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austin johnson film awards vimff

VIMFF 2019 Film Awards

vimff film awards


zabardast vimff 2019 FEATURED


Director: Jerome Tanon

The intimate travel diary of an incredible freeride expedition into the heart of the Karakoram range. The search for one of the most beautiful mountains to ski on the planet, standing at 5880m. An adventure so remote, so high, so commited that no mistakes were allowed. During five weeks, the crew got deeper and deeper inside Pakistan, with a 150 km loop in complete autonomy, pulling sleds filled with food, tents and solar panels across gigantic glaciers. As far from home as one can get. A meeting point of Freeriding and Mountaineering. A true adventure.

Zabardast is one of those cinematic gems, far from your traditional ski movie. The story is a thrill from the beginning to the end, an invitation to dive into the intimate diary of three ski mountaineers without any filters. You’ll experience their fears, doubts, deception and happiness as if they were your own. “Zabardast” translated means « Awesome » but it is hard to some up this masterpiece with one word!

Liv Sansoz – VIMFF 2019 Jury


8000 vimff2019 2 featured


Director: Antoine Girard, Christian Schmidt

In July 2016, paraglider Antoine Girard set off on a three-week hike-and-fly tour to explore the Karakorum mountains in Pakistan— alone. From the town of Skardu, he heads for the highest peaks of the Karakorum mountain range. The Frenchman has already twice failed in his attempts to climb the 8,051-meter-high Broad Peak and paraglide from the summit down into the valley. Now, his hope is that the upwinds will carry him and his chute to the summit—and possibly beyond. If he succeeds, he will set a new altitude record in paragliding, but the air is thin between the 8,000-meter peaks, and take-offs and landings are extremely tricky. Especially when you only have yourself to rely on.

8000+ is the definition of a pioneering adventure. Antoine Girard pushes the boundaries of the unknown and human commitment with his solo flying trip through the high mountains of Pakistan. Not only does he manage to set a new paragliding altitude record but he also manages to document all of it by himself. A very impressive journey with an incredible man.

Liv Sansoz – VIMFF 2019 Jury


Presented by the BCMC

AscendingAfghanistan vimff 2019 featured


Director: Erik Osterholm

‘Ascending Afghanistan: Women Rising’ follows a group of 16-19 year old Afghan girls as they try to become the first female Afghan mountaineering team. It is a powerful and eye opening story of a group girls as they try to re-represent what it means to be a woman in an extremely restrictive culture. Its both beautiful and uplifting as well as sad and dis-heartening… it is a window into life in Afghanistan.

The Afghan women who embark on this trip to climb their highest mountains are risking everything by challenging the governing social contract and demanding their freedom. A complex and emotional documentary about the current political situation that is controlling and even ending the lives’ of so many.

Sofia Deniz – VIMFF 2019 Jury


Presented by the Alpine Club of Canada

vimff 2018 craig demartino mountain film festival guest speaker


Director: Cameron Maier

Since a 100 foot fall in 2002 that took his right leg and left him with multiple spinal injuries, Colorado climber Craig DeMartino has led one hell of a life, including lauded First Disabled and In-A-Day Ascents on El Capitan. But it’s his day-to-day story that really makes an impact.

Craig’s Reaction is a rough story – told in a fun and compelling manner about how to keep climbing, enjoying and embracing challenges when everything possible goes wrong. Craig is such an inspiring person, that he makes people feel happy and complete by reminding them what is important in life. His story is an example of overcoming difficulties in a very bright and unique way.

Sofia Deniz – VIMFF 2019 Jury


treeline vimff 2019 FEATURED


Director: Jordan Manley

Quietly, patiently, trees endure. They are the oldest living beings we come to know during our time on earth. They provide our shelter, our fuel, our companions, and—in some cases—our divinity. They are living bridges into our planet’s enormous past, their obscure stories written into their rings over centuries and even millennia. Treeline takes us to the enshrined cypress groves of Japan, the towering red cedars of British Columbia, and the ancient bristlecones of Nevada, following a handful of skiers, snowboarders, scientists and healers as they move through these giants and explore a connection older than humanity.

Treeline is a compelling and cinematic look at the earth’s oldest living ancestors. The Film personalizes climate change and our collective impact on the environment by diving deeply into the scientific and historical research of trees in British Columbia, Japan and Nevada. The storyline transcends geographic boundaries and leaves the viewer asking oneself what they can do to change this growing global epidemic. Profoundly moving, impactful and wonderfully directed. A must see film.

