Alpine Club of Canada

ACC_Gazette_Winter2018_FINAL

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Le Club Alpin du Canada Gazette hiver 2018 13 of the Calgary section, watching them count out piles of twenty‑dollar bills. That winter the first mountain film festival in Banff was conceived. The execu‑ tive of the Banff Section of the ACC (today known as the Rocky Mountain Section) — Evelyn Moorhouse (now Matthews), Betty Ware, Patsy Murphy, John Amatt and myself — were sitting around brain‑ storming about what the club could do for community projects. We had just organ‑ ized shows for Haston and Diemberger and some of us, years earlier, had also been thrilled with Gmoser's film offerings. It was not a great leap of imagination to conceive of something more permanent and someone suggested that Banff would be perfect for a film festival like the one held in Trento each year. The town was quiet in the autumn and would appreciate any additional business, and Banff Centre was the perfect venue. John Amatt, the chairman of the Banff Section, immediately saw potential in the idea and, working in partnership with Patsy Murphy, turned it into a reality. On October 31, 1976, the first Banff Festival of Mountaineering Films was held. It was a success right from the beginning and the ACC contributed to that success by providing the many volunteers required to run the event — ticket takers, ushers, and parking attendants. Joanna Croston, Programming Director for the 2018 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival wrote, "The ACC is the longest standing festival partner, they have been with us for 43 years." Much of the success of those early festivals was due to John and Patsy's hard work and the fact that they were employ‑ ees of Banff Centre. In addition, Evelyn Moorhouse, who had been there at that first meeting, was manager of the Alpine Club of Canada and a strong supporter of the idea. John recently wrote, "In 1976 the Banff Centre immediately embraced BMFF as an official program of the fledg‑ ling "School of the Environment" which I was heading at the time. The Centre's executive responsible for that initiative was Ted Mills, a long‑standing ACC member. It can't be emphasized enough that it was the outstanding facilities and endorsement of The Banff Centre that have been integral to the Festival's growth and global success." About 1980 when Patsy Murphy took the films on the road in the first iteration of the World Tour, it was the ACC sections in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal that organized the local events, booked the halls, did the advertising, sold the tickets and provided accommodation for Patsy. The shows were sold out and even today the World Tour events in some of these cities are still organized by the ACC sections. For the first four years of the festival, from 1976 to 1979, Betty Ware, an active Banff section member, organized the food concession at the Festival. Laggans Bakery in Lake Louise provided the food and Betty and her ACC volunteers sold it, with all profits going to the award for the Best Film on Climbing. When Betty stepped down in 1980 to raise her family, another Banff section member, Dorle Lomas, came forward to take her place. The sandwiches, carrot cake and coffee were now provided by the Banff Centre kitchen but Dorle and about 20 ACC volunteers sold thousands of meals to hungry mountaineers. And the profits they made continued to support the prize for the Best Film on Climbing. To this day the ACC still provides the prize money for this award. When the book festival started in 1994 the ACC was there with the money for the Grand Prize — the Phyllis and Don Munday Award. Twenty‑four years later the Alpine Club of Canada still sponsors this award. In recent years the ACC, in partnership with the University of Alberta, has initiated and supported the Mountain Article Award, a great new addition to the Festival. For 15 years in the 1990s and 2000s, ACC president Mike Mortimer and his wife Heather with the assistance of Pat and Baiba Morrow organized an annual excur‑ sion to the ACC's Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara for the days immediately following the festival. It was a way to work off the effects of the alcohol and socializing of the Festival weekend, but Mike felt that it was also a way to show our international guests the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Over the years some of the world's greatest climbers have had a chance to enjoy the magic of Lake O'Hara — Kurt Diemberger, Lynn Hill, Alison Hargreaves, Greg Child and Nazir Sabir. As the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival works its way toward its golden jubilee, the Alpine Club of Canada is still involved and committed to the con‑ tinuing success of the festival. And some of those who were there at the beginning are still working on the festival — Betty Ware is still ushering and taking tickets and Patsy Murphy, with her depth of experience, is still organizing and trouble shooting. So, if you see them, say hi, and thank them for their many years of good work. Chris Bonington signing copies of Mountaineer: Thirty Years of Climbing on the World's Great Peaks, 1989. Photographers: Kathleen Watt and Kim Chan, courtesy of The Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives

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