I got my first real impression
of Ben Cormier, the man behind Mystic Land Productions, in the summer
of 2004. It was the afternoon of the High North heli shoot.
The campers had gone down the mountain and we were up at the Horstman
Hut for some rest and relaxation until the light got perfect.
Not all of us were resting and relaxing though. From our perch
atop 7th Heaven someone spotted Ben, shirtless of course
(they call him Naked Ben for a reason), hiking up the ridge. When
Ben finally made it up to the hut, he informed us that he had missed
the last bus and lift ride up to 7th, and had decided to
walk up from the top of Solar Coaster. I'm really not sure how
to accurately judge or convey how far a hike that is, but I'm certain
it would take a lot of motivating factors ($$$$) to get me to do it.
Not Ben though, he was just stoked to be up in the mountains, getting
a chance to watch skiers go off.
I really appreciated seeing
dedication like that, not too many people have it. But Ben's lucky.
He's also got skills behind the lens, and he's been filming out West
for the past few seasons now. Low on monetary support from the
industry but high on life, Ben started MLP and is now readying his latest
release, “On'S'Touche”. I chatted with Ben earlier this summer
in Montreal about his season and how the film is shaping up.
Check the MLP
NS: First off, where are you
at in the movie-making process as of right now?BC: Right now I'm doing too many
things at the same time. After getting the copyrights for the songs,
I started editing three weeks ago and have had time to do four parts, I
started the fifth part, we also started to look out for sponsors to
help support the production of the movie, the cover is done, the business
plan is done, my partner is in Whistler to get some summer images. So
let say that in a month, most of the movie will be edited and almost
Who's your partner? What
was his role in the movie making process?My partner is Eric Simard
from Paralines. He's the assistant director of the movie, he gives
his ideas on the project, films, does a bit of everything to make
the movie evolve. He's a hard worker and without him it wouldn't be
possible to do the movie.
When we last spoke in
the fall you guys had a really solid lineup of riders that you wanted
to shoot. Did you get to work with everyone that you hoped to?No but we did get unexpected
riders and situations that helped for the creation of the movie.
Can you give us a couple
of examples of things that worked out? Some things that didn't?Our trip in Alaska didn't work
out because of the snow condition and at the same time I personally
didn't have the money to go there. Their were a few injuries as
well. JA Maheu blew his knee on one of the first days of shooting and
Charles Bédard had a sled accident that stopped his season earlier
than expected. But we did have good things that worked for us, in the
beginning of March I received a call from Jeff Thomas from Theory-3 Media, he wanted me to help him film the K2 Back 9 Mini Golf Invitational.
The deal was I go and help them out and I keep all the footage for my
movie, so I thought it was a very good opportunity for me to meet up
with a lot of pros and cinematographers in the industry. I've
also filmed with Johnny Decesare, he told me that it was OK if I use
the footage for my movie so that was cool, got a few shots with Andy
Mahre, Simon Dumont and Sammy Carlson. photo: Phil Binette
Who were the riders that
stepped it up in your mind, maybe beyond your expectations?JF Houle impressed me so much
in France. We were at the Candide Invitational and at first I didn't
know that JF was going to be there and he was the first guy that I've
seen in Europe, so that was a good surprise, but the Big one was when
we were at the event. They'd just opened the huge jump called "la
grosse Berta," a 38 meter jump, and JF was having a lot of fun on
it. He started with a 360 nose mute, so I was quite impressed with
his first try on the 125 foot table jump. Then on his second try, he
goes for different trick, bio 7 mute, right there I was freaking out. He did the same trick on his third try and then felt more confident,
so he decided to step it up a bit and climbed higher up the hill to
make sure that he would have enough time to do something crazy. So JF
does a nice straightline and I'm wondering what will he do next, and
he answers my question by gently throwing himself in the air for a full three seconds, spinning a bio 9 mute grab that he held for the whole trick…
175 feet long, that knocked me off my feet. I was the happiest guy!!!...
after JF of course, that was insane !!!
Another guy that really impressed
me was Charles Bédard. Charles had a short season because of a stupid
snowmobile accident. Even after the accident we went sledding on Sprout
mountain right in front of Whistler. We built a big jump with Shane
Szocs and Étienne Verreault and the next day it was sunny and I went
with Charles and he put up a sick performance where he did all type
of different moves, switch cork 5 and 9, flat 7 and the next day the
doctor told him that if he did not stop skiing right away he could have
big problems with the swelling on his leg so he unfortunately stopped.