Jason Bagby – VIMFF 2019 Jury


ice and palms vimff 2019 8


Director: Jochen Mesle, Max Kroneck, Philipp Becker, Johannes Müller

Bikepacking across the alps and skiing some iconic mountains along the way – no motor allowed! Jochen Mesle and Max Kroneck are not your everyday freeski athletes, and they have realized their longtime dream. Their biggest and most extraordinary ski tour so far. In just five weeks the two friends have traveled from their homeland of Germany across the Western Alps to the Mediterranean by bicycles, and have skied the most beautiful mountains on the way.

Follow the funny, raucous and sometimes dangerous exploits of Jochen Mesle and Max Kroneck as they attempt a bikepacking and skiing mission through the Alps. Their adventurous six-week mission begins in Durbheim, Germany, and covers over 1,800Km of biking and over 35,000 meters of climbing and skiing before the duo more or less safely to the sea. A highly entertaining ode to human powered adventure.

Jason Bagby – VIMFF 2019 Jury


vimff the serengeti rules featured


Director: Nicolas Brown

Beginning in the 1960s, a small band of young scientists headed out into the wilderness, driven by an insatiable curiosity about how nature works. Immersed in some of the most remote and spectacular places on Earth — from the majestic Serengeti to the Amazon jungle; from the Arctic Ocean to Pacific tide pools – they discovered a single set of rules that govern all life. Now in the twilight of their eminent careers, these five unsung heroes of modern ecology share the stories of their adventures, and how their pioneering work flipped our view of nature on its head.

Blending stunning, spectacular nature cinematography and reenactments, the film maintains the tension of the thrilling narrative of their discoveries by these five passionate biologists. Not only does the film enlarge and deepen our understanding of global ecosystems, in an entertaining way that will certainly trigger vocations for ecology, it might well become a milestone in renewing the genre of great natural history film for large audiences.

Thierry Garrel- VIMFF 2019 Jury


surfer dan vimff 2019 FEATURED 2


Director: Tim Kemple

In a time when it can feel like you need to fly to the opposite side of the globe to find adventure and challenge. Surfer Dan proves that with dedication, grit and a little creativity you might already have all you need outside you own backdoor.

In barely 7 minutes with an elegant, witty and tender – though firm – paintbrush, Tim Kemple portrays a robust and genuine fellow in his challenging addiction to a most insane sport. The splendid white and blue icy colours of Lake Superior and Dan’s lonely exploits belong to the truly memorable art of documentary.

Thierry Garrel – VIMFF 2019 Jury


the lorax project vimff 2019 FEATURED


Director: Peter Wyllie

Six friends embark on a determined quest to climb, and then BASE jump ‘The Lorax’, a formidable climb on Frenchman’s Cap in remote western Tasmania. Surrounded by some of the most pristine wilderness in all of Australia, they contend with extreme weather and rugged terrain, relying on each other’s skills and humour to reach their goal.

A remote Tasmanian mountain, six friends, two extreme sports, a skillful use of visual tools, a quality music score and above all an acute sense of narration and visual storytelling : we especially enjoyed the cinematic dramaturgy, a mix of fun, technique and thrill, to depict more than a challenge, a joyful expedition up and down the breathtaking massive rock face of the magnificent Frenchman’s Cap.

Thierry Garrel – VIMFF 2019 Jury



Thierry Garrel is a documentary film producer and programmer. In France, he worked during four decades for public television and was knighted Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and Prix des Auteurs de la Scam 2015. He founded in 1987 and directed for 21 years the Documentary Department of La Sept and ARTE France, spearheading an ambitious production mission of discovering and fostering new talent, whilst also working with world renowned names in documentary cinema. Since 2009, he lives in Vancouver BC, works internationally as a consultant, mentor, curator, and tutors seminars and workshops focusing on young documentary creators and professionals.

Sofia Deniz is a freelance filmmaker, with 10 years of experience in different parts of the film production, from concept development, scriptwriting, preproduction, executing and post. She has grown up between the Canary Islands, Spain and Finland. For some years Sofia lived in Lyon, France, close to the Alps, producing local Mountain Films and is currently living and working in Vancouver, Canada. She loves the unknown and learning new things, while adventures are what bring meaning to her life.
jason bagby vimff jury

Jason Bagby is an adventure photographer, executive producer of adventure films and an aspiring filmmaker. He currently resides in Bend,OR.

liv sansoz vimff 2019 headshot 1

Professional climber, skier & paraglider, Liv Sansoz lives by the words of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln: “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” She began skiing in the French Alps aged 2 and had climbed Mount Blanc by the age of 14. In her teenage years, Liv took up climbing and at 18 had already won a World Championship, followed by many other international victories. In recent years, the soft-spoken and humble Chamonix resident has become an accomplished paraglider, which allows her to see her beloved mountains from yet another vantage point.