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Banff Film Festival Moves to Boise High Auditorium

"In March [the theater's manager] called me really distraught and feeling really bad, saying we got bumped by Opera Idaho."

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For more than a decade, the Egyptian Theatre has almost sold out each time the Banff Mountain Film Festival rolls through town. The upcoming three-day screening of the outdoor and adventure film fest on Jan. 25-27 wasn't expected to be any different.

Then Marion Benzing, the Banff coordinator for Boise, got a call.

"In March [the theater's manager] called me really distraught and feeling really bad, saying we got bumped by Opera Idaho," Benzing said.

The Egyptian is Opera Idaho's home theater, which means its contract gives Opera Idaho top priority. On Jan. 29 and Jan. 30, the opera company will perform Verdi's La Traviata with traveling star—and Idaho native—Cecilia Violetta López, but that means the stage needs to be built during the dates of the Banff Film Fest.

Benzing called every person she could think of to find the festival a new home. There were plenty of takers, but more than a few hurdles.

"As distraught as I was, it was a great learning experience about how everyone in the arts community just wants to see each other be successful," she said.

Still, the Banff Centre has strict requirements for the film screenings and Benzing kept running into two problems: either the ceilings of other venues weren't large enough to accommodate the screen size or the seating was too limited. The Egyptian holds about 700 people and the alternate venues Benzing found seated between 200 and 300 people.

Finally, she landed on the Boise High School auditorium, which shares the same historic charm as the Egyptian and holds close to 1,000 people.

She worked with the school staff and rented a 12-foot by 21-foot screen. Banff provides the projector and sound system for the event. The only downside: no beer or wine can be served at the high school.

"But we're back on track to be at the Egyptian for 2017," Benzing said.

In the meantime, tickets can be purchased online for $17.99 or at the door for $25. Three-day passes are also available.