Shaheen seeks $63B for drug, alcohol services

View the full article here.

Story by Kyle Stucker
Photos by Deb Cram

SOMERSWORTH — Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and a roundtable of local stakeholders stressed Monday that a new $63 billion federal bill’s substance use disorder funds must be flexible so states like New Hampshire can best help their residents.

Shaheen, D-N.H., scheduled the discussion with medical providers, recovery experts and practitioners, municipal leaders and law enforcement officials at Goodwin Community Health. The meeting focused on how her new Turn the Tide Act should work to stem the Granite State’s substance misuse epidemic.

“Probably the No. 1 concern I’ve heard as I’ve traveled around is that we need things to be more flexible,” said Shaheen. “Making it fit with each community is what we need to do.”

Shaheen’s proposal would provide $63 billion nationally to address substance use disorder over the next 10 years.

It would increase annual State Opioid Response treatment grants from $1.5 billion to $5.5 billion over the first five years, as well as provide $27.5 billion over 10 years for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.

The latter gives states the ability to provide wraparound services related to opioids, alcohol, meth, cocaine and other substances commonly used in New Hampshire.

The bill would also increase prevention resources by, among other things, extending the term cap on the Drug Free Community grant program from two to five years.

It would also fund measures designed to reduce the types of adverse childhood trauma and experiences that lead to substance use. It proposes increased Medicaid payment rates to help increase the limited number of psychiatric medication providers in the state. It would use $50 million a year to provide student loan forgiveness to the treatment workforce. It would also improve first responder assistance and eliminate roadblocks like co-pays for naloxone and Narcan.

Some attendees spoke at length Monday about child trauma and the need to prevent creating another generation of people with substance use disorder challenges. The proposed bill would provide $20 million per year to implement a new grant program modeled after the successful Manchester Childhood Emergency Response Team to help child exposed to trauma, according to Shaheen.

“I think it’s very easy in situations like this for us to just be responsive in terms of the needs of the adults and getting their situations stabilized, but I’m telling you we’re missing an opportunity if we continue to not think about… the next generation,” said a Jessica Sugrue, chief executive officer of YWCA New Hampshire.

Others asked Shaheen to look into how the bill can support alternative treatments like Greater Seacoast Community Health’s new grant-funded acupuncture detoxification program.

“This is something we may need to look at,” said Shaheen.

Shaheen and others also said focus on alcohol resources and prevention is important because it’s often forgotten behind opioids despite alcoholism being more widespread.

Since The Doorway, New Hampshire’s new hub and spoke treatment model, debuted earlier this year, 50 percent of people seeking assistance have alcohol-related disorders, according to Shaheen.

While Shaheen said her proposed bill’s $63 billion in funding is a “drop in the bucket” compared to the actual costs of substance use disorder, she said she’s hopeful it will still make a positive difference for many of the nation’s struggling communities.

The full text of Shaheen’s Turn the Tide bill can be found at

New pediatrician comes to the Seacoast

July 12, 2019

PORTSMOUTH – Pediatrician Danette Colella will join Greater Seacoast Community Health in late July, dividing her time between Families First Health and Support Center in Portsmouth and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester.

A pediatrician for the past 20 years, Dr. Colella has experience in general pediatrics and adolescent medicine. Her interests include preventive medicine and continuity of care from birth to young adulthood.

After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Dr. Colella completed her pediatric residency through Harvard Medical School at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She served as Chief of Pediatrics at South Shore Medical Center in Norwell, Mass., and most recently worked at a pediatric practice in Wisconsin before moving back to New England. She is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Dr. Colella will see patients ages birth through 21. In addition to pediatric care, her patients will have access to many other professionals within the Greater Seacoast Community Health network, including dentists and hygienists, behavioral health care providers, social workers, a child development specialist, a nutritionist and the WIC nutrition program. St the Families First site, free child care is offered while parents are there for appointments or parenting classes. The organization also supports families through parenting classes, family programs and home visiting.

For information about becoming a patient of Dr. Colella at Families First in Portsmouth, call 603-422-8208 (press 3) or visit To establish care with her at Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester, call 603-335-4522.

