October 31 – November 8, 2020
Banff, Alberta, Canada

*UPDATE: due to the ongoing health restrictions, we’re going virtual for 2020 - this year's festival will proceed online and will be available to our audience around the world in a digital format*

After 44 years, the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival has a proven track record as one of the most prestigious and largest mountain culture festivals in the world. Located in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Festival is a programming-driven, competitive event bringing together the best films and books on mountains and the spirit of adventure from around the world.

Films entered into competition will also be considered for inclusion in our World Tour programs that reach a global audience of over half a million people through more than 1,100 screenings in about 45 countries. Short films are particularly popular for the programming flexibility they provide so if you are submitting a longer film, you may wish to also enter a shorter version in competition for both Festival and World Tour consideration (special edit or excerpt, 5 to 20 minutes long is typically best). If your film is selected for the World Tour, our team will contact you to arrange a separate licensing agreement.

Grand Prize: $4,000 CAD
Category Prizes: $2,000 CAD for best film in each category.
Additional Prizes: $2,000 CAD awarded to films already entered into any category:
- Best Mountain Short (20 minutes or less)
- Best Mountain Feature (70 minutes or more)
- Creative Excellence – illustrating creativity and the arts in exploring the spirit of adventure.
- Audience Choice Award - chosen by the audience through our on-site voting system during the Festival.
• Films must be entered into one category only.
• The Mountain Film Competition reserves the right to make the final decision on the category of any film entered.
• Entries are not limited to one award.
• Awards may be presented to the director or the producer of the film.
• All entries will be viewed prior to the Festival by a pre-selection committee chaired by the Festival Director. Finalists chosen by this committee will be screened by an international jury and viewed by the public at the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival.
• Winners will be announced during the award ceremonies on 8th November 2020. The jury reserves the right to not present an award, and its decisions will be final.

The competition closes at 11:59pm (Pacific time) on 5th August 2020. Before entering, please ensure you read the Rules and Terms in their entirety as the dispatching of any entry to the Mountain Film Competition implies acceptance of these procedures and regulations by the Entrant:
1. Completed films need to be uploaded at the time of entry. We do not accept rough cuts, trailers or unfinished projects and are unable to consider new versions of films once they’re entered. Please refer to the late entry application process in the section below.
2. Films produced in the year 2018, 2019 and 2020 are eligible for competition.
3. Banff Centre Productions and Mountain Culture departmental staff are excluded from submitting entries.
4. The same film may only be entered once in the Mountain Film Competition.
5. Screening fees will not be paid by the Festival.
6. If English is not the original language of the film, it MUST be entered into competition with burn-in English subtitles, or be dubbed in English. We recommend a sans-serif font with maximum readability against both light and dark backgrounds.
7. Film finalists agree to have their film screened at multiple venues and on multiple dates within the festival period.
8. Award winners agree to have their film screened locally for one night only after the Festival as part of an award winners series at the Banff Lux Cinema. A separate licensing agreement with an agreed fee will be made directly with the film entrant.
9. All submissions may be retained by the Festival for adjudication, on-demand and archival purposes.
10. All film entries uploaded via FilmFreeway, along with available film overview, credits, specifications and distributor information will be made accessible for viewing during the Festival in our On-demand Screening Room to filmmakers, distributors, festival directors, Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour hosts, and media.
11. Film finalists will be made available to the public post-Festival in Banff Centre’s Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives (restricted viewing on site for research purposes only).
12. The Entrant grants the Festival and its successors, licensees and assigns the right to copy and version the entry in its entirety to facilitate technical operations of the Festival, in and through any and all media formats now known or hereafter devised.
13. The Entrant grants the Festival and its successors, licensees and assigns the right to use up to three minutes from the entry AND accompanying photos submitted to the Festival for promotional purposes of the Festival and its activities in or through any and all media formats now known or hereafter devised, including, but not limited to, the Internet throughout the universe.
14. An admission charge will be made to the public in order to defray the costs of the Festival.
15. The Entrant acknowledges and agrees that all matters will be decided by Festival organizers or the Festival jury at their sole discretion.

Normally, we cannot accept late film entries into competition due to the timing of our programming logistics. However, if you feel strongly that your project is a worthy candidate and that the final version of your film will be completed by 1st September 2020, you may apply for a late entry and we will consider your application. To request details and an application form, please email banffmountainfilms@banffcentre.ca
In the meantime, please do not enter unfinished films, rough cuts or trailers into competition as we can only accept completed films.
Enquiries made after 5th August 2020 will not be considered.

