Banff Film Festival World Tour

Best of Banff Film Festival comes to Helena and Billings

New & Notable

Experience the best of the Banff Mountain Film Festival with a selection of the best films from this year’s event coming to Helena April 27 and Billings April 29. This year’s line-up includes two films with Montana connections:

Dennis Aig (interim director of the Montana State University’s School of Film and Photography) and cinematographer Phillip Baribeau produced “Unbranded,” the lengthiest film in the lot, and winner of the People’s Choice Award. It tells the story of four men and 16 wild mustangs who set off on a journey across the American West from Mexico to Canada. In the spirit of true adventure, whiskey is drunk, tempers fly, tragedy strikes, and the bonds of friendship hold fast. But can the journey help save the plight of the wild horses roaming on public lands? Only time will tell.

Max Lowe's "Living Rivers – Surf" features Montana river surfers
Max Lowe’s “Living Rivers – Surf” features Montana river surfersPhoto © Max Lowe

“Living Rivers – Surf,” by Bozeman’s Max Lowe, explores a new and emerging river-surfing scene. “It’s the ever-curling wave in so many ways,” says founder of Strongwater Mountain Surf Company Kevin Benhardt. The standing waves themselves, formed by rock features that sit along the riverbeds, actually do curl and break for as long as the water flows sustain them. However, it’s more about the water itself and the journey it takes that captivates Kevin and his motley crew of soul surfers based in Missoula.

Other selections include:

  • “55 Hours in Mexico”: Fly to Veracruz on a Friday, rent a car, climb the third-highest peak in North America, ski down and return to your desk Monday. How hard could it be?
  • “Builder”: Building trails and tricks for your mountain bike never gets old, no matter your age.
  • “Denali”: There’s no easy way to say goodbye to a friend, especially when they’ve supported you through your darkest times.
  • “The Important Places”: Using a mix of old 16mm footage and new visuals, a son rediscovers the necessity of returning to, and protecting, “the important places” in our lives.
  • “The Last Dragons”: An intimate glimpse at North America’s Eastern Hellbender, an ancient salamander as mythical as it is real.
  • “Nature RX”: A one-minute remedy for those moments when life feels too mundane or overwhelming.
  • “Pretty Faces”: A celebration of women who thrive in the snow.
  • “Project Mina”: A rare, intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the life of pro climber Mina Leslie-Wujastyk during a season on the World Cup bouldering circuit.

Film festival venues:

Helena: 7 p.m. April 27 at Helena Middle School (443-5360 or

Billings: 7 p.m. April 29 at Lincoln Auditorium (248-4555 or