The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival Society (VIMFF) incorporated and organized its 1st Annual Festival in 1998. The Festival was initiated with the objective to bring to North Vancouver unique outdoor and mountaineering films that would otherwise not be seen in the city, and to bring together communities of filmmakers and outdoor enthusiasts in a forum where they can discuss topics of mutual interest.
The Festival was first held over three nights in February 1998 at the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver, with total attendance at about 1,700. In 1999 the Festival grew with the addition of some non-film events such as a rock climbing competition and slide shows, and total attendance increased to 3,000. In 2000 the Festival grew significantly to total attendance of over 6,400, and in the year 2001 to 8,000 viewers. The Festival continued to add more shows at its main venue (Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver) and at new venues (North Vancouver Public Library, Pacific Cinematheque, MacMillan Space Centre, Ridge Theatre). With the additional shows the diversity of the programming was also enhanced, providing more films and presenters with topics on environmental issues, mountain culture, and adventure travel.
New events were created, including the “VIMFF Best of the Fest Tour” and “VIMFF Fall Speaker Series”. The Best of the Fest Tour has been expanding steadily each year, and currently visits more than 30 communities across Canada. VIMFF introduced the “Fall Speaker Series” in 2008, designed as a mini-festival based in North Vancouver, featuring selected speakers, films and film previews. The event was a success, and second and third editions were offered in 2009 and 2010. The Fall Speaker series now runs in November with three different shows at the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver with guest speakers and films, with an audience of about 1,500 viewers each year.
Since 1998, VIMFF has evolved from a three-day event at one venue with an audience of 1,700 to a 9-day event in North Vancouver and Vancouver in 3 to 4 venues with live presentations, films, photography, live music, and international film and photo competitions. Additionally, VIMFF now travels to about 30 communities with the Best of the Fest Tour, and runs additional shows at the Fall Speaker Series in North Vancouver. The combined Festival events now attract more than 20,000 viewers each year in North Vancouver, Greater Vancouver and the rest of Canada. VIMFF is unique to North Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada, with the Banff Mountain Film Festival being the only other festival in Canada comparable in size and reputation.
VIMFF’s current role is to inspire and entertain the community with the use of unique films and presentations that illustrate experiences and cultures from all corners of the globe, to bring international and local filmmakers and photographers together with international competitions, to promote positive life values and an active lifestyle, and to bring various communities together in North Vancouver. VIMFF is aligned with the philosophy of the North Vancouver municipalities to promote locally and internationally the natural beauty of North Vancouver and its status as one of the best places to visit and live, a place where nature and culture meet.