High Five is the biggest screening of ski movies on the planet. Seventy films playing in the cinema and dozens more on the outdoor screens mean something of a content overload. There's a lot of good ski porn coming your way this fall, but as I sit here in the post-weekend stupor, I figured I'd give you a rundown of five of the best to look forward to. I've omitted the big productions for the sake of them being too obvious. Level 1's Romance is, in my opinion at least, a triumph, with something for everyone. Faction premiered their new movie The Collective on Saturday afternoon and again there are sections in here that raise the bar. You could certainly make a strong case that Sam Anthammatten is the best skier on the planet right now, his segment shocked me more than any other and the skiers around me, all seasoned pros, were losing their minds. And the Bunch crushed it with Elnour. Magnus and Hackel are the standouts and this is another beautifully edited piece from the Swedish crew. But without further ado, here are my top five from High Five (in no particular order):
1. Keeshlife 2
If you didn't know this was coming, you know now. And after the first film, that should pretty much be all you need to know to mash that play button when it drops. But Keeshlife 2 was so good that I'm going to wax lyrical regardless. Filmed largely on a dadcams and featuring hastily handwritten/colored-in titles, Keeshlife 2 is the perfect representation of how many fucks the crew gives about what you think of their production value. However, the crew is probably one of the most diverse and is certainly the most savage in skiing right now. Joona Kangas goes psycho, taking his trademark style to the backcountry, Lauri Kivari innovates in the streets, proving yet again that he's probably the most underrated skier on the planet (and should 100% have had a Real Ski invite by now). Antti and Anttu destroy both. And then there's Pontus Pentillä... it's hard to say how many screws he has loose but it's a hefty handful at least. These guys are some of the best doing it right now, it's as simple as that.
2. Magma - Alex Hall & Hunter Hess
Speaking of the best, Alex Hall. That pretty much covers it... Or at least in any sane world, it should. The man has like 10 minutes of footage in the Faction movie (and that's after they cut 50%) and then went to Mt. Hood to make another movie in summer. This one is 'for the love' but mans can't stop stacking, and there's more than a few bangers from him here too. It takes a brave man to step up to the plate and film a shared movie with this guy. It takes a savage to match, possibly even surpass, him at times. Chapeau Hunter. This one got me feeling more stoked to go ski than any other at High Five, great vibes and great skiing, including a huge NBD. Hyped.
3. Nuance - Brady Perron & Phil Casabon
Much like last year's En Particulier, Brady Perron has taken Phil's X Games shots and turned them into a masterpiece. I both love these movies because they show what an art skiing can be, and resent them for highlighting what a travesty Real Ski is for the artistic side of street skiing. Don't get me wrong, I'm as hyped to see the comp edits drop as anyone, but here you have a 15-minute movie that grips you from start to finish with those exact same shots. It shows you how much more the shots from all the riders past and present could be if they weren't crammed into 90 seconds to try and win a medal. I recommend you all to watch, give thanks and remember that the ski movie is our lifeblood.
4. Narcis - Elias Elhardt & Alexander Tank
Ok, so it's a snowboard centric-film... deal with it, a good movie is a good movie. Elias Elhardt travels to Kosovo twenty years after the war that devastated the country. The movie is centered around the abandoned ski resort of Brezovica and named after the hotel that used to be its crowning glory. Formerly a thriving town for locals and tourists alike, Brezovica has yet to recover from the war. There he meets local skiers and snowboarders, riding a hill that if you hit the conditions right, clearly has a LOT of fun to offer. I learned something about a war I only vaguely remember from my childhood and added a destination to the bucket list at the same time. This one got a massive reaction in the cinema, which is as good a recommendation as anyway, check it out if you like a bit more than snow-porn in your movies. Oh and there's clearly plenty of potential when it comes to street spots there too, so for those who are looking for something new on that front, this is a good scoping opportunity.
5. Drawn From Here - Nimbus Productions
Last but certainly not least, a multi-year masterpiece from Eric Pollard. This one is not really about the riding but it's a work of filmmaking art. You can see that every millisecond of imagery, sound, and editing has been fine-tuned down to the minutest detail. The effect is stunning, entirely engaging. A story is told without the need for narration. It's Eric's long-awaited personal take on the, and the botched care in its aftermath, that almost ended the career of a legend. We see the care, love, and growth of his family as well as his journey deeper down the rabbit holes of ski and clothing design. And of course some snippets of the flawless skiing he is known for. Inside the theatre in Annecy, the crowd went on a journey. There were more rounds of applause for this film than any other of the weekend by a margin, and two standing ovations at the end. This probably isn't for everyone, in that it really isn't a ski movie in the traditional sense, but if you're a fan of Eric's work, then you're in for a treat. The movie accompanies a 200-page coffee table book that has just been sent to print and will be available soon.