Radical Reels 2013, Highlights and Recap

Outrageous jumps, big air, crazy speed, insane verticals, and downhill, downhill, (and more) downhill. Sound familiar? Banff Mountain Film Festival’s Radical Reels Tour was in town! In case you missed it or want to relive the adrenaline-pumping action across mountains, road, river, and sky, here’s a recap…

The Mountaineers kicked off Rad Reels 2013 with freestyle mountain biking film, Lacon de Catalonia, shot at FMX pro, Andreu Lacondeguy’s mountain bike training compound in Barcelona. The 13-meter tall (41+ ft) run-in and mountainous dirt ramps made for some huge air, sweet tricks, and a thrilling way to get the night started…

Next up, free skiing in Norway. Being There featured a group of intensely determined and committed athletes who would not let anything get in the way of their shot at massive air and epic snow. I’m still on the fence if it’s inspiring or just crazy to ski with a freshly dislocated shoulder, but hey… no question, he was there, living in the moment. [Video] Jaw dropping tricks and breathtaking scenery (7 min).

Now, what would Radical Reels be without death-defying flying sports? (Queue: Wingsuit Downhill Target Punch!) Alexander Polli takes human flight to the next level, challenging what’s possible in precision and accuracy. Using a special slalom gate for target practice, he attempts to hit the top of it (just a few feet from the ground!) with his left hand as he flies past. Spoiler alert: he nails it! Polli also gave us glimpses of his wingman (literally) behind the camera; a good reminder of the talent, athleticism, and relationship it takes to not only be an extreme sport athlete, but to capture it. Can you imagine?! [Video] You want this guy for your quidditch team (5 min).

Switching gears (and elements), the fourth film of the night took us to whitewater in northern Quebec. Of Souls + Water – The Shapeshifter beautifully captures kayak legend, Ben Marr, shredding it on the river, with an epic ending in red, backlit rapids at night. Perfectly paired with electrifying beats, Forge Motion Pictures proves extreme sport (filmmaking) is an art. [Video] Hypnotizing cinematography (2 min).


This brings us to legendary mountain film storytellers, Reel Rock, for Reel Rock 7: La Dura Dura (The Hard Hard). Banff Centre describes it best:

Chris Sharma vs. Adam Ondra. This is a tale of two rock climbing superstars each using their own methods in a gentlemen’s battle for the first ascent of Catalunya’s La Dura Dura, which was to be the world’s first 5.15c.

Youth vs. experience, strength vs. strategy, journey vs. summit. Whether you’re a climber or not, Reel Rock never fails to tell a good story that entertains and transcends the sport. At the time of the film, neither climber had a successful ascent of La Dura Dura. However, February 7, 2013 Adam conquered it first, with Chris Sharma not far behind, sending the 5.15c beast on March 23. [Video] Laugh & growl out-loud (2 min).

Ready for more mountain biking? Where the Trail Ends takes you across continents to maiden mountain biking territory in China, Canada, Argentina, and Nepal, reminding us “it’s human nature to want to explore” and mountain bikers seek the same uncharted backcountry lines as other mountain and action sport athletes do. This is a whole new level freeriding and these guys shaping its future. [Video] See where this sport is headed (4 min).

Every sport has a proving ground. For us… It’s been Utah. But the sport is still young, and we still won’t know until we step out of our comfort zone and off of this continent.

Finally, it’s time to see some girls getting in on the high-speed action. Endless Road features seven female riders of the Longboard Girls Crew. Tired of being the only girls, they started connecting with other female skaters around the globe through Facebook, making friends, and sparking a movement. It was fun to watch these girls taking on crazy roads by skateboard and inspiring all of us to change the gender label of not only skating, but in the larger action and mountain sport community. [Video] Watch these girls shred! (3 min).

Another familiar face to the Radical Reels family, Teton Gravity Research takes us back up to steep mountains and through cornices for some “psycho lines” with Jeremy Jones. Further follows Jeremy into deep backcountry and down heart-stopping, near-vertical lines on his quest to evolve physically and mentally. [Video] (Rethink) What’s the furthest you can go? (3 min).

Seclusion from society is what draws me to it. I come out here, just living in the most simple, most enjoyable way… Part of our soul needs it. Some of us more than others.

From steep and fast, to fast and furious, Whitewater Grand Prix- Big Water Enduro captures the fun, wild frenzy of the world’s best kayakers racing down whitewater in Chile. “You’re either getting chased, or chasing.” Go! [Video] Watch the high-speed water chase! (1 min)

Two more left — jumping across mountains and snow, and racing down roads in a futuristic suit of wheels. Wanna Ride? is playful, aerial duet of kite skiers (is that a sport yet?), catching flight, doing tricks, and skipping slopes.  [Video] You’ll want to join them, too (3 min).

And closing out the night, The Rollerman! Jean-Yves Blondeau is the French daredevil inventor of the now famous roller suit. After attaching 31 rollerblade wheels to a body suit, he speeds down roads up to 70 mph(!), just inches from the ground. If you watch nothing else, press play here!

Perfect bookend to another awesome Radical Reels Film Festival. See you next year!

YouTube Playlist
Full Film List on Radical Reels Website

You can still catch the Radical Reels Film Festival World Tour in other parts of the country and internationally. Check local listings on the Banff Centre website. And for those of you in the Seattle area, The Mountaineers hosts a TON of cool events and programs year-round. Coming up April 20, 2013 join them for Everest 50 – celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first American ascent of Mount Everest with special guests (history maker himself), Jim Whittaker, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. See The Mountaineers website for other rad happenings!