The rumor mill has been turning over the past couple days, saying that everyone’s favorite Wu-Tang cover band steezy skiers, Phil Casabon and Henrik Harlaut, have decided not to film with Level 1 this year in favor of producing a show with Eric Iberg’s Insipired Media Concepts.
We got in touch with Iberg to set the rumors straight and talk about what might be in store. He confirmed that Phil and Henrik will be filming exclusively for Inspired. They will be making three “shows” under the B&E banner with the first one scheduled to drop Thursday, January 13. The next two will be spread over the coming months, with the final show hitting the internet in June. Iberg says the show will explore “where they come from, who they are, and what their personalities are.”
This is a pretty big move for two guys who have had some success in comps, but have really made their names with steezy segments in Level 1 movies and with hip-hop heavy web edits. Up until now the holy grail of a freeski career has been competition success first, and then climbing the ski film ranks to try to land a spot in a Poor Boyz or Matchstick movie (with Level 1 now being equal or not far behind). However, as Iberg readily pointed out, “It’s like the music business, nobody is selling CD’s or DVD’s anymore…it’s all about the tour, so now it’s more about the movie circus than the movie.”
Despite the fall of the hardcopy movie, Eric acknowledges that companies are still wed to the old models of marketing and exposure. I asked if he thought this might affect Henrik and Phil’s sponsorships, he took a minute to think and acknowledged that it might, but said, “Those guys don’t give a fuck, if we can get them the [viewership] numbers then they can market that and take that info into contract negotiations.”
It’s definitely a risk, but Iberg feels like the Inspired platform can help create a film skier who gets a high number of views on a regular basis. For Phil and Henrik specifically, he is adamant about increasing the production value of the B&E Show, but also portraying them as unique personalities rather than just two kids who like Redman and Method Man and happen to ski really well.
As far as leaving Level 1, Eric says that Inspired does not require any sort of exclusive filming contract. It’s just a matter of time and priorities. In the end, he says sponsorships are still “all about contest results” and the guys would “be in the same place [with sponsors] if they were filming with Level 1 if they didn’t podium in contests.”
What Inspired does offer is more control and freedom. Iberg said he has been friends with Henrik and Phil for a long time, but they decided on their own to become a part of Inspired. As an example of restrictions the guys might have felt, Eric said, “Whether it’s Poor Boyz or Level 1, you’re not gonna get a shot if you don’t have poles in your hand. That’s just one example, but now the guys have full control of what they put out there.”
We’ve seen examples of people outside of freeskiing’s mainstream (like TC’s Will & Andy) go the web route, but Henrik and Phil might be the first guys to voluntarily leave one of the bigger traditional film companies in order to focus on producing web content. It’s an interesting move, and might be a sign of things to come as traditional media continues to give way to newer forms.
Inspired Media will be releasing a DVD in August that is 100% filmed in Retallack. All of the internet shows that they produce during the season will be featured as DVD extras.
We couldn’t get in contact with anyone from Level 1, but we will be sure to get you their comments as soon as we can.
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