Last winter old and new members of The Bunch came together to create a new film: color. The majority was filmed in the streets of Russia with short trips to Sweden and Japan as well. The crew of skiers includes a long list of heavy hitters - Pär “Peyben” Hägglund, Alex Hackel, Kim Boberg, Oliver Karlberg, Magnus Granér aka Skimanguy, Lucas Stål Madison, Forster Meeks, Lauri Kivari and Hugo Burvall.
We reached out to Peyben, Hackel, and Magnus to find out more about what went on behind the scenes. It should be noted that color is Peyben’s first full film. He produced, filmed and edited, with assistance from Alex Hackel for production and additional filming.
The twenty-minute film doesn’t need to feature banger after banger (though there are plenty of bangers) to captivate the audience. Instead, Peyben interweaves skiing with clips of the crew enjoying their time outside of shooting. The final product leaves an impression upon the viewer about not only the crew’s love of skiing but also their friendships with each other. “Our goal with the movie was to portray that feeling of love, not only towards skiing but the people we surround ourselves with,” Peyben explained. “The first segment, after the intro, was the only clear vision we had for color as we started editing and we've been talking about it as ‘The Love Segment.’” That particular segment is full of smiles, hugs and even some lovely Russian girls who Magnus said, “added a great vibe to the spots.”
color was split into a handful of different segments, which Peyben believes is “what makes the movie is the flow of emotions more than the segments one by one.“ Peyben’s own shots were featured in a split segment along with LSM and Magnus as “a tribute to our friendship more than anything. Those two together, with the rest of The Bunch, have pushed my progression in every aspect of creating,” he said. “Hackel’s segment was difficult, in a good way, because I really wanted to make it a classy segment that I would want to come back and watch over and over again because his skiing deserves it”, he continued. “Overall, I wanted to show my truth of what street skiing is.” To him, that meant the absence of “over-dramatic shots of police and all that, because that's not what I think about when I think back on what our trips through the years have been like.”
When filming in the streets, you have to expect the unexpected. While filming for color, Hackel got hit by a paraglider and the crew briefly ended up in a Russian jail.
Hackel arrived five hours earlier than the rest of the crew to the northwestern town of Kirovsk, Russia. He was picked up at the bus stop by a Russian skier, who then brought Hackel to the patio of a ski resort. Multiple paragliders were seen lackadaisical in the air. That is, until, “The table came flying over me out of nowhere,” Hackel said. “I thought something super crazy had happened initially so I jumped up to see what was going on only to find the paraglider stuck under the table. It was Russia so I didn't make a big deal of it, as I wanted to not stick out.“ Hackel has later messaged the video of the accident - it had gone somewhat viral in the Russian interwebs.
As for the Russian jail?
As they were about to session a fence wall ride to down rail, the police were called on the skiers. Due to the language barrier, the crew couldn’t communicate with the Russian police, so they tried to with a translation app on their phone. It was unsuccessful. Hackel explained, “After trying to persuade them via this translation app to let us stay we got back: ‘You must leave immediately or …… the ……’ because the translation app could not translate what they wrote in Russian. We were all shook and vowed to not find out what that ‘……’ meant.”
The crew packed up and went back to their car when they heard a curious voice ask, ‘What police say you?” They proceeded to befriend the friendly Russian onlooker who then showed them around town. Hackel said, “Next thing you know it is 3:30 am and we are back at the housing complex where our Russian friend lives and we were hitting the spot.” They decided to come back to session the spot the next day equipped with the ‘no-fail plan’ of escaping as quickly as possible in case the police were called again.
The next day the police were called again. “I yell to everyone that the police are coming and do my best to unsuspiciously grab every shovel in sight and fast walk to the car,” Hackel said. “Everyone else follows suit and we have the car packed and ready to leave in a remarkable time of 30 seconds.“ Everyone that is, except for Magnus, who was held up by the police.
“We were shortly escorted to the police station. This was not an ordinary police station. The building we were taken into had no signage and we had to walk down over two flights of dark stairs into this ultra tucked away and gloomy basement,” said Hackel. “We were instructed to sit on the couch while 5 police officers stood behind the desk. Our Russian friend followed with us to the station to help translate.”
Their Russian friend and the police began to debate with each other. However, “All of a sudden we start to realize that all of the police officers are really enjoying themselves. They were no longer tense instead looked like they were having a great time,” Hackel observed. “That’s when our Russian friend turned over to us and said, ‘The neighbors are very mad at you. The police they do not care, you must stay here another 15 minutes and when you walk outside you must look like you are very sad, big big trouble.’” The group left the jail, attempting to look as sad as possible.
Despite the hiccups, the trip to Russia was, overall, a success to film street for color. “Visiting Russia and interacting with local people is the best way to get rid of preconceived thoughts about what you think a country is,” Peyben said. “Russia has Been a favorite of mine since five years back when we did our first trip to Moscow. The northwest parts are amazing for street filming as more and more people have come to realize.”
Magnus added, “Russia was the greatest experience. It was like going to the least beautiful, least touristy, most dirty, non-English speaking part of the world and having the best time possible. People dig us over there and we dig the people. It’s was a really beautiful trip with some wild friendships. Brotherhood on the next level.”
Whether you love or hate their style, the recent film color proved yet again that The Bunch is here to stay and will continue to inspire the upcoming generations of skiers with good vibrations… And even better skiing.