Between the 21st and the 25th of November the town of Bansko will host the twelfth edition of the International mountain film festival – or, as it has become popular – Banskofilmfest. The organizers of the event are the association of the same name and Bansko municipality.

More than 110 movies from 28 countries (Afghanistan, Belgium, Bolivia, Denmark, Portugal and Sweden will be presented for the first time) will participate in the competition and retrospective programme of Banskofilmfest’ 2012. They will cover the whole spectrum of mountain sports – alpinism, extreme skiing, paraplanerism, rafting, B.A.S.E. jumping, mountain biking and so on. Film portraits of some of the greatest climbers of all time – Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Erhard Loretan – who have been guests of Banskofilmfest, will be played. Some of the movies are dedicated to unique achievements like the first flight around the globe in a plane, powered only by solar energy, or the stunning world records of Frenchman Serge Aviotte for descending into glacial caves. About 20 productions are concerning the culture and lifestyle of peoples, living in the mountains, and the ecological problems all around the planet. The same number of movies will introduce some of the wildest, hardest to access, most inhospitable and, because of that, most attractive places on Earth.

Some of the most famous travelers, adventurers, alpinists and extreme sports people will be among the official guests of the festival:

Thomas Huber (Germany) – together with his brother Alex Huber he is one of the greatest extreme sport climbers, author of some of the most difficult ascents on the most famous big walls around the world, he also practices B.A.S.E. jumping and wingsuit B.A.S.E. jumping,

Simone Moro (Italy) – currently the best high-altitude climber in the world,

Alex Honnold (USA) – world number one solo and speed climber,

Adam Pustelnik (Poland) – one of Europe’s strongest sport climbers,

wife and husband Alix von Melle and Luis Stitzinger (Germany) – high altitude alpinists and two of the most renowned extreme skiers of our time,

Wolfgang Fasching (in the middle of the picture, Austria) – one of the most famous extreme sports pepople of his country, an alpinist, a mountain biker and runner, world record holder for 24 and 48 hour riding,

Sandro Filippini (Italy) – long time deputy editor in chief and person in charge of extreme sports coverage for the biggest sports newspaper in Europe “La Gazzetta dello Sport“ (Milan).

The audience will also have the chance to get acquainted with the accomplishments of Bulgaria’s greatest alpinists, speleologists, travelers and adventurers for the past year.

A central part of Banskofilmfest’s additional programme is taken by a block of events, dedicated to children and the youth, to students from Bansko’s and the region’s schools. It includes:

–          “In the depths of the Universe: the evolution of our Sun and the stars as a whole” – an open astronomy lesson and observation of the night sky with a telescope, which will be taught by associate professor Alexey Zhalov (director of the BAS branch in Stara Zagora) and professor Penka Maglova,

–          “Caves and speleology” – an open lesson by Alexey Zhalov (long-serving secretary of the Bulgarian Speleological Federation, participant and leader of a tens of speleological expeditions throughout the world),

–          “Antarctica’s flora and fauna” – an open lesson by Ph.D. Hristo Pimpirev (director of the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute and pioneer of Bulgaria’s research in Antarctica) from “Sveti Kliment Ohridski” Sofia University,

–          “The children depict Pirin mountains” – an exhibition of children’s paintings,

–          “If I were the mayor of Bansko, I would…?” – an essay competition for students,

–          A specially selected film programme for children and adolescents.

A significant aspect of the additional programme will be the second Mountaineering academy, which includes seminars, lectures, meets and workshops:

–          “Extreme ski and snowboard in Pirin mountains”,

–          “Avalanches, storms” (with illustrations from films by the Tatry Mountains rescue teams),

–          “Pirin mountains’ caves” – of the Karst development in Pirin and its studying (Alexey Zhalov),

–          “Extreme conditions cinema” – a seminar by Jerzy Porębski,

–          “Traditional dancing from Bansko and the region” – a workshop, lead by Desislava Bahanova (“N. Vaptsarov” Bansko community center’s choreographer).

The rich palette is complemented by nine photography exhibitions:

–          “Sun temples and architecture from the Thracian kings valley” by Penka Maglova and Alexey Zhalov – a photo story about the specific architecture, spatial orientation and geometry of the sub-mound temples and auxiliaries in the Thracian mounds, discovered in the famous Thracian kings valley near Kazanlak,

–          “Steep dreams” by the talented photographer and mountaineer Alexander Penkov, who dedicated the work to the mountains (among which are the Alps and the Himalayas in Nepal) he has visited during the past years,

–          “Antarctica” (Bulgarian Antarctic Institute), telling the story of the quarter of a century of Bulgarian research of this continent,

–          “The history of the Bansko mountaineering school” (with photos from the archives of its most prominent representatives),

–          “Archive shots from the valley of Erma river” by Svobodan Tsvetkov from Dimitrovgrad, Serbia, made of unique photos of the gorge that inspired Aleko Konstatinov to exclaim “What? Switzerland?” in his travel writings of the same name,

–          “One hundred years Ricardo Casin”, dedicated to the legendary Italian alpinist, give as a gift to the International mountain film festival by the Mountain museum in Torino (Italy) – the biggest and oldest institution of this kind in the world,

–          “In Bulgaria’s mountains” (Viktoria Tsvetanova and Liubomir Monov),

–          “An international speleology expedition in China” (Alexey Zhalov, Kamen Bonev, and co.)

The Bansko mountain film fest association’s traditional “A heart for the people” award will be handed in during the festival

The international jury of the 12th Banskofilmfest will consist of:

–          Jerzy Porębski (chairman, Poland), producer, director, screenwriter and prize winner from Banskofilmfest’ 2009 for the “Polish Himalayas” series,

–          Luca Bich (Italy), director, cameraman and organizer of Cervino CineMountain Festival, in Cervinia, below the Matterhorn,

–          Radoslav Spasov (Bulgaria), one of the most distinguished Bulgarian film directors and cameramen,

–          Kamen Alipiev (Bulgaria), a journalist for BNT,

–          Ivan Obreykov (Bulgaria), a long-serving cameraman at BNT.

The festival’s organizers have their loyal partners this year too. These are the Italian Cultural Institute, the Polish Institute, “Goethe-Institut”, the embassy of the Austrian republic, and others. Our media partners include BNT, BNR, Bulgarian News Agency, the newspapers “Standart”, “7 dni sport”, etc.

The International mountain film festival contributes not only for the further strengthening of Bansko’s position, but of that of Bulgaria as a whole on the tourist and cultural map of Europe and the world, as well as for turning them into preferred recreational and enriching destinations.

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