Greater Seacoast Community Health is a network of community health centers providing primary care for children and adults, dental care, prenatal care, behavioral health counseling, substance use disorder treatment, mobile health services, social work services, a pharmacy, parenting classes, family programs, and home visiting. The network includes Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth, Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester. Strafford County Public Health Network and SOS Recovery Community Organization also are affiliated with Greater Seacoast, and the WIC nutrition program has a site at Goodwin. Services are open to everyone and provided within a culture that seeks to be respectful, recovery-friendly, LGBTQ-affirming and trauma-informed. For more information, visit

Acupuncture used to treat addiction and other ills

Acupuncture used to treat addiction and other ills

Read the full article here.

PORTSMOUTH – Alternatives to opioids is something on everyone’s mind, given the current epidemic of abuse New Hampshire is facing and one agency is taking on the challenge.

Greater Seacoast Community Health, which represents a merger between Families First in Portsmouth and Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth is a “spoke” in the state’s Hub and Spoke initiative, intended to address the opioid crisis.

GSCH has received a $1.45 million SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) grant intended to enhance existing services and add new ones in efforts to address substance abuse and mental health services offered at both locations. The grant gives the agencies $502,729 in year one, and $476,172 in years two and three.

Acupuncture is part of the SAMHSA grant and acupuncturist Elizabeth Nelson has been hired for the service. It is not a standalone service but will complement the primary care and behavioral health services, according to Margie Wachtel, communication director for GSCH.

“In addition to SUD, some of the primary conditions that Liz will be addressing are chronic pain, stress and anxiety,” said Wachtel. “Liz’s position is funded by a grant we received recently (for the first time) from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, to expand our Medication-Assisted Recovery services.”

Nelson came to GSCH from work with veterans who have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She said she was trained in the procedure at the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine in Florida and the Lincoln Recovery Center in the Bronx, New York.

Nelson uses NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) ear acupuncture on both groups.

“It works well on stress, on helping people get better sleep, and on decreasing the desire for substances like drugs, alcohol and even cigarettes,” said Nelson. “People with PTSD and substance abuse may have anger and anxiety. No one wants to be addicted. They can have social isolation issues. Acupuncture releases stress, emotional trauma and that makes it easier to make connections. They have better track records of staying in programs.”

Nelson does her work in groups. Her clients sit together for 45 minutes, with five needles in each ear. They can talk and listen to relaxing music.

“Some of the people are afraid of needles, so we sometimes call them pins,” said Nelson.

So how does it work?

“Acupuncture releases endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals,” said Nelson. “Drugs are chemicals released into the body. When a person stops using, they can feel sluggish and tired. Acupuncture gives them a euphoric feeling and has been around since the 1970s as a treatment for addiction. It is used in some states in drug courts, in prisons. I am happy to have the opportunity to bring this here. I truly believe in the success of the treatments. I have seen it in my patients. I love that it is holistic, that it doesn’t involve hooking people on another drug.”

Beth Pearson, project director for the grant, said it has specific goals.

“The programs we are enhancing existed before the grant,” said Pearson “The grant will help us to increase services and outreach, and to enhance what is already in place.”

Pearson said acupuncture was added and approved after the grant had already been approved.

“We were looking at acupuncture as an alternative treatment for substance abuse disorders,” said Pearson. “We know a lot of our clients got involved with opioids because they had chronic pain issues. Acupuncture can help treat both conditions, so it was an easy choice and SAMHSA approved the addition to the grant specifics.”

The grant also supports the work of SOS Recovery Services, which is a part of GSCH. Pearson said it will help fund things like recovery coach training.

“And people who are in our IOP (Intensive Outpatient program) will also be offered the acupuncture service,” said Pearson. “We are excited about this. Not many others are yet offering acupuncture for SUD treatment. Eventually we hope to add a physical therapist, but we have not hired one yet. We plan to track the outcomes to see how effective this new treatment will be.”

Nelson, LAC, RN, is a licensed Acupuncturist and a board-certified Diplomate of Acupuncture through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is a certified Acupuncture Detox Specialist through the National Acupuncture Detox Association. She has practiced acupuncture since 2004, including volunteering her skills to help victims of natural disasters and shootings.

The acupuncture service is currently only available for patients who also come to Goodwin Community Health or Families First for primary care and/or recovery services. Currently (for space reasons), the treatment is only offered at the Somersworth location (Goodwin), but it is open to Families First patients.

