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Shepherdess of the Glaciers Wins Grand Prize at Banff Mountain Festival 2016

Living 5,000 metres above sea level with her 300 goats, Tsering is one of the last shepherdesses in the far northern mountains of Ladakh, India. As she leads her flock of 300 sheep and Pashmina goats to graze on the 5,500 metres high Himalayan Plateaus in a dry and desolate landscape, Tsering is under the continuous threat of wolves and snow leopards.

Documented by her brother over four seasons, the film depicts both her world of icy loneliness and that unbreakable bond between humans and animals. Shepherdess of the Glaciers has won the Grand Prize at the 2016 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

“Half way around the world – the filmmakers’ ability to make an intimate and isolated existence ‘universal’ is what makes this film at once moving and engaging,” said Elizabeth Yake, a member of the 2016 Banff Mountain Film Festival jury. “This expansive film absorbs the viewer into the conjoined, meditative world of a harsh environment – which includes the passing seasons, a barren mountainous landscape and the intimate relationship between humans and animals in their care.

She added: “Capturing a moment in time – quietly observing a spirited individual eking out a basic existence with all of life’s necessities -the filmmaker uncovers a life that is organic – filled with struggles- but ultimately a life abundant with awe and joy.”

Grand Prize: Shepherdess of the Glaciers
(France, 2016, 74 min)
Director/Producer: Christiane Mordelet, Stanzin Dorjai
Production Company: Les Films de la Decouverte

Creative Excellence Award: The Accord
(Iceland/USA, 2016, 19 min)
Director: R.C. Cone
Producer: R.C. Cone, Elli Thor Magnus
Production Company: Tributaries Digital Cinema

Best Film – Exploration and Adventure: Holy (un)Holy River
(USA, 2015, 60 min)
Director/Producer: Peter McBride, Jake Norton
Production Company: Mountain
World and Pete McBride Productions

Best Film – Mountain Culture: Freedom Under Load
(Slovakia, 2016, 58 min)
Director: Pavol Barabas
Producer: Alena Koscova
Production Company: Ks studio s.r.o.

Best Film – Climbing: Boys in the Bugs
(USA, 2016, 18 min)
Director: Zachary Barr, Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen
Producer: Zachary Barr
Production Company: REEL ROCK

Best Film – Mountain Sports: Metronomic
(France, 2015, 16 min)
Director and Producer: Vladimir Cellier
Production Company: Baraka Films

Best Film: Snow Sports: China: A Skier’s Journey
(Canada, 2016, 16 min)
Director and Producer: Jordan Manley
Production Company: Narrows Media Inc.

Best Film – Mountain Environment and Natural History: KONELĪNE: our land beautiful
(Canada, 2015, 96 min)
Director: Nettie Wild
Producer: Betsy Carson
Production Company: Canada Wild Productions

Best Short Mountain Film: Northbound
(Norway, 2015, 11 min)
Director: Jorn Nyseth Ranum
Producer: Anders Graham
Production Company: Turbin Films AS

Best Feature Length Mountain Film: Climbing Higher
(Czech Republic, 2015, 100 min)
Director: David Kalek
Producer: Richard Nemec
Production Company: Verbascum s.r.o.

Special Jury Mention: Langtang: Summits of My Life III
(Spain, 2015, 52 min)
Director: Sebastien Montaz-Rosset
Producer: Jordi Lymbus

Special Jury Mention: The Super Salmon
(USA, 2016, 25 min)
Director and Producer: Ryan Peterson
Production Company: Alaskanist Stories

People’s Choice Award for Radical Reels: Young Guns
(USA, 2016, 30 min)
Director: Nick Rosen, Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer
Producer: Zachary Barr
Production Company: REEL ROCK

People’s Choice Award: SHIFT
(Canada, 2016, 28 min)
Director and Producer: Kelly Milner
Production Company: Shot in the Dark Productions

Jury members in 2016 included National Geographic Society’s Doug Bailey; Canadian born filmmaker, Ciaran Flannery; Vice Director of the Mountain Film Festival of Zakopane (Poland), Gabriella Kühn; Chamonix based UK mountain guide Victor Saunders, and Canadian producer Elizabeth Yake.