Cover photo courtesy of Alexandre Gauthier
How ya doin boys? Let's start with this: Who is your crew? Have you guys all been skiing together for some time now?
Guillaume Landry: I'm doing great, thanks for asking! Most of the boys lived around Joliette and knew each other since childhood. I was born there also but moved to Montreal when I was 6. My parents still own a cottage in this area and we went there every single weekend, so the guys and I shared the same resort. I knew who they were, but I was a little younger and we didn't have the same friends, so we didn't link up back then. My friend Benjamin was making park edits every single winter and I got interested in video making. He let me cut some of the footage he had and it made me want to do something all by myself. I broke an arm that summer so I started filming skiing right in the beginning of the season. I approached the cool kids¯ and created Snowballin Media. Some of them later became my best buds. I met Fred and Dom couple years after.
Frederic Ferland: I met most of the guys the season before skiing at Mont Avila in Quebec, but only met Guillaume at IF3 last year. He had hit me up prior to that about filming a full street film, and since it was something I've wanted to do for quite some time now, it was a no-brainer to join them.
Why Shorter Maze?
Guillaume: It's a metaphor in which the maze represents the urban season. You know what your initial goal is, but you don't really know what obstacles you'll have to face. 'Shorter' simply because the winter started late and ended early in Quebec last year. It really was a shitty one.
So this was you guys' first movie. Easiest part, hardest part of it all?
Guillaume: Yes, first and last. To be honest there was no easy part. We all put in to buy a winch the season before and it never worked properly, so we had to go without it. Dom had one so we used it for some spots before he moved out north, but thank god Banshee Bungees existed (and Fred's drop in). Also, being on the road a lot (even if you stay relatively close from home) is expensive and knowing that you put most of your money in gas and food is discouraging sometimes. However, once you notice that legit clips are accumulating on your hard drive and that the movie thing might really come to life, you get an extra boost of energy that makes you want to shoot more and more.
With so many kids just posting to Instagram this day, it's cool to see a somewhat underground crew of guys still trying to do it the right way. At what point did you guys say; We're making this happen?
Guillaume: We always had the idea of making a film in mind. We even tried the years before, but ended up breaking material, losing motivation and giving up. Having Fred and Dom join the crew definitely helped. Both were super motivated and it might have pushed others to get clips too. Apart from that, everybody was more hyped and I had made it clear that I would dedicate my winter to filming street.
Check out the the film above.
Fred, your opening segment was a heater. If you had to choose, what was your favourite rail to hit?
Fred: Probably the last one. It was a perfect down rail with pretty low consequences. It had never really been hit by skiers before, so I could just do any trick I wanted on it, as opposed to other rails in my part that we're all pretty well known, except maybe one or two. And it's one of the shots that took me the least amount of tries, so it definitely was my favourite rail/session.
Where was the majority of the movie shot?
Guillaume: Montreal and Quebec City.
Dominique had some gnarly crashes on that concrete wall redirect. Any other close calls?
Guillaume: Dom again, when he came up short and landed in the cedars. That wall was really high, so were the boys when they built the landing 1-2 meters too far the night before¦
Fred: We were hitting this rail for two days straight, and on the second day Guillaume's stomach started hurting really bad. We had to stop the session, and he ended up going to the hospital that night. It turns out that he had an appendicitis attack.
Saw that makeshift winch, how'd you go about making that? Any other budget constraints that forced you to work a little outside the box?
Guillaume: Well, the wooden one is Dominique's. His brother built it for him. Like I said earlier, we had problems with ours, but sadly it was a really good machine that would have given us a lot more possibilities. I also shot most of the movie alone, so I had a camera set on a tripod and had to go change cards/batteries and clean the lens every now and then. Fix shots are also a little boring, but this was the only solution. I would have also liked to have two identical cameras, instead of one GH4 and one T3i, which would have made the color-matching part a lot easier, especially with the fact that my coloring skills are pretty basic. Luckily we had pretty much everything we needed when the snow started to fall. We bought some shovels, but that's pretty much it..
What's everybody getting into this year?
Fred: I'd like to film even more street stuff than last year, but that's not in Guillaume's plans really, so we'll see how that goes haha.
Guillaume: Exclusive news right here. I feel like Snowballing's image didn't grow as fast as my artistic taste. I'm into music quite a bit, and I like taking photos, so I will launch a brand new project (probably next month) that will let me express myself more freely. It will indeed involve skiing, so Snowballin is not really dead, it will only morph into something different. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get more details.
In terms of content, I'm not saying that I won't film urban at all, but we are definitely putting our energy back in producing park videos.
Anything you guys wanna leave off with?
Fred: For my part, a big thanks to Guillaume's patience. It takes a while to get shots, especially in my case, and he never once complained when it was taking longer than expected.
Also, a big thank you to my girlfriend Isabelle. She helped us out numerous times with pulling the bungee, setting up the spot, and filming second angles. For me, it would have not been possible without her. And Guillaume, of course.
Guillaume: Thanks to my parents who let me take a year off to work on personal projects and thanks to every single person listed in the credits.
Cute little anecdote to end this Q&A haha: While Dom and I were setting the disaster over the fence spot, a homeless (apparently had a small apartment but whatever) dude who knew Dominique told us that he was scared that Dom would hurt himself while attempting this without any protection. He suddenly left and came back like an hour or two later with a hockey helmet that he had found in the garbage. Unfortunately I couldn't get this on tape, but it truly was a beautiful moment for me. God bless you Richard!
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