- BC Games
Female outdoor athletes centre stage in North Van's VIMFF
The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival is bringing more movies than ever to the North Shore — and, for the first time, the majority of guest speakers are women.
Out of 20 presenters, 11 are female athletes, highlighting their steadily increasing participation in outdoor sports.
"This reflects how strong females are in these kinds of sports and activities these days," says programming manager Tom Wright, a climber and backcountry skier from Squamish.
"Now female athletes and professionals are getting just as much recognition as men. And girls aren't afraid to be doing all of these cool adventures these days."
Seventy-seven movies were chosen as finalists for VIMFF at Centennial Theatre from Feb. 7 to 15, and at two theatres downtown during that time. The film list has yet to be released; check vimff.org next week.
VIMFF began in 1998 with the objective of showing outdoor and mountaineering films that would otherwise not be seen in the city.
The list includes trail running, climbing, skiing, mountain biking and other outdoor pursuits. Movies are clustered into different categories that are shown on separate nights.
Wright said the Mountain Bike Show on Feb. 14 with six Canadian films, including a few from Whistler, Squamish and North Van, is always a hit with North Shore residents.
"The North Shore is where the mountains are. It's where most of the staff of the festival live," says Wright.
"The Mountain Bike night really speaks to how we have world-class mountain biking in our backyard."
That night Debora DeNapoli, a mountain biker who regularly rides North Van's trails, will be talking about raising the profile of females involved in mountain sports.
After losing her mother and sister to ovarian cancer five years ago, DeNapoli realized she could carry the deadly gene mutation and vowed to challenge herself while raising money to fight the disease.
She produced a short film called Life Cycle, which chronicles her transformation from "cubicle-dweller to mountain warrior" as she bikes nine harrowing summits across the Canadian Rockies. The 15-minute film will be shown after her presentation.
More than 20,000 people are expected to watch films in North Van and Vancouver.
"This really is an international film festival. We have people coming from all over the world from Britain, Poland, South America and others," says Wright.
Films are screened at Centennial Theatre, Pacific Cinematheque and the Rio Theatre. Tickets: $19 advance/$21 at the door, matinees $15/$9 under 13 years old. Passes: $34 two-day, $45 three-day, $65 five-day.