Words by Jeff Schmuck

Photos by Dan Mathieu

The third and final day of the International Freeskiing Film Festival was capped off by the infamous and insane Newschoolers Awards at the Telus Theatre. The event was broadcasted live on NS, but for those of you who missed it, here’s a full recap of what went down and details as to when the entire show will be available for download.

The world premiere of Poorboyz’ Reasons had just finished at the Imperial Theatre, at which point the legions upon legions of fans began making their way down St Catherines Street in a proverbial wolfpack en route to the final party of the weekend.

As the herd made their way towards the show, the judges, Phil Belanger, Mike Beard and Phil Caron, were quietly making their last second deliberations in the mezzanine of the Imperial, deciding which of the 17 films would be recipients of the coveted NS Awards, which were single skis pressed by Moment with a beautifully designed graphic by JP Fortier.

After a late start due to some reportedly excessive security at the door, the crowd made their way into the brand new Telus Theatre and began filling up on drinks as they awaited the show. At roughly midnight, the lights went out and Tanner Hall took the stage to hype up the roaring crowd and introduce the hosts for the show (and the weekend), John Symms and Philou Poirier.

the hosts with the most: John Symms & Philou Poirier

Symms and Philou began by thanking everyone in the crowd for coming out to IF3 and gave the details on just what would be going down at the awards. There were 16 of them in total, 5 for the AM division, 6 for the Pro, and 4 awards that were open to both categories.

Sammy Carlson makes his entrance

The show started off with the AM category, and the first award of the night was for Best Soundtrack, which was presented by none other than Sammy Carlson, who after being carried out on stage by the DNA Angels, proceeded to pick up right where Tanner left off by stoking the crowd up. After some hype time and a speech straight from his heart about how much music means to his skiing, Sammy read out the nominees and announced the winner, ESK Media’s Hat Trick. Quickly the boys rushed the stage and thanked everyone really loudly in French.

Sammy present the award for Best AM Soundtrack to the boys from ESK Media for Hat Trick

Up next was the award for Best Editing, which was presented by Benoit Cormier, one half of Mystic Land Productions. Benoit presenting an award for the AM division was significant since just last year he won the NS Award for Best AM Film and is now competing in the Pro division. The award for Best Editing went to none other than everyone’s favorite partiers, Outdoor Education by Voleurz. Darren Rayner happily took the stage (with his counterpart Mason Mashon in the background getting the shot) to thank everyone who’s helped make the film possible.

Voleurz' Darren Rayner and Mason Mashon accept the award for Best AM Editing

The next presenters were a special treat for both the crowd and whoever was to win the award for Best Cinematography in the AM division. Eric Pollard and Chris Benchetler of Nimbus spoke about the importance of cinematography in a film, and then presented the award to ESK Media’s Hat Trick, who took home their second award of the night with huge smiles on their faces and many a celebratory drinks in their hands.

Chris Benchetler & Eric Pollard present the award for Best AM Cinematography

Presenting the next award was the presenter of all presenters, Tanner Hall. T-Hall, one of the best pro skiers in the world, took the stage like no one else in skiing can to present the award for the best AM skier. And much like he had been doing all weekend, Tanner took the time to give mad props the up and coming AM skiers and film companies, including Tom Wallisch, Henrik Harlaut, Jon Brogan, and 4bi9 Media and Stept Productions. To no one’s surprise, the winner was Tanner’s good friend Henrik Harlaut, who was unable to attend the event since he’s still skiing in New Zealand, so Tanner gladly accepted the award on his behalf.

Tanner Hall accepts the award for Best AM Rider on behalf of Henrik Harlaut

Then it was onto the last AM award of the night, the Under Armour Best AM Film, which was presented by Scott Hibbert. It was here things started to get crazy as once Hibbert’s name was announced, even before he set foot one stage the ‘shoe’ chant began. Not one to disappoint, Hibbert downed a shoe, and then called Under Armour’s newest team rider to the stage to help him present the award…Tanner Rainville.

Hibbert downs the first of many shoes on stage

In addition to the award, Under Armour threw down a $2000 cheque to the winner to help them with their next film. The nominees were ESK Media’s Hat Trick, Stept Productions’ Road to Nowhere, 4bi9 Media’s Slamina and Voleuz’ Outdoor Education. Taking home the award and cheque was 4bi9 Media, whose athletes quickly and excitedly ran on stage to accept the award. During their speech, Tanner Hall again appeared on stage to show his love to the boys.

Scott Hibbert and Tanner Rainville present the Under Armour Best AM Film Award to the boys from 4bi9 Media...

...who were accompanied by Tanner Hall on stage

It was then onto the Open awards, the first being for Most Innovative Visual Effect, which was presented by a man no stranger to innovation, Line skis’ Jason Levinthal. After a great speech that had the crowd cheering in approval Jason announced the winner, Ride the Planets by Up In Snow, which was accepted by Dominique Janiszewski and his #1 athlete Sammy Carlson.

Dominique Janiszewski accepts the award for Most Innovative Visual Effect

The next open award was for Best Single Shot, which was presented by the 3 Phils for the first of a few nostalgic moments during the night. Unfortunately, there was a bit of an envelope mix-up and communicate error backstage (courtesy of me), and The Phils ended up announcing the winner for the next award, Best Trick, which went to Simon Dumont’s world record breaking 900 (who is also still down in NZ skiing).

