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The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour is coming to Santa Cruz on Sept. 17th

See event info here.

We recently got to chat with Kathy Ferraro about her involvement with bringing these events to Santa Cruz. 

How long have you been bringing Banff Film Festival to Santa Cruz?

The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour is coming to Santa Cruz on Sept. 17th. We recently got to chat with Kathy Feraro about her involvement with bringing these events to Santa Cruz.

Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour Santa Cruz

UCSC Recreation brought Banff to Santa Cruz 30 years ago. While working at UCSC, I started coordinating the event in 1999, took a couple years away from it and have been doing it ever since.

About 16 years ago we brought the Radical Reels Tour to town. The Rio Theatre has been hosting this event for the past 8 years.

Banff decided to combine RR into the World Tour back in 2018 although many locations still offer an Adventure/Radical Reels driven playlist of films. The Rio has chosen to continue this format although this year’s films are specifically curated by the Banff Centre as part of the World Tour.

What was your inspiration to bring these films to Santa Cruz?

Since my background is in outdoor recreation, the Banff films line up with my interests. I attended the festival in Banff for the first time in 1998 and was blown away by the inspiring stories and experiences the films exposed me to.

I had seen the World Tour presented in Santa Cruz prior, but attending the festival in Banff was inspiration alone. It made me realize how much I wanted to share these films with our community to inspire others.

As one of your original sponsors of your shows, ASJ remembers the two-day venue up at UCSC 20 years ago. You have since grown to four nights and a new venue at the Rio Theatre. Can you tell us a little about this growth and moving the event off of campus?

We started our Banff screenings at Classroom Unit II on campus and the following year telecast into the room next door. I believe we sold out every year and after about 10 years outgrew that location.

When the Rio Theatre opened its doors we decided it would be better to host the films there where we could all be in one big theatre together to experience the films. As the popularity of the event grew and the films became more diverse and professional we actually hosted, at one point, three different sets of films for each show.

When we grew to four shows, we decided to stick with two programs, two nights each. This allowed us to have solid playlists to present to our community.

There was also a desire, in growing the eventto maximize the money we raised for the Wilderness Orientation Scholarship Program and additionally for our Leadership Programs at the University.

This current screening though is not affiliated with UCSC and is hosted only for one night which usually sells out in advance. The UCSC Banff screening will be back in February again, hosted by UCSC Recreation.

Each year you get to travel to Banff, Canada where hundreds of films are previewed at the annual Banff Center Mountain Film and Book Festival. Can you tell us a little more about that and how films then make it on to the world tour and eventually here in Santa Cruz.

I’ve travelled to Banff now for the past 20 years. I had no idea my first time what a comprehensive film festival they had including the Book Festival which I made sure to attend every year by arriving a couple days early.

This past year about 400 films were submitted to the festival which are then screened by a jury who selects which films will be screened in Banff. Thanks to the jury, film festival attendees and tour hosts, a “hot list” of potential films is made for World Tour consideration.

Then, the staff at Banff start their negotiations with filmmakers and producers to set contracts for the World Tour screenings. Tour Hosts also have a strong say when we come together and vote on films that we feel should be considered for the World Tour.

It’s quite exciting to be part of this process and it helps films, that might not have been considered, yet gain overwhelming support from Tour Hosts, to end up on the World Tour.

Last year was the Banff Center Mountain Film and Book Festival went virtual for its first time in 45 years. Can you speak to the difference in experience from seeing the films in an auditorium to viewing them at home?

Well, as much as I have appreciated the opportunity to see these films from home, there is nothing like seeing it on the big screen with an audience.

We were able to get back into the Rio Theatre for Top Dog (May) and Ocean Film (June) and it really showed how much better seeing the films on the big screen is. Hearing the laughter, feeling the tears, not to mention there are no distractions when viewing, such as you might have at home.

That said, I’ve watched all the Virtual Screenings that the Rio has made available, at home.

Do you have a personal favorite for this year’s upcoming films?

I would have to say my personal favorite is Cholitas. I had seen a two minute preview of this film about two years ago and couldn’t wait to see the finished project.

The backstory on these women is amazing. They are mothers, grandmothers, teachers and they love to climb. They love adventure. They love mountains. This is a huge undertaking for them to climb Aconcagua given their place in society, yet they have the desire, the strength and the support to do it.

It’s quite inspirational. They are each following their dream and they are able to share that take away with the viewing audience.

Do you have a personal favorite for this year’s upcoming films?

I would have to say my personal favorite is Cholitas. I had seen a two minute preview of this film about two years ago and couldn’t wait to see the finished project.

Are there any COVID-19 Protocols in place for this year’s event? 

The Rio Theatre reopening safety protocols, include proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid19 test within 72 hours for all shows, no exceptions.

Acceptable forms of proof are :

What time does the show open and where can people buy tickets?

Doors open at 6pm and showtime is at 7pm. You can purchase your tickets in advance here //  www.eventbrite.com

Cycling across Italy in 2018.

Bob and Kathy Ferraro at Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space Preserve this past Spring.

Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge

Hiking below Mount Rose in Diamond Peak area in June 2021.

Kathy Ferraro and Jamie Jamieson on the Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge Bike Ride.