Words: Jeff Schmuck
Photos: Matt Stauble & Charles Spina
The fourth annual International Freeskiing Film Festival is all said and done in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and it was truly one for the ages.
After just a few hours of sleep following Saturday night's wild Like A Lion party at the Telus Theatre hosted by Tanner Hall and featuring exciting performances by Biga*Ranx, Mikey Dangerous, Black Phantom and Cali P, it was time once again for the legion of skiers on hand in Montreal to head to the beautiful Cinéma Impérial for the final three webisodes and 10 premieres of the weekend.
The festive screenings kicked off with back-to-back films from the AM division, Chaoz Productions' All In and Quebec-based NSF Productions' Chase That Feeling, both of which contained high quality filming and skiing that was worthy of being in the Pro category (especially with Chaoz' use of the Red camera), and some of the most outstanding trickery in the air and on the streets, which did an A+ job of perking everyone up who was still feeling the effects of the previous night's antics. Be sure to check both of them out.
The third of the five webisodes nominated in the Best Webisode category, Nipwitz Episode 3 was then shown, followed by Stept Productions' best film to date, NetWork. The movie was a massive step up from the already high pedestal Stept has been on for years, with too many amazing segments to count from the likes of Sean Jordan, Clayton Vila, Cam Riley (who is now officially the king of close-out rails), Matt Walker, Paul Bergeron, snowboarder Justin Norman, and brief parts from Nick Martini and his brother Alex, who straightlined a chute naked into a lake while holding a bottle of Jack Daniels in honor of Shane McConkey. The boys also blended a fine mixture of HD and 16mm shots that gave their finished product a beautiful touch.
Local favorites ESK Media were up next with Stadaconé, which like many other movies over the course of the weekend incorporated storytelling into their film, by showing that despite the lack of big mountains and snowmobile and heli-accessed terrain in Quebec, you can still enjoy skiing as much as anyone, anywhere, and potentially follow in the footsteps of guys like JP Auclair, who became one of the most legendary skiers of our time after beginning his career on the very same stomping grounds. As a result, the film had an urban-focus to it, featuring some of the most jaw-dropping street stunts of the year.
Philippe Warren, JF Houle and Alexis Godbout
Laurent Jamet's Invincibles was up next, which like Stadaconé delved into the story of just how great it is to be a skier, but was focused more on the big mountain slaying that goes down in quite possibly the most breathtaking mountain range in the world, the Alps. After the lengthy film ended, the jib-hungry crowd got what they were waiting for when the 4bi9 crew hit the stage to shotgun beers and introduce their highly anticipated new release, Gunnie Season. Much like Stept, the film was a big step up in quality both in front and behind the lens for AJ Dakoulas and his merry band of rebel rousers, with standout parts from usual suspects Tim McChesney, Jeff Kiesel, Andrew Holson, Tyler Barnes, Steve Stepp, Henrik Harlaut, Tom Wallisch and everyone in between. The movie also featured a much more diverse and well-rounded soundtrack with some slower and somewhat 4bi9-unlike songs, but before you get your tall tee in a knot, rest assured that there's still plenty of hip-hop to go around.
The final webisodes, Chug Life 8 and Traveling Circus Episode 7 were then shown, before the always crowd pleasing Vermont-based crew from Meathead Films showed off their latest gem, Work It Out. Somewhat straying from their usual formula of only skiing on the east coast, the Meatheads went even further east last winter to Japan with LJ Strenio, Dan Marion and Sean Decker in tow, which resulted in one of the most creative segments to come out of the Land of the Rising Sun in years. And speaking of creative, the boys also took full advantage of the blizzard that virtually shut down Washington, DC last winter by bringing Andy Parry, Will Wesson and Shae Flynn to the nation's capital, where many a historic landmarks were jibbed as politicians looked on in disbelief. And a Meatheads movie just wouldn't be a Meatheads movie without the entertaining Radio Ron and The Hammer doing their thing, so special mention is very much in order for the bump-busting duo.
