Banff Awards ‘North of the Sun’ Film Grand Prize


Norwegian adventurers Inge Wegge and Jorn Ranum had heard about some legendary surf waves high up in the north Atlantic Ocean, in an island bay off the Norwegian coast. To test the rumor, they traveled to the island, built a hut out of driftwood and found materials, and spent nine cold, dark winter months north of the Arctic Circle riding the waves. Their film of this unlikely adventure, “North of the Sun,” has won the Grand Prize at the 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

“If it’s possible to have a perfect adventure film, then this year’s Grand Prize winner comes about as close as you can get,” said 2013 jury member Richard Else. “A highly original adventure that’s captured in a film planned to perfection: a wonderful story, engaging personalities, breathtaking camera work and expertly edited. It should be no surprise that this was the unanimous choice of the jury. If you ever thought the people of Norway are just a bit different from the rest of us, you must see this film.”

Created 38 years ago, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The Festival showcases the world’s best films, books, and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment, exploration and adventure, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and extreme sports as presenters and speakers. More than 80 films were screened during the nine-day festival, and an international jury awarded more than $50,000 in cash and prizes in 12 categories.

Category winners for the 2013 Banff Mountain Film Competition include:

Grand Prize—Sponsored by MEC
North of the Sun Producer: Anne Bergseng, Director: Inge Wegge, (Norway)

Award for Creative Excellence—Sponsored by Sole
The Secrets of the Glom Mountain Producer: Terya Dale, Director: Tom Edvindsen, NRK (Norway)

Best Feature-length Mountain Film —Sponsored by the Town of Banff
The Summit Producer / Director: Nick Ryan, Image Now Films (Ireland)

Best Film — Exploration and Adventure—Sponsored by Nemo
Maidentrip Producer: Emily McAllister, Director: Jillian Schlesinger, (USA)

Best Film — Mountain Culture— Sponsored by National Geographic
High Tension Producer / Directors: Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen, Zachary Barr, Josh Lowell, Sender Films (USA)

Best Film — Mountain Environment and Natural History—Sponsored by Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
The Last Ice Merchant Producer: Jeremy Yaches, Director: Sandy Patch (USA)

Best Film — Climbing—Sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada
The Last Great Climb Producer / Director: Alastair Lee, Posing Productions (UK)

Best Film — Mountain Sports—Sponsored by Live Out There
Heaven’s Gate Producers: Iiro Seppanen, Director: Nic Good, Pan Pacific Entertainment (Finland)

Best Film — Mountain Wildlife—Sponsored by ExOfficio
Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo Producers: Jeff Turner, Sue Turner, Director: Jeff Turner, River Road Films in association with CBC, BBC, WNET Nature, PBS (Canada)

Best Short Mountain Film — Sponsored by The North Face
35 Producer: Fitz Cahall, Directors: Nasa Koski, Austin Siadak, Matthe Van Biene, Duct Tape Then Beer (USA)

Special Jury Mention
Keeper of the Mountains Producer : Scott McElroy, Director: Allison Otto, Small Dog on the Go Productions (USA)

Special Jury Mention
A Fine Line Producer: Jordi Lorenzo, Director: Sebastien Montaz-Rosset, Montaz Rosset, Lymbus (Spain)

People’s Choice Award — Sponsored by Treksta
North of the Sun Producer: Anne Bergseng, Director: Inge Wegge, (Norway)

People’s Choice Award for Radical Reels — Sponsored by Bergans of Norway
The Sensei Director / Producers: Josh Lowell, Nick Rosen, Brett Lowell, Peter Mortimer, Big UP Productions. Sender Films (USA).

The Dolby Audio Award, chosen by Dolby Digital sound engineer John Loose, was given to Wenge and Ranum as well, for North of the Sun. The purpose of the award is to help filmmakers produce surround DVD soundtracks for their projects while helping The Banff Centre further its goals in audio education and quality sound. The award provides $10,000 in studio services and staff expertise in the Centre’s facilities.

Jury members in 2013 included adventure filmmaker Richard Else, Slovenian mountaineer and filmmaker Silvo Karo, independent film distributor Benjamin Oberman, National Geographic Channels Worldwide Director of Global Acquisitions and Co-Productions Maggie Rhodes, Kerry Stauffer, Executive Director, Film and Media at The Banff Centre, and John Loose, Dolby Laboratories Senior Manager, AV and Media Production.

Details courtesy of the Banff Mountain Film Festival

The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to the generous support of MAKO Surgical Corp. If you experience chronic hip or knee pain it might be time for a replacement. Ask your doctor if you’re a candidate for MAKOPlasty. I’m glad I did.

JamesMills_bioJames Mills is the mastermind behind The Joy Trip Project, a newsgathering and reporting organization that covers outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living. The unabriged version of this article can be found at

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