The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival has just announced the winner of the latest Photo Essay Competition is Italian photographer David Marciano.

David Marciano was born in 1971 near Pisa, Italy, and that is where he continues to live and work today. He has always enjoyed travel and he discovered a love of photography in the early 1990s. Since then he’s combined the two passions and this year he’s been internationally recognized for his work by winning the Banff Mountain Film Festival Photo Essay Competition.

The subject of Marciano’s essay is the Great Monlam prayers festival in Tibet, which was established in 1409 and has taken place every year since. He says “Monlam is considered by many to be the most important religious festival for the Tibetan people. Monks and pilgrims pray for several days for long life, for the growth of Dharma in the minds and for world peace. The most important day is the unveiling the Buddha [during which] monks and pilgrims carry a huge Buddha painting on their backs and unroll it on the hill so that it can be blessed by all people.

These photos were taken in the areas of Labrang, Tongren and Langmusi in Tibet. For more about Marciano’s winning entry, as well as the special Jury Mention, visit

The Festival’s inaugural Mountain Photo Competition was in 1996 and in 2015 the competition pivoted to a photo essay one. Its goal is to showcase the best in mountain-themed photo essays and to recognize the best stories told through a series of still images.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival went online during 2020 due to Covid but Banff Festival it is preparing for a smaller in-person Festival this year, from October 30 to November 7, and will be held in two theatres, including the new Jenny Belzberg Theatre, which replaces the Eric Harvie one and introduces better acoustics, sight lines, balconies, more leg room and comfortable seats. A virtual festival will run parallel to the in-person event and a virtual tour will launch late November and carry through to October 2022. World Tour Canada and USA screenings will also be in-person from December 2021 to mid-October 2022. For more about the upcoming festival, visit