Words by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Matt Stauble, Charles Spina & JP Daignault
Sorry for the delay in the updates everyone, but things have been full on here in Montreal at the third annual International Freeski Film Festival, which is just in the process of wrapping up as I type this.
Following Thursday night's World Premiere of Transitions at the first of two North Face Outdoor Screenings and the NSX Party, the throng of fans, athletes, filmers, photographers and industry folk made the hangover-induced pilgrimage to the gorgeous Cinema Imperial for the first of two days of premieres where eight new films were unleashed to the masses.
Things kicked off with the first three AM films, Hands Up by Secondhand Productions from Sweden, which featured amazing cinematography courtesy of the picturesque region of Scandinavia, Reflections by Might Jamming Productions that saw a slew of Japanese skiers just given'er, and local heroes NSF Productions and their brand new film Brand New Day, where the urban technicality of Quebec skiers was on full display.
The IF3 Store
Following the AM films, the Pro division kicked off in a real cool way with Mad In France by SVP. The film had an amazing mix of big mountain, backcountry, park and pipe and featured solid performances by Laurent Favre, Arnaud Kugener and most notably, Richard Permin. Intertwined throughout the film was artsy shots of the skiers living in a mental institution, which added something extremely unique to the overall feel of the film.
Rage Films' Pretty Good was up next, and you're going to have to see the intro for yourself to believe it. I don't wait to give too much away, but think Ian Cosco, nudity, and Austin Powers. You'll see what I mean. From there the film got everyone in attendance charged up to shred thanks to groundbreaking performances from Gus Kenworthy, LJ Strenio, Joss Christensen, Mike Mertion, Joe Schuster, Cosco, the list goes on and on. In short, it was pretty good...sorry, couldn't resist.
Up next were the blue bloods of East Coast filmmaking, The Meatheads, with Wild Stallions. The crew got on stage en masse all decked out in their standard wild attire to introduce their film, which opened with an amazingly creative segment of Andy Parry and Will Wesson, LJ Strenio getting silly on the gnarliest of the gnar urban rails...and a whole lot of horse sounds. The film was all about what the Meatheads are all about, having fun. So if you like having fun, check out their film. You won't be disappointed.
It then got down to the nitty gritty of the first day with Ride The Planets' Can't Stop, which featured Sammy Carlson and his crew of friends. Sammy of course slayed everything in front of him to absolute bits, but arguably the biggest highlights were the return of Mount Hood OG Tommy Ellingson and the debut of young guns Willie Borm and Seamus Flanagan. Combine that with the crisp, unqiue and adventurous filmmaking of Dominique Janiszewski (Sammy's filmer at JOSS two years ago), and it made for one great package.
Level 1 Productions' Freedle Coty & Kyle Decker
Then one of the most anticipated films of the year dropped, Level 1 Productions' Refresh. The film saw far too much sickness to recap in a paragraph, including jaw-dropping segments from Tom Wallisch, Henrik Harlaut, Phil Casabon (all of whom's parts brought urban skiing to a whole new level), steeze master Adam Delorme, backcountry slayer Wiley Miller, and much, much more. But what made Josh Berman's masterpiece stand apart from any other this year was a secret weapon the Level 1 crew had up their sleeve...Warren Miller provides commentary in the movie. Yeah that's right, THE Warren Miller. His oh-so familiar voice that is so synonymous with skiing talking about how far the sport has come from when he began making films to where it is today created an emphatic bridging of the gap of the old vs the new, and after the film was over the legendary Dave Crichton (who was in attendance this weekend to the delight of all) perhaps said it best to me... "When we look back on that film in five years, it's going to be considered a milestone in our sport."
Reebok Classics party at Telus Theatre
Once the premieres were all said and done and everyone began counting the days until winter, the ski world took over downtown Montreal as close to 1,000 people made the mass exodus towards the Telus Theatre for the Reebok Classics Party, which featured a series of unbelievable performances by Imposs, the beatbox champion of the world Rahzel featuring DJ JS-1 (who damn near brought the building to the ground), and last but most certainly not least, the man Source magazine named one of the best hip-hop producers of all time, DJ Premier, who lived up to everyone's high expectations and then some.
Much like at the NSX Party the night before, everyone in attendance took partying to the next level, which of course was to be expected considering how legendary the reputation of IF3's nightlife is. And once the lights came on the crowd filed out and headed in the direction of poutine and pizza before eventually arriving at the Montreal Hilton roughly around the time the sun came up, making for another fantastic day.
Yesterday saw 10 more premieres go down, including the most recent offerings from Poor Boyz, MSP, Nimbus, Field Productions, 4bi9 (along with many more) and of course, the always infamous NS Awards, all of which we'll have full coverage on tomorrow. But for now, because we know you're all dying to know, here's the results from last night's awards, which went off like never before.
Stay tuned for coverage on the last day of IF3...