The 11th edition of the International mountain film festival will take place in less than a month – this is the most significant cinema forum of this kind in southeastern Europe, the biggest event in Bulgaria, dedicated to the mountaineering way of life, and it occupies one of the central places in the cultural calendar of Bulgaria’s winter and mountaineering capital – Bansko.

The festival will begin on November 23rd. It will end on November 27th. This year, the programme includes


Practically, the best production of the world cinema about mountain and extreme sports, the culture and style of living of mountain peoples, about preservation of nature in the mountainous regions, about adventure and traveling.

Some of the movies concern the history of alpinism and mountaineering around the world. “First atop Everest” (“Erster auf dem Everest”Austria, 2011, Gerald Salmina, 99’) tells about the 1924 mystery, created by the disappearing of Mallory and Irvine. “Mont Blanc’s Stars” (“Les Etoiles du Mont-Blanc” – France, 2000, Peter Latzko, 52) – with a commentary by Michael Lonsdale – presents the most important individuals in the history of Europe’s highest peak – beginning with Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, Jacques Balmat, Michel Gabriel Paccard, Albert Smith, Joseph Vallot, Jules César Janssen, Arnold Fanck and Roger Frison-Roche, to Jean Moine, Lionel Terray, Maurice Baquet, Gaston Rébuffat, Haroun Tazieff, Giusto Gervasutti, Walter Bonatti, to Patrick Gabarrou, Éric Escoffier, Christinne Janin, Michel Fauquet, and many more.

A number of movies is dedicated to some of the greatest alpinists of all time, like Edmund Hillary (“Beyond Everest” – Australia, 1980, Michael Dillon, 48’; “Sir Edmund Hillary – Beyond Everest” – Australia, 2000, Michael Dillon, 54’), Maurice Herzog (“On the Path of a Legend”/“Sur les chemins d’une légende” – France, 2010, Bruno Poirier, Jean-René Barillere, Fabien Brusson, 26’), Alberto Maria De Agostini (“End of the World”/“Fin del mundo” – Italy, 2010, Davide Demichelis, 52’); Jerzy Kukuczka (“Lhotse – Poker Game”/”Lhotse – partia pokru” – Poland, 2010, Wojtek Kukuczka, 28’; “Kukuczka” – Poland, 2011, Jerzy Porębski, 30’), and more.

The cult five-part film “Psychoanalysis-2” shows the most extreme forms of climbing and theсr most prominent practitioners. “Gravity Never Sleeps” (Switzerland, 2009, Pierre-Alain Hayoz, 56’), “Holtanna – an Adventure in Antarctica (“Holtanna l’Aventure Antarctique”France, 2010, Sam Beaugey, 52’), and “The Nest” (“Le Nid” France, 2010, Antoine Boisselier, Christophe Tong Viet, Nicolas Assael, 52’) lead the audience to the world of “air activities” – paraplanerism, B.A.S.E. jumping and wingsuit flying. “Mustang: Journey of Transformation” (USA, 2009, Will Parrinello, 30’ – narrated by Richard Gere) and “Dreaming of Tibet (USA, 2004, Will Parrinello, 60’) document the contact with some of the most exotic and enigmatic places on Earth.


and will be judged by an international jury, consisting of Ph.D. Boyan Byolchev (chairman), Daniela Checcin (Italy) – a long-serving director of the Trento Filmfestival (the oldest and most prestigious in the world) and now the curator of the local History museum, Maciej Wojak (Poland) – a film director, who has worked with Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Hoffman, Martha Messarosh, and other world-renowned directors, Radoslav Spasov – film director and cameraman, Ivan Obreykov – cinematographer, Ivan Popyordanov – director of the “Aleko Konstantinov” Satire Theatre and a hereditary mountaineer, Vladimir Karamazov – an actor at the “Ivan Vazov” National Theatre and a traveler.

As usual, two of the main accents of the festival programme will be the meetings and the lectures of the


who have always come from among the most famous adventurers, explorers, alpinists and speleologists.