Families First’s New Doctor Speaks Four Languages

Read the Full Story:


By Liz Markhlevskaya, Patch Staff | 



PORTSMOUTH, NH — The Families First community health center in Portsmouth is welcoming Kasra Djalayer as its new primary care physician. Djalayer comes to Families First with 30 years of experience and education in medicine, including obesity medicine, geriatrics, rheumatology, clinical immunology and dementia. He has previously studied and worked in Spain, Quatar, United Kingdon and most of the states in New England.

Djalayer, who speaks four languages, came to Families First in November as a substitute physician before joining the organization on a permanent basis. He said he decided to make a commitment to Families First because of the “friendly, warm environment and the empathy I find among staff, as well as the opportunities for collaboration and co-production.”

Djalayer went to both business school and medical school. He said that in business school, he had learned that empathy, collaboration and co-production are what create the right environment for excellence.

“This is what I find at Families First — the right environment to take care of patients in the best manner,” he said.

Djalayer earned his medical degree from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1989. He completed a fellowship at the University of Vermont in rheumatology and clinical immunology, a residency with Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Connecticut, and a mini-fellowship in geriatric medicine at Stanford University. He has a postgraduate subspecialty diploma in rheumatology and clinical immunology from the University of South Wales, a subspecialty in obesity medicine from Harvard University, and a senior diplomate in disability medicine. In addition, Djalayer has an MBA and an Executive MBA from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, focused on international healthcare leadership management.

Djalayer is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and American Board of Obesity Medicine. He speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Families First is a community health center that provides general medical care for people of all ages and income levels, as well as dental care, prenatal care, parenting and family programs, and mobile health care for people who are homeless. Families First is part of Greater Seacoast Community Health, which also includes Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester. The organization is one of New Hampshire’s largest community health centers, serving about 16,000 local adults and children, many of them uninsured, underinsured or lacking access to affordable, quality health care.

Families First can be reached at 603-422-8208 or
By Liz Markhlevskaya, Patch Staff | 

SOS receives grant for technical assistance

Read the Fosters article. 

ROCHESTER – SOS Recovery Community Organization (SOS) has been named the recipient of one of the awards for the 2019 Capacity Building Opportunity Grant, an intensive technical assistance opportunity for peer-run, recovery community, family-run, and youth- and young adult-run organizations. This technical assistance opportunity is offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS).

This is the second consecutive year SOS has applied for and received the BRSS-TACS Capacity Building Opportunity Grant. The grant, which is not a monetary award, focuses on evidence-based technical assistance.

According to SOS Director John Burns, in 2018 SOS engaged in this technical assistance for building capacity around peer recovery support services for criminal justice programs and re-entry. SOS utilized that support and assistance to build a very successful program for criminal justice supports in Strafford County. The 2019 application was accepted to allow SOS to focus on workforce development through peer recovery support services.

“We are excited and honored to take part in this program.” There is a clear need to build workforce in NH and we know we have many participants in our program that are seeking a meaningful and productive career in the workforce, “says Burns. “We hope to use this to improve our programs and abilities to build recovery friendly workplaces and connect participants in our programs to employers and supports.”

The mission of SOS is to reduce stigma and harm associated with substance use by providing safe space and peer-based supports for people in all stages of recovery. The vision of SOS is one that envisions a world where recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs is possible and widely embraced through low-barrier access to inclusive and respectful support, and where all who seek long-term recovery have access to the care and resources they need to achieve their self-defined goals.

SOS is a program of Greater Seacoast Community Health, a non-profit 501c3, federally qualified health centers made up of Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, Families First in Portsmouth, and Lilac Pediatrics in Rochester. Greater Seacoast Community Health has been consistently delivering affordable, high quality care and services for nearly 50 years in the Seacoast and Strafford County.

Family Morning Out Supports Parents, Kids

SOMERSWORTH — Kassandra St. Pierre was looking for an affordable way to kill some time on her day off from work with her 16-month-old daughter Jadalynn.

St. Pierre, who works in the cafeteria at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, found what she was looking for Friday morning, thanks to Greater Seacoast Community Health, which hosts a free weekly program for parents and young children called Somersworth Family Morning Out at the Flanagan Community Center.