Whistler had an epic snow
year (at least until I tried to visit in February, at which point it
stopped). Were you guys riding the resort at all or was it all sledding?We sledded a lot and when there
was too much snow we went on the mountain, so we did get cool footage
on and off the ski resort. I wish that we would have more back country
images, but I found out for myself that it's freaking hard to get one
good shot in the backcountry.
Where did you travel this
season? Did things go according to your plan? I only went in France for the
Candide Invitational and that was quite a cool trip, other than that
we were in Whistler's backcountry which was awesome. We wanted to go
in Alaska but when I got back from France, the boyz told me that the
trip was cancelled because they didn't have that much snow, so we stayed
behind in Whistler and had our fun at home.
Were you happy with the
support you got from sponsors? The what??? Let's say that
my biggest sponsor yet is my dad and I still need to pay him back, thanks
dad without you I can't do shit!!!
Is it frustrating for
you to not get that support?It's a little bit frustrating,
it would be nice to get a firm answer from the sponsors, they are always
interested, so you're always hoping that they will come back to you,
what is frustrating though is when they don't get back to you and then
your not sure what you can do, because your not sure if you'll get any
support, so I'm really hoping to get some support from ski companies.
How is distribution working? Where will the film be available? The movie will distributed
by Platinum Distribution, so it will be available everywhere they sell
movies. There's also another distributer on the net, Totalvid, they
seem to be interested, my lawyer is looking at the contract and we will
see what he as to say about it.
Hopefully the movie will be
in all the boardshops (North America and Europe), and on the Internet,
we'll have our website ready in a few months so you should be able to
buy it right there. As for the film itself, what kind
of music and editing style can we expect to see? I want to please all type of
people, even though you can't, so you'll get: rap, reggae, electronica, rock/metal,
punk. For the editing style, it should be dynamic and mellow, it will
go with the song's flow and what it allows you to do, if it's quick you'll
get intense editing, if it's relaxed and smooth, you'll get slow paste
Favourite shot of the year? There are a lot of shots that
I've claimed to be my favourite. Some are with JF Houle, others are with
Andy Mahre, Simon Dumont, Sammy Carlson, Étienne Verreault, Charles
Bédard, it's hard to say, so I'd rather not say anything on one favourite
shot but there are many shots that I'm thinking about, like that one time
in the backcountry with Johnny Decesare. We were with Dumont, Carlson,
Mahre, Verreault, Bédard and Szocs. We were shooting on a ridge and
the shots of that are so nice - it's a sick step down, not the biggest
but fairly big, and the boyz were just having fun, cool tricks like cork
3s, 180s, switch stuff, 7s...most of those shots were definitely in
Shoutouts to people that helped
you guys out this year?My dad thanx for supporting
me, Étienne Verreault thanx for sharing your sled with me and for saying
"on se touche" all the time, Charles Bédard thanx for skiing
even though you had a rough time this winter it was really appreciated,
Michel Leroux from Whistler/Blackcomb thanx for all the tickets, Shane
Szocs thanx for the cool spots and the good times, Éric Simard merci
pour tout le gros!!! touche toi!!!, Arnaud "Roi Heenok" Kugener
and Virginie Faivre thanx for having me in your place in La Clusaz On'S'Touche!!!,
Candide and Lionel thanx for hooking me up at the Candide Invitational
and for touching yourselves in Whistler, Theory 3 media's Jeff Thomas
thanx for the opportunity, K2's Mike Gutt and Mike Powel, Johnny Decesare thanx for the sick ass ride behind your sled and for the opportunity
to shoot with Mahre, Carlson and Dumont, a big ass thanx to Dumont,
Mahre, Carlson and Matt Harvey thanx for the heli ride guys that was
freaking sick. A big thanx to all the bands who helped me with
cheap copyrights, hopefully we'll all get something out of that project,
thanx to NS, you guys rock!!! Maheu merci pour m'aider comme tout le
temps On'S'Touche!!! Thanx to all my riders, with out you there's no
movie, thanx to Sandra you make my life feel like a dream. Thanx to
everybody that loves skiing, and to everybody that I'm forgetting sorry
about that nothing personal, so thanx to all of you guys out there,
that touches me!!!!!!!!
For more info on Mystic Land
Productions you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.