Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Rene Gouin
So first off a lot of people might not know too much about you guys, such as who you are and what you’re doing. Tell them about yourselves.
BC: I’m Ben Cormier…
LP: And I’m LP Sansfacon
BC: And we come from a long way back. I started doing ski movies in 2000 filming local riders in the park that were better than me, and things began to evolve rapidly after my first trip out to Whistler with JA (Maheu) and Charles (Bedard) around that time, which is when I made The Rush. And at the same time LP was working on his own movies including The Union, and then we met in 2003 and became friends and all our riders were saying we should merge our companies together and do a larger scale movie. And since we had pretty much all the same riders we figured it made sense so the year after that we made Assault.
What were your production companies before?
BC: Well I was always Mystic Land Productions.
LP: And I was Advance Vision Productions, and that sort of became part of Plehouse because I was shooting about three days a week with them. And after they announced they were going to stop making movies we made Beaver Tale last year and Broadcast this year.
So speaking of Broadcast, you guys won the People’s Choice Award for it at the NS Awards at IF3 last month. How’d that make you feel?
LP: So stoked. We were super happy everyone liked the movie so much. It was a big challenge for us, especially during the editing process.
Yeah it’s almost cliché to say when talking about ski movies, but you guys really had a fresh new concept with Broadcast. Tell everyone about it.
BC: Well the main idea behind it was that when we all wake up in the morning to go riding we often like to pump ourselves up by putting a ski movie in while we’re cooking breakfast and getting ready for the day. So we wanted to bring that concept into the film in a way by suggesting that it was a great movie to start your ski day with. It’s pretty original actually because we did an introduction where JF (Houle) wakes up, makes a coffee and sits down to watch TV and as he’s flipping channels he comes across a ski show which is hosted by Doug Bishop, and he introduces each of the riders’ segments in the movie via a news broadcast format. It was great having him work with us because he’s such a known personality in the ski world and he’s super funny, so to have him take part in the movie and have such a big role made it that much better and helped it become more of a fresh concept. We’re so use to seeing ski movies where the riders talk about themselves and how hard it can be to do what they do with dealing with injuries, making an impression on the ski world, keeping their sponsors happy and doing their best to help progress the sport. But with us it was a bit different because we didn’t want to make it a drama about how the ski life is hard, because it can be hard, but really life is good, so we wanted to bring out that positive vibe.
Who’s in it?
LP: JF Houle, Phil Casabon, Chris Turpin, JA Maheu…
BC: Arnaud Kugener, Alexis Godbout…
LP: Frank Raymond, and of course the legend JF Cusson.
Where was it filmed?
BC: We did most of the rails in Quebec which LP filmed for the first two months of the season and then in January we headed out west to Whistler and filmed there for pretty much the rest of the year.
LP: And we did a trip to Europe to hit up Arnaud’s superpark shoot and the Candide Invitational.
LP with Arnaud Kugener, JF Houle and JA Maheu in France
Nice. So as everyone knows, and you eluded to this earlier LP, Plehouse is no longer making movies, and for a lot of people that left a bit of a void for the Quebec scene, especially for the athletes and everybody who was involved in those films. And now with how much you guys have been stepping it up over the last two years, it seems like a lot of people are looking towards you guys to fill that void in a way. Is that your intention, or what on your thoughts on that?
BC: No it’s not our intention at all. I mean for us it was a good opportunity although it sucked to see them stop making movies because we of course know those guys super well and are really big fans of their films. But in most cases before our riders were filming with Plehouse they were filming with either myself or LP anyway so now it’s kind of interesting because in a way they’ve all come back to the source. So in the end I suppose we are kind of the guys that are replacing Plehouse now, because we’re both from Quebec and we’ve always filmed a lot of the same riders, but it certainly was never our intention to do that, it’s just sort of the way things happened.
How’s the response been to Broadcast thus far? Are you guys happy with the finished product?
BC: Everyone’s been really positive, and the reaction at IF3 was amazing. I could see LP’s face lighting up as everyone was going up to him and giving him props all night, and we both had a ton of the biggest producers in the industry come up to us and complement us along with a lot of pro and amateur riders. It’s been nothing but positive vibes so we’re stoked.
Ben shows off JA's speed lines at IF3
What are your plans for this winter?
BC: Well I’m organizing a bit of everything with trying to figure out cameramen and trying to get money from sponsors. It’s always hard to come from the bottom of the ladder and climb up a notch each year. We really need some good distribution if we’re going to continue to do this because last year Studio 411 was supposed to help us but after they got bought by VAS (Video Action Sports) we couldn’t really get a clear answer from them as to what was going to happen, even though we had a contract signed for worldwide distribution. And in the end we got fucked, and it left us on our own one more time, trying to figure out how we can progress as a company. So for next year we definitely have some unique plans and ideas in the works but I’m not too sure if it’ll happen or not until I get a solid team together, money to pay that team, a budget, and companies that want to back our project.