The Meatheads: Geoff McDonald and Chris 'Rooster' James
Voleurz' Look on the Bright Side came next, and is arguably the feel good movie of the year (and not just because of its title...although it definitely helps). The editing was some of the finest of any film (which is no surprise coming from Darren Rayner after his victory at JOSS with Team Canada this year), particularly in the intro, which is a three-minute long continuous shot of the Voleurz family meeting up to go to a party, only to be met by a naked senior citizen, which Ian 'Chug' Cosco responds accordingly to (and it shouldn't take a brain scientist to figure out what that means). With their usual blend of happy go lucky skiing, snowboarding and an extensive and technical skateboarding segment, Voleurz' once again has conquered their quest to do their part in helping break down barriers between action sports with their most unique and entertaining film yet, highlighted by parts from Joe Schuster, stellar skate segments from his brothers Jan and Cam (who also kicks ass at skiing, in case you've been hiding under a rock), a summer heli shoot at Camp of Champions filmed with the Red camera, and most delightful of all, Max Hill vs The Intern, which you need to see for yourself.
After a short break the theatre was once again packed to the walls for Poor Boyz Productions' Revolver, which you can read a full and extensive review on from last week's World Premiere in Seattle by clicking here, followed by the final film of IF3, Matchstick Productions' The Way I See It. With arguably the most astonishing jump segment of the year courtesy of Gus Kenworthy, Russ Henshaw and Bobby Brown in Alaska (which includes the first ever triple thrown on skis), Sean Pettit once again proving why he's the man and will be for many years to come, Eric Hjorleifson and Mark Abma continuing their reign as two of the best big mountain skiers in the world despite Abma's season being cut short due to injury, Jacob Wester, Henrik Windstedt and Pettit getting their pow fix and then some in Japan, combined with stories and humor from the athletes (particularly and unsurprisingly from the hilarious Colby James West) and the superb cinematography we've come to expect from the longest running film company in freeskiing, it's no small wonder why MSP reigned supreme later on in the evening.
Following the premieres, the sold out crowd once again made their way to the Telus Theatre for the culmination of IF3, the always infamous Newschoolers Awards...
The hosts with the most, Mike Rogge and Philou Poirier.
Shortly after taking the stage, hosts Mike Rogge and Philou Poirier introduced the most inspirational person in the ski industry, Riley Poor, who gave a touching and heart felt speech about the strength of the skiing community and how much it's helped him during his recovery process, and then asked for a moment of silence for our fallen friends Eric Simard, Arne Backstrom and CR Johnson. (...and speaking of Riley, a series of autographed items from the Riley Poor Silent Auction are now available on ebay for you to bid on (just click on the links): Tanner Hall illustration, Sammy Carlson illustration, Tom Wallisch illustration, John Spriggs illustration, TJ Schiller 2008 X-Games gold medal helmet, Tom Wallisch's Scott skis (with Salomon bindings), Tanner Hall Armada/Red Bull skis, IF3 signed and laminated poster, and an Oakley kit from Sean Pettit)
Following that truly special moment during which you could hear a pin drop as the capacity crowd wrapped their arms around one another in silence, it was time for the awards, where 18 IF3 Palms produced by Moment skis and designed by Cresus Design were handed out over four categories: AM, Pro, Open (available to any film) and Web. First up was the sole award in the latter category, the Newschoolers Best Webisode Award, which was presented by none other than Newschoolers' very own Doug Bishop, and won by Traveling Circus.
The boys from Traveling Circus take home the first IF3 Palm of the evening, Best Webisode.
It was then time for the AM category, where the amazing Azadi:Freedom cleaned up, accepting an IF3 Palm from Eric Iberg for Best Editing, and the Eric Simard Best Cinematography Award, which was renamed and dedicated in Eric's honor and presented by his good friends Charles and Antoine Gagnier and Antoine Choquette.
Antoine Choquette, Charles and Antonie Gagnier present the Eric Simard Best Cinematography Award in honor of their good friend.
