Bansko Film Fest 2015; 25th to 29th November

Oct 28, 2015 No Comments by

Bansko Film Fest 2015

The Bansko Film Fest 2015 is back here once again on the 25th to 29th November. This event is, I guarantee, the most enjoyable surprise you will find in Bansko. Every year I watch a good number of films. And end up enjoying the most incredibly interesting and often seat of the pant films. But more than that, it is a chance to hear from the extraordinary people who make these films which cover not only extreme sports but culture and travel.

But I especially enjoy watching the mountain and extreme sport films including films for skiing & snowboarding, freeriding, hiking, climbing, paragliding, B.A.S.E., extreme cycling, slacklining and others.


One hell of a ride

The Bulgarian premiere of the film “Streif – One Hell of a Ride” will be presented at the Bansko Film Fest 2015.

Tom Ballard

Legendary alpinists, travelers, explorers, adventurers and film authors will visit Bulgaria. The official guests this year are:

  • Tamara Lunger (Italy) – alpinist, mountain runner
  • Tom Ballard (United Kingdom) – climber
  • Harald Philipp (Austria) – extreme biker
  • Hansjorg Auer (Austria) – alpinist, climber
  • Nuno Gomes (USA) – cave diver, world champion of diving
  • Jan Troiller (Switzerland) – alpinist
  • Sebastian Kawa (Poland) – pilot
  • Patrick Gabarrou (France) – alpinist
  • Jochen Hemmleb (Germany) – alipnist, traveller, cinematograph
  • Yves Ballu (France) – alpinist, writer, he has a collection of many alpinists documents and pictures

More than 15 presentations and workshops will be presented during the festival.

Bansko Film Fest includes children’s program Bansko Film Fest KIDS with projections, competitions and workshops.

The event is organized by the International Mountain Film Fest Association, the Municipality of Bansko.


Event location

The festival events will take a place at  Culture Center “Nikola Vapcarov” and at the new Visitors Information Centre (located just up from the gondola lift).

The programme of films is huge and I will update this page too wit that but in the meantime please go to for more info. See you there.


Paragliding films

As I have been flying paragliders since 1990, I will be making a special effort to watch all the five paraglider films being shown. Here are the times and knowing a little about some of these pilots, I urge you to take a look at these.


Paragliding and flying film schedule 
29th Nov, Sunday, Culture Center “N. Vapcarov”, 15:44h –  “The Rocky Mountains traverse”, Canada, Austria, Bryan Smith, David Pearson, 2014, 52’) – In August 2014 Will Gadd and Gavin McClurg, two accomplished paragliders, attempt to complete the first ever paragliding traverse of the Rocky Mountain Range, North America‘s most iconic and by far wildest region. At a distance of over 1.200 km from Canada to the U.S., flying across rugged terrain and landing on mountain tops to camp for the night, this journey will smash almost any current long distance flight record. Trailer: Nov, Wednesday, Visitors Information Center, 11:57h – “Sounds of Paragliding”, (France, 2014, Shams, 33’) – Théo de Blic welcomes you to a unique experience: The Sounds of Paragliding. Listen to nature’s harmony while the young pilot rhythms the melody with aerobatic paragliding.
29th Nov, Sunday, Culture Center “N. Vapcarov”, 14:00h –  “Higher than the Clouds”, Italy/ France, 2015, Fredo Valla, 52’) –
29th November, Sunday, Visitors Information Center, 14:00h – “Matterhorn, The Birdwoman’s Dream”, Switzerland, 2015, Rinaldo Marasco, Jerome Piguet, 52’) –  Since she learned to fly, Géraldine Fasnacht wingsuit pilot, nurtures the dream to fly off the top of the Matterhorn.The technological progresses have allowed her and Julien Meyer to realise this world premiere on the 7th of June 2014.This film shows the professionalism of the two friends needed to perform such a feat. Trailer:

28th of November, Big Hall of Culture Center “N. Vapcarov”, 16:15h – 17:15h –  Presentation of Mr. Sebastian Kawa (Poland) – first man who flied over Everest peak with sailplane.

Tom Ballard

Tom will be at the Bansko Film Fest and I hope to catch an interview with him… so here are some notes provided to me by the organisers:

Tom Ballard was born in the Peak District of England in 1988 before moving to the Highlands of Scotland in 1995. Here he went to school in the sight and smell of Britain’s highest mountain – Ben Nevis 4406 ft. He has never had any other wish or thought than to be a climber.

What sets him apart from his peers is the pure simple enjoyment and satisfaction he finds in being on his own. As the mood takes from boulders to alpine faces he enjoys it all. At the moment he seems most content and happiest in solo alpinism. Although mixed climbing runs it a close second. A creative climber he gains quiet satisfaction in either creating new routes or making free ascents of climbs that formerly used aid.

Mixed climbing suits both his temperament and physique. Besides his own creations at Nellembalm, Val Udai, Uschenen, Grotta Prinoth and Eptigen, he has climbed Vertical Limit M12 and made the second ascents of Spiderman M13, Superman 13+, and Ironman M14+.

He particularly took to the airy style of the Dolomites where he has enjoyed over 160 routes, most of them solo. During the winter season of 2013 on the Catinaccio he was definitely pleased with his first ascent of the 1960 aid classic into Via Olimpia – Going for Gold as an F8a free climb. To balance out the ‘sport style’ he also added a new route; Just Like a Pill VIII+/IX- ,a ‘trad or adventure style’, route at the right-hand side of the East Face.

Tom learnt to ski and snowboard in the ephemeral winters of the Scottish Highlands strapping on his first skis at five and a snowboard as seven year old.  Where as long as the grass and heather is white; it must be the ski season. Gullies and couloirs are to his taste whether in Les Ecrins, Val di Fassa or the Bernese Oberland he enjoys all aspects of this winter wonder world whether it be ski extreme or freeride or old fashioned ski alpine! Call them what you may.

The Bernese Oberland and the North Face of the Eiger are the mountains he learnt his alpine craft on.  Where amongst others he made the first solo ascents of The North Pillar Direct  and Locherspiel.  Later he free-climbed the The North Pillar Direct as Solitaire F6c+. The forgotten North Face of the Agassizhorn 3953m gave him a new route  600m If Ghengis Can, We Can  ED  Wi4 M5 and he made most probably the first solo of the uber classic Tillman – Welzenbach on the North Face of the Gross Fiescherhorn 4048.8m!

He has climbed and descended over a 110 alpine climbs mostly alone.


Tom’s Likes

  • band; Pink Floyd
  • book Seven Pillars of Wisdom
  • foods; pasta and chocolate
  • drink; water
  • approach shoe; Vitamin, rock shoe; Instinct
  • alpine boot; Phantom 6000
  • ski boot; Rush

quotation “All men dream: But not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” (T.E. Lawrence.)


Need transport to Bansko? Book here on in the Bansko App (iOS and Android).


About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
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