“I say ‘play group’ and she’s at the front door, waiting for me to leave,” St. Pierre said of her daughter. “She’s at that door saying ‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!’ She loves it. She hates to leave when it’s over.”

The program is designed for parents with small children (generally kindergarten age and younger) to socialize with each other while their children play in a supervised setting. For the children, toys and games are available, as are crafting materials. The group also spends time in the Flanagan Center Gymnasium, where they can play with balls and other games.

“I don’t know a lot of people who have kids her age, or anywhere near her age,” St. Pierre said. “It gets me out. I can talk to the other parents. We sit, chat and have fun while the kids are playing. Jadalynn gets to play with other kids.”

Ally Dillon, the evening childcare supervisor at Families First in Portsmouth (which last year merged with Goodwin Community Health to form Greater Seacoast Community Health), said that while the Family Morning Out program does not offer curriculum per se, it’s a good opportunity for parents to learn ways to find support.

“We can definitely provide materials for anything a parent might be going through,” Dillon said. “A sleeping issue, toileting, behavior, disciplining methods. We can offer any sort of advice. And it’s really fun.”

Johanna LaBarge of Rochester said she heard about Family Morning Out through word of mouth, and now regularly attends with her children Sofia, 3, and Maverick, 1.

“As a stay-at-home mom, it’s hard to find stuff to keep your kids busy, especially in the colder months,” LaBarge said. “Any event you can find where kids can interact and do things like this is really great.

“Anywhere there’s other kids around, that’s where they want to be,” she added.

The Family Morning Out is one of several new programs Greater Seacoast Community Health is bringing to Somersworth and other communities in Strafford County.

“Parenting is hard work; it’s nice to connect with other people and offer opportunities,” said Patrice Baker, parent program coordinator and home visitor with Families First. Free parenting education classes are held Thursday nights at Goodwin Community Health from 5:30 to 7. Childcare is available with advance sign up.

Baker said Families First will also host a 12-week program titled “Parenting Journey” through June 27. There is already a waiting list for the class, according to Baker.

“It provides a nurturing environment where parents are invited to reflect on their own experiences, what did and didn’t work with their own parents, what they want to keep and let go of,” Baker said. “It’s an opportunity for parents to confront issues, gain insights on their own lives and relationships, and work on behaviors that will promote positive relationships with kids.”

Information: and

Story by John Doyle
Read the full story here

SOS to Receive Community Impact Award

SOS Recovery Community Organization (SOS RCO) has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Community Impact Award. The Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Community Impact Award recognizes a nonprofit working to increase access to care and improve the wellbeing of individuals and communities to build a stronger, more vibrant state.

The award will be presented at the New Hampshire Center for Non-Profit’s Nonprofit Impact Night event on Thursday April 4th at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford.

“We are honored and humbled to receive notification that we will be honored with this distinction. Our sincere thanks to Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, as well as our staff, advisory board, volunteers, SOS members and the community,” said John Burns, director of SOS RCO. “This award truly belongs to our entire community as it’s a reflection of how much commitment our stakeholders have in our success.  This is really about a collective of individuals and family members in the recovery community that have poured their heart and souls into our organization.  We have so much gratitude to all our allies and partners who have dedicated their time and effort into building recovery supports that save lives and help people find and maintain recovery.”

The mission of SOS RCO is to reduce the stigma and harm associated with substance misuse by providing a safe space and peer-based supports for people in all stages of recovery. SOS envisions a world where recovery from alcohol and other drugs is possible, and widely embraced, thorough low barrier access to inclusive and respectful support, and where all who seek long-term recovery have access to the care and resources they need to achieve their self-defined goals. For more information about SOS RCO call 603-841-2350 or go to

Call for Artwork for 2020 “Artists of the Seacoast” Calendar

Call for Artwork for 2020 “Artists of the Seacoast” Calendar

PORTSMOUTH – Seacoast-area artists are invited to submit original works to be considered for inclusion in the 2020 “Artists of the Seacoast” calendar. Proceeds from calendar sales, donations, and sponsorships help Families First Health & Support Center and Goodwin Community Health provide quality health and family services to all, regardless of ability to pay. The calendar is produced with the generous support from local businesses who place advertisements in the calendar.

The agency will accept artwork, in digital format, through Friday, April 12. A committee will then select 13 works to appear in the calendar, from about 75 pieces expected to be submitted. For more details about the calendar and how to submit work, visit or call 603-516-2555.