The boys from B4Apres Media after winning the IF3 Palms for the Eric Simard Best Cinematography Award and Best Editing in the AM division for Azadi:Freedom.
Next up was the big one in the AM division, the award for Best Film, which was presented by last year's winners ESK Media. Much to the delight and roar of the crowd, Stept Productions fulfilled a long time goal by winning the coveted award, and earning themselves a spot in next year's Pro division at IF3 in the process.
Nick Brassard and the crew from ESK Media present the IF3 Palm for Best AM Film to...
...Stept Productions' NetWork, which was accepted by Connor Scofield, Cam Riley, Mrs. Martini and her sons Nick and Alex.
Up next was a brand new award, Best Teaser, which was presented by IF3 judge and Skipass/Zapiks founder Guillaume Lahure, who sponsored the award, and was won by Level 1 Productions for Eye Trip.
Level 1 Productions wins Best Teaser.
Following Best Teaser were the awards for Most Innovative Visual Effect, presented by Andy Parry and Will Wesson and won by PVS' Punch Line, and the Contour HD Best Single Shot, presented by Simon Dumont and won by Julien Regnier for his helmet cam 360 spine gap in Alaska in Poor Boyz Productions' Revolver.
Will Wesson and Andy Parry presenting the award for Most Innovative Visual Effect, which was won by PVS' Punch Line.
The one and only Simon Dumont presents the award for Best Single Shot.
Julien Regnier picks up the IF3 Palm for Best Single Shot and a Contour HD camera.
The Godfather of Freeskiing Mike Douglas then took the stage to present another brand new award, Best Documentary, which to no one's surprise was won by Eric Iberg and Tanner Hall for their gripping film Like A Lion.
Tanner Hall, Eric Iberg, Black Phantom and Cali P accept the IF3 Palm for Best Documentary for Like A Lion.
Sean Pettit then emerged to hand out the award for Best Jib Flick, which again to no one's surprise was picked up for the second year in a rown by Level 1 Productions for Eye Trip, followed by Phil Casabon presenting the award for Best Big Mountain Movie to Dendrite Studios for Out of the Shadows.
Phil 'B-Dog' Casabon presents the award for Best Big Mountain Movie shortly after helping receive the award for Best Jib Flick with his Level 1 Productions' brethren.
Nicolas Teichrob and Athan Merrick of Dendrite Studios happily take home the IF3 Palm for Best Big Mountain Movie.
Tanner Hall then came on stage again, this time to present the award for Rookie of the Year, which was won by Parker White in a tight race with his friends Chris Logan and Clayton Vila.
Tanner Hall, a man no stranger to nurturing young talent, presents the award for Rookie of the Year.
Rookie of the Year: Parker White
The incomparable Tom Wallisch then came to the podium to fittingly present the People's Choice Award, which in a sign of things to come, was won by Matchstick Productions for The Way I See It in another tight race.
Tom Wallisch presents the People's Choice Award.
MSP's Guillaume Tessier and Sean Pettit accept the People's Choice Award for The Way I See It.
The man who performed later in the night, Jarred 'All Star' Haynes, then swaggered on stage to present the award for Best Soundtrack, which he accepted on behalf of the absent winners, Nimbus Independent, who picked up the IF3 Palm for En Route Nomads.
All Star dishes out the IF3 Palm for Best Soundtrack.
MSP's Tessier and Pettit had just left the stage when X Games gold medalists Kevin Rolland and Xavier Bertoni had to call them back up to present them with their second honor of the night, the award for Best Editing.
Kevin Rolland and Xavier Bertoni presenting Best Editing in the Pro division, won by MSP for The Way I See It.
The Level 1 Productions crew then donned the stage for the third time after JOSS Team Newschoolers filmers Kevin Steen and Duncan Lake along with fellow Team NS member Matt Walker handed them the award for Best Cinematography.
JOSS Team Newschoolers members Kevin Steen, Matt Walker and Duncan Lake present the award for Best Cinematography.
The Level 1 Productions crew after winning the IF3 Palms for Best Teaser, Best Jib Flick and Best Cinematography.