Symms and Philou introduce The 3 Phils

The confusion brought the show to a bit of a standstill for a moment or two as Poorboyz’ Johnny Decesare took the stage to present the award for Best Trick, before the mix-up was realized and solved, at which point he presented the award for Best Single Shot, which went to Jon and Andreas Hatveit’s backcountry follow cams from Reasons, which Johnny accepted on their behalf.

Johnny D accepts the award for Best Single Shot on behalf of Jon & Andreas Hatveit

It was then time for the last category, the Pro awards, which like the AM division began with the award for Best Soundtrack, which was presented by one of the sickest up-and-comers in the industry (and a real NS hero), Ian Cosco. Cosco spoke about music and how important it is to skiing and a segment before presenting the first award of many throughout the remainder of the night to Tanner Hall for Massive, who came of stage to give another classic speech, this time about music, and his good friend Cali P.

Ian Cosco presents the award for Best Pro Soundtrack to Tanner Hall for Massive

Best Editing was next, and being the editor of Newchoolers at the Newschoolers awards, I presented it. After getting the same treatment as Hibbert with the shoe chant, I was greeted with laughter from the crowd and Tanner (who was still on stage) pointing to the chat screen, where my partner in crime Jason Mousseau decided to distract me from my duties by saying I had the clap, which in turn distracted all the ladies in the room from the fact he actually does. Before announcing the nominees, I took the time to give props to Felix Rioux and JF DuRocher for putting IF3 on, and to Jimbo Morgan from Skullcandy for hooking us up with so much dope product for the event, both of which were met with huge applause. I then presented the award to Johnny Decesare for Reasons, who seemed rather surprised that he won (little did he know what was in store for him later).

Up next was Best Cinematography, which was presented by a man who is no stranger to that field, Eric Iberg. Iberg talked about what good cinematography means to a film, and then presented it to his best friend Tanner Hall for Massive, who accepted the award on CP’s behalf.

bottle service begins in the Reebox lounge at Eric Iberg presents the award for Best Cinematography to Tanner Hall in the background

Next up was Best Female which was given out by skiing’s newest and hottest ladies man, Sean Pettit. Sean had some fun antagonizing kids on the chat screen and people in the crowd before giving the award to Jamie Burge, who was unfortunately not in attendance.

Best Male was next and was presented by the lovely Lynsey Dyer. The nominees were Charley Ager, Tanner Rainville, Tanner Hall, Tom Wallisch and Sammy Carlson. And to no one’s surprise, for the second year in a row and his third award of the night, Tanner Hall took home Best Male. He again took over the stage and pleased the crowd and everyone watching at home by saying the lines between AMs and pros are becoming so blurred that the award should go to Henrik Harlaut, who had won for Best AM Rider. 

It was then down to the last three awards of the night, the first being the Jury’s Coup De Coeur, which was for the judges’ personal favorite, which went to Field Productions’ Get Lucky, which was accepted by the incredibly talented Filip Christensen and Even Sigsted, who made the trip to IF3 all the way from Norway.

NS' Doug Bishop, appropriately dressed as The Dude, presents the People's Choice Award to Benoit Cormier of Mystic Land Productions for Broadcast, with some assistance from his robot brother Dave...

Next was one of the highlights of the night, the People’s Choice Award, which was presented by the most appropriate person in the room, NS’ Doug Bishop. Dressed up like The Dude from the Big Lebowski, Bishop strutted out on stage with his brother Dave in tow, who like last year was decked out in an intricate and amazing robot costume. Doug ranted like no one else can, did a shoe, and then excitedly gave the People’s Choice Award to Mystic Land Productions’ Broadcast, which Doug was prominently featured in and had reportedly won by a long shot. Benoit Cormier and LP Sansfaçon ran to the stage and accepted the award, giving a huge thanks to everyone in the room who had voted for them.

The four that started it all, together on stage. Mike Douglas, JF Cusson, JP Auclair and Vincent Dorian present the award for Best Film

Then it was time for the last and most important award of the night…the award for Best Film. Both John Symms and Philou Poirier took their time introducing the next presenters, talking about what they’ve meant to them personally and to skiing as whole, as it would be the most nostalgic moment of the night. As the theme from Top Gun bellowed from DJ John Lee’s tables, Mike Douglas, JP Auclair, JF Cusson and Vincent Dorian, the New Canadian Air Force, the four guys that started it all, appeared on stage together in front of a jaw-dropped crowd. All four told the crowd how special it was for them to be on stage together and both JP and Mike commented afterwards on what an emotional moment it was for them. So it couldn’t have gone any better than for the four that helped start it all to present the award for Best Film to the man who took the chance to film them in the beginning, Johnny Decesare, who deservingly took home the award for Reasons.

The entire Poorboyz crew, including Tyler Hamlet, Cody Carter, Pete Alport and virtually all of the athletes from the film congregated backstage and waited for an extremely excited and extremely surprised Johnny Decesare to arrive. Johnny took the stage to accept and thanked the four presenters that helped start his career, at which point the entire Poorboyz family lifted him up on their shoulders during his moment of triumph.

IF3 President Felix Rioux (who has been working his ass off for a long time to make all this happen) then closed the show with a speech thanking everyone for coming, while the Poorboyz athletes dismantled the wall of boxes onstage and threw them out into the crowd. Everything after is a blur. Bottles, dancing, schmoozing and good times all around. There couldn’t have been a better way to end the weekend, and the truly amazing International Freeskiing Film Festival.

Results & Nominees

Stay tuned to NS for the last update from IF3 on yesterday’s JF Cusson Golf Invitational, and for those of you who have been asking…yes, by the end of this week, the broadcast of the Newschoolers Awards will be fully available on the site, so hang tight.