Families First and Goodwin provide affordable primary, prenatal and dental care; behavioral health counseling; substance misuse treatment; family support and parent education; and mobile health care for people experiencing homelessness and others in need. Learn more at

BANFF Centre mountain film festival world tour comes to Portsmouth March 13th & 14th


PORTSMOUTH, March 4, 2019 — Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour is making a stop in the Seacoast as a fundraiser for Goodwin Community Health and Families First. The annual event, now in its 24th year, will run on back-to-back nights, March 13th and 14th.  Each night will feature a unique lineup of films that seek to inspire through stories of adventure, discovery and exploration in the outdoors. Attendees can come for one night or both.

The 2019 BCMFF World Tour features a collection of adrenaline-charged and thought-provoking films that explore life in the great outdoors. They highlight remote cultures, intense expeditions into exotic landscapes and bring action sports into sharp focus. This world-renowned Film Festival invites attendees to get off the beaten path and explore the edge of the believable. The event takes place at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Doors open at 6 p.m. and films begin at 7 p.m.

Event proceeds assist local individuals and families in accessing quality, affordable primary and preventive health care services through Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth.

“The films chosen for this year’s Banff Film Festival are awe-inspiring and amazingly diverse,” said Joann Neumann, Development Director for Families First and Goodwin Community Health. “The filming locations of these films span the globe, but this year we’re excited to include a story with some local interest – ‘For the Love of Mary,’ in which a 97-year-old man, George Etzweiler, competes annually in the grueling 7.6-mile race up Mt. Washington.”

The festival will screen eight or nine different films each evening — including short, four-to-five minute films interspersed with longer, 35-plus-minute features.

The Portsmouth stop of the 2019 Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour is sponsored in part by Digital Prospectors, The Sailmaker’s House, Coastal Canine Resort, CIT, Garrison Family Dental, Granite Bay Wealth Management, and Unitil.

Be moved. Be inspired. Don’t miss out.



Go online: ​​

Call: 603.436.2400

Visit: The B2W Box Office at the Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 (open from noon – 6pm, Monday through Saturday.)




Facebook: Banff Mountain Film Festival Seacoast NH



Wednesday, March 13

Rouge Elements:  Corbet’s Couloir

(2017, USA, 4 minutes)

Filmmaker: Teton Gravity Research, Todd Jones

Anyone who has ever skied or snowboarded Jackson Hole knows just how nerve-racking it can be to send it into the infamous Corbet’s Couloir, even in the best of conditions. Doing it in icy conditions on mountain bikes is nothing short of insane, and that’s exactly what we did.


RJ Ripper

(2018, USA, 19 minutes)

Filmmaker: Joey Schusler

The chaotic streets of Kathmandu may not seem like a typical breeding ground for world-class mountain bikers, but then again nothing is typical about Rajesh (RJ) Magar and his beat-up clunker.


The Beaver Believers:  Meet Sherri Tippie

(2018, USA, 12 minutes)

Filmmaker: Sarah Koenigsberg

Sherri Tippie, a hairdresser / Certified Live Beaver Trapper is working to restore the North American Beaver, the most industrious, ingenious, furry little engineer, to the watersheds of the American West.


This Mountain Life:  Coast Range Traverse Segment

(2018, Canada, 39 minutes)

Filmmaker: Grand Baldwin, Jen Rustemeyer

A mother-daughter team set out on a six-month ski traverse in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada.


For the Love of Mary

(2018, USA, 6 minutes)

Filmmaker: Simon Perkins and Kirk Horton

When 97-year-old runner George Etzweiler dons his lucky ancient green running shorts, he’s not just running to the summit of Mt. Washington. Etzweiler carries something else special with him: The memory of his late wife of 68 years.


How to Run 100 Miles

(2018, USA, 28 minutes)

Filmmaker: Brendan Leonard, http://righttoshine

Parental Guidance – Coarse Language

The odds were stacked against Jayson Sime early in life: poverty, homelessness, dyslexia, bullying. But he learned to fight. In 2017, he entered his first 100-mile mountain ultramarathon, betting on his lifelong resilience to carry him to the finish line.


