Extreme action on screen

Dunedin co-ordinator Paul Prince gears up for the opening of the Banff Film Festival at the Regent Theatre yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

Lights, cameras and lots of action signalled the opening of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2014 in Dunedin last night.

The annual natural history and extreme sport documentary festival shows some of the world's best outdoor films, with an emphasis on skiing, basejumping, mountain biking, rockclimbing and kayaking.

The Dunedin festival at the Regent Theatre has been doubled to two screenings this year, to meet demand.

''The festival is very popular in Dunedin and it's growing every year,'' New Zealand Alpine Club programme manager Sefton Priestley said from Christchurch yesterday.

''We had 1450 at the Dunedin screening last year, which is the capacity of the Regent.

That was the single biggest screening we had in the southern hemisphere during the whole world tour last year.

Per capita, there's no other city of Dunedin's size that gets close to that sort of audience.

''This year, we've got two screenings of 1450 in Dunedin. You've got a really strong outdoor community in Otago. You've got the Southern Alps right on your doorstep. There are all sorts of outdoor activities going on down there.''

It is the 12th year the New Zealand Alpine Club has hosted the festival, which marks its 40th anniversary next year.

The six festivals this year all sold out, Mr Priestley said, including the screening at the Queenstown Memorial Centre on May 29.

Two sessions are being held in Dunedin this year, with a different line-up of films each night.

''The festival is very well supported in Dunedin. We get the same size audiences in Dunedin as in Christchurch and Auckland,'' Dunedin co-ordinator and Otago section of the New Zealand Alpine Club member Paul Prince said.

''We've still got some tickets left for Friday. Last year, we had to turn away hundreds of people.''

The opening night, last night, featured 10 films, ranging from four minutes to 46 minutes in length.

The programme for the final night, tomorrow, is: The Burn, The Last Ice Merchant, Beyond The Drop, Heaven's Gate, The Last Great Climb, Flow: The Elements of Freeride, Nine Queens, The Sensei (Reel Rock 8) and Valhalla.

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