Tell everyone about those ideas and plans.
BC: Well the name of the movie will be Far West, and it’s going to be a mix of the cowboy world with skiing. I want to make it an adventure movie where we start with one character that has a quest to find the ‘serial skier,’ like a serial killer, but with a wild west-style cowboy theme. So we’ll follow this rider as he looks for the villain and along the way he’ll meet other riders who will act as characters like the sheriff or the banker who will help guide him through the movie until he finds the serial skier, who will of course have the last segment. It’s going to be really funny and entertaining, because we’ll be bringing the ski world to the cowboy dimension, and we plan on doing more animation and motion graphics to complement it. We basically just want to make something that will make people laugh and entertain them while showing them a new way to present skiing.
That’s pretty much the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard (laughs). Hopefully people will get involved in the project.
BC: Hopefully otherwise there’s going to be no project, period. LP and I can’t do everything ourselves.
Fair enough. Picture this scenario…a kid walks into a shop this fall and wants to buy a ski movie but there’s so many to choose from. He stares at the case in the shop and see MSP, Poorboyz, Tanner’s movie, Level 1, Theory-3, etc, but he’s heard a good buzz about your movie and that it’s funny, and that it won the People’s Choice Award at IF3 and so on. Why should he buy your movie?
BC: Well first off if you want to take a fresh new look into a fresh new world of ski movies that’s one reason. The second one is…
LP: It’s cheap! (laughs)
BC: Yeah it’s pretty much going to be one of the most inexpensive movies you can buy. So they’ll get their money’s worth for $20-$25 they’ll spend and they’ll enjoy the concept. So go check it out.
LP: I think too for the kids in Quebec or for anyone who follows the Quebec ski scene it’ll be cool way to see what the riders from here are up to. I think this movie is good for the industry around Quebec and in Canada.
BC: And I’d also like to add that for all the kids out there that are doing ski movies, if they look at what we’ve done with almost no money maybe it’ll inspire them to say, ‘you know what? We don’t have a lot of money, but we’re still creative, so let’s go out and do something really solid that the public will like.’ Because in the end the public are the ones who buy the movies and make things work.
Where’s the best place for kids to get their hands on a copy?
BC: Well all the Quebec stores will be carrying it, like D-Structure, Axis, Magik 4, etc. And for people outside of Quebec, as of today you can go on Newschoolers.com and order it. (Buy Broadcast Now!)
LP: And at the premiere on Friday!
Yeah you guys have a huge premiere going on this Friday in Montreal, where along with showing your film and ESK’s Hat Trick, perhaps even more importantly…you’ll be able to get 2 beers for $2 or two shots for $2 (laughs).
So I’m sure no one will be drunk at all.
BC: No no, I don’t know anyone who goes to a ski movie premiere with the idea of getting drunk (laughs). But yeah the premiere is going down this Friday at Bar Le Syndrome at 5777 St-Laurent, and the doors are going to be open at 8:30 with Hat Trick showing at 9:30 and then Broadcast at 10 sharp. And like LP said, the movie will be on sale there for only $10. So it’s $7 to get in, $2 for two drinks and $10 for the movie. So be there or be square.
LP: Yeah you can get a ski movie and get drunk for just over $20 (laughs).
(laughs) Shout-outs and thank-you’s?
BC: All the sponsors, all the skiers, all the fans. LP, for the whole winter and for his expertise. Without this guy the movie would not have looked as professional that’s for sure. I did a lot of editing but all the DVD authoring and all the post-production was pretty much LP. And my girlfriend Anne-Marie Laliderte who helped us out a lot. It’s unfortunate to say and maybe I shouldn’t say it, but without her this movie wouldn’t have happened, because we didn’t get a lot of our sponsor money till August and she along with LP advanced a lot of their own personal money to make sure there actually was a movie. It’s unfortunate but that’s reality sometimes.
LP: All the riders, Ben, Anne-Marie and Arnaud, who let me crash at his place in France.
BC: And my Dad Claude (laughs)…and our dogs! (laughs)
Any last words?
LP: Buy the movie! (laughs)
BC: Believe in your goals and remember that small goals lead to be big goals. Sometimes you want to focus on the bigger goals first and it can get discouraging, but it’s important to see all the small goals you can achieve before coming to those big ones.