Brotherhood of Skiing

(2018, USA, 10 minutes)

Directors: Colin Arisman and Tyler Wilkinson-Ray

Producer: Faith E. Briggs

Since 1973, the National Brotherhood of Skiers has overcome barriers by bringing soul, smiles and a party to the mountain.



(2018, USA, 11 minutes)

Filmmaker: Ignasi López Fàbregas

Marcel and Andrezj are a legendary pair of mountaineers. They have been the first ones to conquer the highest and hardest peaks. Despite their different temperaments, they make a great team. Now they face the biggest challenge: reaching the virgin summit of the highest mountain.


Skier vs. Drone

(2018, Canada, 4 minutes)

Filmmaker: Mike Douglas

It’s the classic battle of man vs. machine, but Olympic Bronze Medalist ski racer Victor Muffat-Jeandet isn’t worried.


Thursday, March 14


Far Out:  Kai Jones

(2018, USA, 5 minutes)

Filmmaker: Teton Gravity Research

Eleven-year-old Kai Jones isn’t old enough to go to the movies alone or order a sandwich at the pub, but in the mountains age doesn’t matter. He is following in his family’s ski tracks… right into backflips and tricks off of cliffs.


Fast Horse

(2018, Canada, 14 Minutes)

Filmmaker: Director: Alexandra Lazarowich* Producer: Niobe Thompson

Parental Guidance – Coarse Language

Fast Horse follows the return of the Blackfoot bareback horseracing tradition in a new form: The Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow struggles to build a team with second-hand horses and a new jockey, Cody Big Tobacco, to take on the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy at the Calgary Stampede.


Brothers of Climbing

(2018, USA, 7 minutes)

Filmmaker: Duncan Sullivan

How can you be what you can’t see? Mikhail Martin, co-founder of Brothers of Climbing, said, “I literally typed, ‘Are there black climbers?’ in Google … someone said, ‘black people don’t climb.’”



(2018, Scotland, 39 minutes)

Filmmaker: Lee Craigie & Mike Webster

Parental Guidance – Coarse Language

Follow Lee and Rickie in this raw and real portrayal of the places we go emotionally when under extreme duress while riding 190 kilometers a day from Banff to Mexico.



For the Love of Mary

(2018, USA, 6 minutes)

Filmmaker: Simon Perkins and Kirk Horton

When 97-year-old runner George Etzweiler dons his lucky ancient green running shorts, he’s not just running to the summit of Mt. Washington. Etzweiler carries something else special with him: The memory of his late wife of 68 years.


The Mirnavator

(2017, USA, 11 minutes)

Filmmaker: Sarah Menzies

Ultra-runners overcome obstacles with every stride. Force of Nature Mirna Valerio never thought she would have to overcome the negative voices that believe she doesn’t belong in the sport.


Reel Rock 12:  Break on Through

(2017, USA, 26 minutes)

Filmmaker: Peter Mortimer, Matty Hong, Nick Rosen, Zachary Barr

Parental Guidance: Coarse language

Margo Hayes, a little-known 19 year old from Boulder, Colorado, has moved to Europe to train and climb with the goal of succeeding on two of the most iconic 5.15s in France and Spain. But by pushing her body and mind to the absolute limit, she risks injury and failure in her quest to be the first.


The Frenchy

(2018, USA, 13 minutes)

Filmmaker: Michelle Smith

Parental Guidance – Coarse Language

Jacques is an 82-year-old, badass athlete, but the real story is how he inspires us with his contagious love of life, epic tales of survival and his ability to counter aging through laughter.


About the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour:

Immediately following the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, held annually in November in Banff, Alberta, Canada, a selection of the top films submitted to the Festival go on a tour around the world. Host organizations in each tour location help to choose a program that reflects the interests of their community, creating a unique celebration of adventure and adventurers at each stop. The World Tour spans the globe, reaching over 500,000 audience members.


About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity:
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential.


For details about the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, the World Tour and Banff Centre, please contact:

Lauren Schmidt

Ph: 403.762.6401




Screenings of the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Canada and the USA are presented by Rab and Banff and Lake Louise Tourism; sponsored by Deuter, Clif Bar & Company, Mountain House, Oboz Footwear, Yeti Coolers, Buff® and Sierra Nevada Brewing; with support from Petzl, Kicking Horse Coffee, World Expeditions, The Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mammut.


For More Information