A chat with Mystic Land Productions about their upcoming project
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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.
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 final.
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 editing.
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 my favourites.
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!!!!!!!!
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