For the first time, there will be a guest from Japan. This is Tamotsu (Tom) Nakamura, who will arrive in Bulgaria right after finishing his current Tibet expedition. He has been recognized as the biggest expert on the mountains in that areaр and is general director of the Japanese Alpine club journal (“The Japanese Alpine News”).

Coming from Austria is the legendary alpinist Ph.D. Wolfgang Nairz – leader of tens of Himalayan expeditions and initiator of the hang-gliding (with a deltaplane) in the highest mountains of the planet during the 70’s and 80’s of the 20th century. It was in his 1978 Everest expedition that Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler became the first people to reach the Top of the world without using supplementary oxygen.

This year one of the greatest mountaineering nations – Italy – will be represented at Banskofilmfest by Ermanno Salvaterra. Born in Pinzolo, he spent most of his childhood summers in the mountains at an altitude of 2500 m., where his parents ran the XII Apostles refuge in the Brenta Group of the Dolomites. He continues this family tradition to this day. He has made hundreds of ascents (some of them speed and/or solo) in his home Dolomites, world-class achievements in Yosemite (“Zodiac” and “Salathe” on El Cap), Colorado, Baffin Island (first ascent of the southwest ridge of Mt. Menhir), Alaska (the Messner couloir on McKinley), and especially in Patagonia. Ermanno Salvaterra has been there on 22 expeditions (first winter ascent of Cerro Torre, first ascents of “Parete Est”, “El Arca de los Vientos” and “Infinito Sud”, first ascent of “Magico Est” on the central Paine Tower, first repeat of the north ridge of the south Paine Tower, solo on “Via Monzino” on the south Paine Tower, second ascent of Cerro Standhardt, first ascent of El Mocho, first and solo ascent of “Rubio e Azul” on Torre De La Media Luna, second ascent of Aguja Saint-Exupery, first solo ascent of “Via Corallo” on Torre Innominata). He has completed a 400 km. traverse on Hielo Continetal (the Great Patagonia ice field). As an extreme skier, he has descended the north face of Cima Presanella, Scivolo Nord, “Canalone Neri” on Cima Tosa. In 1988 Ermanno Salvaterra set the national record of Italy for speed skiing – 211,640 km/h in Les Arcs. There he achieved 212,800 km/h in 2005. Together with his compatriot Elio Orlandi(who was a guest of the festival in 2010), Italian-Argentinian Rolando Garibotti, and American Colin Haley, he is acknowledged in the alpine sphere as the biggest expert on Patagonia. A mountain guide and a ski teacher, Ermano Salvaterra holds the Brenta Group and Patagonia closest to his heart.

After the first (Reinhold Messner), the third (Erhard Loretan), the fifth (Krzysztof Wielicki), and the 17th (Veikka Gustafsson) holders of the Himalayan crown had visited Bansko in the past, this year there will be another guest of the festival, who has climbed all 14 eight-thousanders – Ph.D. Piotr Pustelnik (20th, Poland).

Matthias Fanck from Germany will participate with a lecture, an exhibition, and two movies [one of the earliest examples of mountaineering cinema – “Cloud wonders over Maloja”/“Das Wolkenphaenomen von Maloja”, Germany, 1924, Arnold Fanck, 329 m, 12’; and “Storms over Mont Blanc”/“Stürme über dem Montblanc”, Germany, 1930, Arnold Fanck, 91’ with the participation of Sepp Rist, Leni Riefenstahl, and Ernst Udet (1986-1941, later the personal pilot of Adolf Hitler)]. He will tell about the work of his legendary grandfather Arnold Fanck (1889-1974) – the pioneer of mountaineering cinema, who filmed the first movies in the field and also discovered the talent of such future European and world cinema starts as Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003) and Luis Trenker (1892-1990).

