The Best Adventure Film of 2013


This morning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 86th annual Oscar awards. Once again I’m amazed by the number of prominent feature films that I neglected to see in 2013. As a reviewer of adventure movies I don’t make it to my local cineplex the way I used to. Of those movies tapped to win Best Picture Twelve Years a Slave and American Hustle are the only two that I actually saw in a theater. And I imagine that it will be a long time before the other seven critically acclaimed dramas will be available for streaming on Netflix. With all the hoopla and anticipation of the movies set to receive gold statues on March 2nd I can’t help wonder, if there were an award for Best Adventure Film who would win?

Clearly there is no shortage of adventure movies to pick from. In 2013 the Banff Mountain Film Festival had more than 300 films submitted for consideration. That total was narrowed down to the top 75 films eligible for awards. And while Banff might be considered the gold standard for adventure flicks, with prestigious honors presented to the best filmmakers and an international tour that inspires sell-out crowds around the globe is the grand prize winner of this festival the Best Adventure Film of the year?

I’ll admit that the movie North of the Sun was by far one of the best movies I saw in 2013. So I really can’t argue with the grand prize and people’s choice awards it received last year at Banff. And of course the creative minds at Sender Films walked away with prizes for the films High Tension and The Sensei. These and other incredible films were acknowledged with high praise at several of the major adventure media festivals around the world. Starting in the spring with the 5Point Festival in Carbondale the season rolls through Memorial Day weekend with the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride. Then in October Boulder hosts the Adventure Film Festival which leads right into the Banff Mountain Film Festival in November to finish out the year. But we can add to that list the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, Seattle’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival as well as the New York Wild Film Festival to be held next week at the Explorers Club in New York City. So then is the best adventure film of the year the one that receives the most awards at all the festivals in a given season? What do you think?

I’m really curious to know from adventure media fans around the world, what was the best film of 2013? If you were to award an Oscar to one adventure inspired film from last year what would it be? I’m taking nominations. Choose for among any film that was eligible for prize consideration at one of the major adventure film festival of 2013. We’ll narrow it down to the top 5 and take a vote. I’ll even award a prize. Tell me who you think should win. ~JEM



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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

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