It then came down to the final three awards, first with Best Female, which the iconic JP Auclair accepted on behalf of the absent Grete Eliassen, followed by Kaya Turski presenting the award for Best Male.
The lovely Kaya Turski about to present the award for Best Male.
The nominees included last year's winner Dane Tudor, the winner of the same honor at last year's Powder Awards Sean Pettit, and darkhorse Ahmet Dadali. As many wondered if the moment would decide the ultimate award battle between Tudor and Pettit, Kaya opened the envelope and to the shock and immense delight of the crowd, an overwhelmed Ahmet Dadali was deservingly bestowed the biggest honor of his career by winning Best Male for his stellar performance in Eye Trip.
An ecstatic Ahmet Dadali en route to winning Best Male.
It was then time for the final and biggest award of the night, Best Film. The nominees were Level 1 Productions' Eye Trip, Field Productions' Side By Side, and Matchstick Productions' The Way I See it. As the crowd grew silent, Riley Poor, who returned to the stage to hand out the most important IF3 Palm of them all, announced that MSP's best movie in years, The Way I See It, was the winner of Best Film at IF3 2010.
Best Webisode - Traveling Circus
Best Editing - B4Apres Media's Azadi:Freedom
Best Cinematography - B4Apres Media's Azadi:Freedom
Best Film - Stept Productions' NetWork
Best Teaser - Level 1 Productions' Eye Trip
Most Innovative Visual Effect - PVS' Punch Line
Best Single Shot - Julien Regnier in Poor Boyz Productions' Revolver
Best Documentary - Inspired Media Concepts' Like A Lion
Best Jib Flick - Level 1 Productions' Eye Trip
Best Big Mountain Movie - Dendrite Studios' Out of the Shadows
Rookie of the Year - Parker White
People's Choice Award - Matchstick Productions' The Way I See It
Best Soundtrack - Nimbus Independent's En Route Nomads
Best Editing -
Matchstick Productions' The Way I See It
Best Cinematography - Level 1 Productions' Eye Trip
Best Female - Grete Eliassen in Say My Name
Best Male - Ahmet Dadali in Eye Trip
Best Film -
Matchstick Productions' The Way I See It
IF3 co-founders Felix Rioux and JF DuRocher thank the capacity crowd for coming out to the fourth annual International Freeskiing Film Festival as MSP's Guillaume Tessier and Sean Pettit celebrate with Riley Poor in the background.
As the celebration ensued, Philou Poirier and Mike Rogge then introduced IF3 co-founders Felix Rioux and JF DuRocher, who thanked everyone for coming out to IF3 while copious amounts of free swag was tossed out, before Rogge again took the mic to introduce his good friend All Star, who threw down an amazing performance to close out the Newschoolers Awards and IF3, highlighted by his song about everyone's favorite ski website as members of the Newschoolers staff joined him on stage.
Jarred 'All Star' Haynes hits the stage for an amazing performance...
Let the party begin...
Matt Walker putting on a bumping set following All Star's energetic performance.
Alexis Godbout and Charles Gagnier
Powder Magazine's Mike Rogge with Level 1 Productions' Kyle Decker and Freedle Coty.
Newschoolers founder/Freeskier editor Matt Harvey.
This officially concludes the fourth annual International Freeskiing Film Festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Big thanks to all of the sponsors (especially The North Face, Salomon and Nike 6.0), all the filmmakers, athletes, venues and performers, IF3 co-founders Felix Rioux and JF DuRocher and their hard working staff, and most of all, to everyone who came out to help make this year's IF3 the best one yet.
Tanner Hall, IF3 President Felix Riox and Philou Poirier.
Stay tuned to http://www.IF3.ca and Newschoolers for videos from IF3 and the Newschoolers Awards, along with details on IF3's upcoming expansion to new locations with IF3 Europe in Annecy, France from September 30th - October 3rd, and IF3 On The Road in Toronto on October 16th and Vancouver on November 20th.
See you next year!