Filmmakers are required to submit their film for pre-screening at the time of entry via FilmFreeway. If you are using a secured link, please keep us updated of any changes to passwords. The competition closes at 11:59pm (Pacific time) on 5th August 2020.

If your film is selected as a finalist, you will be required to provide a high resolution master via Signiant Media Shuttle and you will be contacted by the Festival with instructions on how to upload your film. We accept finalist masters as either Avid DNxHD or Apple ProRes 422 codecs at 1920x1080i/p in a .mov or .mxf wrapper. Our preference is to use the 10bit codecs (example: ProRes 422 (HQ) or Avid DNxHD 175X, 185X or 220X – depending on frame-rate). We will also request finalists to submit their master film with the frame rate that it was edited in, to a maximum of 30 frames per second. Audio should be uncompressed PCM, .wav or .aif at 24bit, 48kHz.
• If English is not the original language of your film: The Festival reserves the right to refuse films without English voiceover or English subtitles. Subtitles must be part of the video image.
• The Festival Producer will have the option to conform the content to broadcast-quality standardization or, alternatively, to charge a fee (in consultation with entrant) for Banff Centre in-house corrections in the event of substandard submission.
• For any DCP content, please email banffmountainfilms@banffcentre.ca

If your film is selected as a finalist, you will be asked to provide a minimum of 5 (and up to 10) images from the film to be reproduced, published and/or exhibited for promotional purposes as they pertain to the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, World Tour, and the associated Mountain Film Competition at the Banff Centre. In addition, we will require 2 trailers for public viewing if available: the file for one short (15-60 second) version and the URL to one longer (over 60 second) version that will be used on our various marketing platforms.

The Entrant agrees to indemnify Banff Centre and the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, their respective successors, assigns, licensees, and their respective officers, directors, members, agents and employees and hold them harmless from and against any and all claims, liability, losses, damages, costs, expenses (including reasonable legal fees) and penalties arising out of, resulting from, based upon or incurred because of a breach by the Entrant of any statement, representation or warranty made by the Entrant in this entry form.

By entering the film competition, the Entrant represents and warrants that:
a) The Entrant hereby grants Banff Centre the rights to use the film as outlined in this entry form.
b) It owns all right, title and interest, including the copyright and all intellectual property rights, in and to the film being submitted to the Festival and has the right to distribute, exhibit and promote the film in or through all media formats now known or hereafter devised, including, but not limited to, the Internet throughout the universe.
c) All music licenses (including, without limitation, all synchronization, mechanical and master-use licenses, as applicable) have been obtained and all payments have been made that are required for the public performance of the music incorporated in the film.
d) No material in the film being submitted by the Entrant to the Festival is libelous or is slanderous or defamatory or violates any right of privacy or publicity of any person, and the full use of the rights in such film will not violate any rights, including copyright or moral rights, of any person, firm or corporation.
e) To the extent that the Film Producer may now or in the future be entitled to any so-called moral, author’s or similar rights in the film pursuant to the Copyright Act (Canada) or otherwise, the Producer hereby irrevocably waives and relinquishes all such rights in favor of Banff Centre and its assignees and licensees to the fullest extent permitted by law.
f) By entering the Mountain Film Competition, the entrant acknowledges and agrees to all entry Rules and Terms.

Overall Rating
  • Absolutely loved this Festival and the experience that our film(Opening the Earth: The Potato King) had here. The communication from the Banff staff was great, and our producer was well taken care of when she made it to the festival. This was a great moment for our film and our team. Maybe the best run festival my team and I have ever been a part of. Can't wait to come back!

    January 2020
  • Susie Douglas

    Banff will always be one of our favourite festivals. Where else brings together passionate crowds and such a diverse group of filmmakers. We always love making it to Banff for the fest.

    December 2019
  • Leigh Anne Sides

    Amazing festival and excellent staff. An all around wonderful experience in the most beautiful of settings. Magic.

    November 2019
  • michael brown

    This festival is easily my favorite. If you have a film with a compelling story and some relationship to the human spirit outdoors, the mountains or the natural world, submit to Banff. The hospitality of the team coupled with the most fantastic surroundings of any festival in the world makes every second in Banff a delight.

    November 2018
  • Katrina Costello

    An incredible festival, which inspired adventure and openness. The festival's adventure category is living testimony that we all have endless resilience and power within us to reach for when we need it - and the stories told from the Nepalese, Afghanistans, Mongolians, Inuits and from minorities across the globe are heart-rendering - people caught in the endless struggle to maintain an ancient way of life in the remotest parts of the world - but effect by our activities. I'm even more inspired to get political to save our world.

    November 2018