the 2005 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. When not immersed in story telling, Karen can be found riding mountain bikes on Vancouver’s North Shore, or surfing on Haida Gwaii’s North Beach.

David Dornian has climbed and skied for close to 50 years, in Canada and abroad. In previous lives he has competed in alpine freestyle events, led climbing expeditions, and been a Nordic ski instructor. He is currently the Chair of the Alpine Club of Canada’s Ski Mountaineering Competition Committee and manages the club’s summer mountaineering camps. Stevenson’s Treasure Island first kindled his fascination with stories of outdoor adventure, and he has been a junky for mountain video since the days when Warren Miller did standup, and Brown and Patey climbed The Old Man of Hoy for the BBC.

Brendan Glauser is a marketing communications professional, currently managing communications for the David Suzuki Foundation. Brendan initially studied journalism at St. Thomas University on the East Coast, and went on to work for the CBC as a radio and television reporter. He has also completed a master’s degree in popular music and media studies from the University of Western Ontario. Living in Vancouver, Brendan enjoys getting doing anything that gets him out into nature.