Fabien Brusson from France is a cameraman, one of the biggest extremalists in his country, and an expert on super- and ultramarathon running in the harshest conditions. He has taken part in the top contests “Everest Sky Race”, “Annapurna Mandala Trail”, “Himal Race” (Nepal), “Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc”, “Grande traverse des Alpes”, “Verdon Trail Adventure” (France), “Marathon des sables” (Morocco), “La diagonale des fous” (Reunion Island), about which he will speak in front of the Bulgarian audience. He also participates in Banskofilmfest with two movies – “On the Path of a Legend” and “Higher, higher, higher…” (“Altius, Altius, Altius…”France, 2010, Fabien Brusson, Jean-René Barillere, 26’).

Sandro Filippini from Italy – deputy editor in chief of the largest European sports newspaper “La Gazzetta dello Sport” – will talk about his meetings with three great alpinist – Riccardo Cassin, Walter Bonatti and Reinhold Messner.

Igor Talevski from the Republic of Macedonia will introduce the climbing sites in his homeland.

Bulgarian participation will be impressive too. “The holy sites of Bulgaria” will be presented by Georgi Charakliev, creator of the largest website for sacred places on the Balkans. Leading speleologists will share their experience from two of the biggest Bulgarian endeavors this year – the expeditions in Albania (with a record descent in Maya Arapit) and Tibet. Kristina Georgieva and Milena Mihaylova’s talks will inform of the strong Bulgarian presence in Tian Shan this pas summer. Doychin Boyanov, Nikolay Petkov and Mihail Mihaylov will reveal the results of their reconnaissance expedition in Karakorum (Khane Valley), made before the attempt for a Bulgarian premiere there next year. Penka Muglova and Alexey Stoev will take the audience closer to the megalithic and sacred territories in the western part of the Rhodopes.

Certainly, it will be of interest to visit the organized for the first time as part of Banskofilmfest


Among its events are the seminars “Travel in Order to Explore!” lead by Penka Muglova and Alexey Stoev, and Sandro Filippini’s “Journalism and Reporting About Extreme Sports”. Head assistant professor Mihail Mihaylov, who teaches “Theory and Methods of Sports Training” at the National Sports Academy will talk about “Athletic Training for Rock Climbing” and will chair a workshop themed “Not Simply Climbing, but Training”. There are planned field trips for making a forecast about the weather in Pirin using local indications, and orienteering in that mountain.

An important part of the side-prorgramme of the festival is played by


There are: “The Corona – Pearl Light and Magic” by Penka Muglova and Alexey Stoev, “Through the Bansko Mountaineering School’s History”, photographs taken by pupils of the tourism course of the Agriculture and Tourism High School, “Antarctica” by the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute, “Along the Erma River” by Svobodan Tsvetkov, “Magic and Reality in the Mountains” by Viktoria Tsvetanova and Lubomir Monov, “The holy sites of Bulgaria” by Georgi Charakliev, “Bansko’s Children Draw Pirin” paintings.


(another “first time” for Banskofilmfest) will host the premiere of Ph.D. Boyan Byolchev’s book (his 28th) Antarctica – the Cosmos’ Eye”, which summarizes his most exciting impressions of the White continent. The public will also hear the most remarkable essays from the student contest in Bansko “I Love Bansko, for…”.

The exhibition “Bansko’s Children Draw Pirin” and the “I Love Bansko, for…” contest are part of the special children’s programme at Banskofilmfest’ 2011. It also includes two open lectures for all pupils in town – one about Tibet by Tamotsu Nakamura, and another about Antarctica by Ph.D. Hristo Pimpirev.


will conclude the festival days. Jan Karpiel “Bułecka” and his well-known Zakopane band, which has played on a world tour alongside Zbigniew Namysłowski’s (one of our time’s most famous jazz saxophonists) quartet. Professor Vladimir Radulov (piano, vocal), Ventzislav Blagoev (trumpet), and Nevilian Gemizhev (clarinet) will take the audience back to New Orleans in the time when jazz was born. “Boxer”, who are well-known from the last edition of the festival, will lift up the spirits with rock ’n’ roll and blues.

Welcome to Bansko!

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