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 Yellowstone Film Takes Top Prize at Banff Mountain Film Festival

A film that explores the value of wilderness in a modern world takes top honors at this year's Banff Mountain Film Festival. "Yellowstone - America's Sacred Wilderness" is the Grand Prize winner at the 26th annual festival. The film portrays both the exquisite beauty and the savage brutality of the natural world in Yellowstone National Park.

Film festival jury member Sharon Wood says "Yellowstone" "tells the story of
an ever-balancing ecosystem beautifully. This film is a very direct and intimate story about wildness." Fellow jury member Antonio Cembran calls the film "all-encompassing" and notes that it examines all aspects of the value of wilderness-ecological, economical, philosophical and political. 

"Yellowstone" was directed and produced by Hugh Miles and Shane Moore for ABC/Kane Productions (U.S.A.). The Grand Prize award of $4,000 is co-sponsored by Leadership Development at The Banff Centre and Eagle Creek Travel Gear.

The film festival's 2001 jury included: George Band (U.K.), Gauthier Flauder (France), Antonio Cembran (Italy), Harish Kapadia (India) and Sharon Wood (Canada). Two hundred and fifty films from 27 countries were entered in this year's competition. 

Other 2001 Banff Mountain Film Festival winners include: 

Alpine Club of Canada Award for Best Film on Climbing: "Desert Friction" (South Africa) Director: Nic Good, Producer: Brian Valentine, Production Company: Fresh Air Crew "Desert Friction" follows two leading South African sport climbers as they attempt to reach the summit of a 500-metre-high granite slab set in the desolate landscape of the Namibian desert. 

Best Film on Mountain Culture: "Mustang" (Slovakia) Director/Producer: Pavol Barabas, Production Company: K2 Studio  "Mustang" follows two friends who travel along an ancient trade route over the main ridge of the Himalayas in order to reach Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang, and secretly shoot a film. Jury member Antonia Cembran comments: "This film lovingly rendered in images and words the living conditions of a mountain people who have maintained their identity."

Best Film on Mountain Sports: "Jump!" (U.S.A.) Directors /Producers: Allen Hill/John Catto, Production Company: Alpenglow Film & Video "Jump!" profiles the remarkable sport of tower jumping in the fairytale-like countryside known as the Czech Paradise. 

Best Film on Mountain Environment: "Wild Asia: At the Edge" (New Zealand) 
Producer: Alan D'Arcy Erson, Production Companies: Natural History New Zealand Ltd./NHK/Discovery Channel/NDR Naturfilm Studio Hamburg Fernseh Allianz Set in Ladakh in northern India, "Wild Asia" is a rich portrait of life and
death at the vertical limit of mammalian life on Earth. Jury member Gauthier Flauder praises "Wild Asia" as "a rare documentary on an unknown region".

Best Short Mountain Film (15 minutes or less): "Will Gadd - This is Your Life" (Canada) Directors: Melissa Forman, Pat Morrow, Producer: Melissa Forman, Production Company: Sun Bear Productions "This is Your Life" is a quick, humorous introduction to multi-talented athlete and adventurer Will Gadd of  Canmore, Alberta. 

Best Feature-length Mountain Fiction Film: "A Time for Drunken Horses" (Iran) Director/Producer: Bahmar Ghobadi, Production Company: Mongrel Media Inc. "A Time for Drunken Horses" tells the moving story of five orphaned siblings struggling to survive in Iranian Kurdistan, very close to the border with Iraq. Jury member Harish Kapadia commends the young actors in this film for "their strong performances in conveying a very human story".

Special Jury Award "Mountain Men: The Ghosts of K2" (U.K.) Producer: Mick Conefrey, Production Company: BBC/TLC Mountain Men: The Ghosts of K2 chronicles the pioneer climbers of K2, Fritz Wiessener and Charles Houston, and their battle with the second-highest mountain in the world.

People's Choice Award: "Berserk in the Antarctic" (Denmark) Director: Kaare Skard, Production Company: TV2 Denmark "Berserk" is the incredible story of a 19-year-old from Norway who, with no prior experience at sea, sets sail for Antarctica in a small yacht named Berserk. The result is an adventure film like no other.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is an international competition featuring the world's best films and videos on mountain subjects. The annual event, organized by Mountain Culture at The Banff Centre, also features world-renowned guest speakers, seminars on current mountain issues, an adventure trade fair, mountain art and craft sale, and a climbing wall.

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