The ski film genre is evolving. It used to be that a ski movie consisted of a series of action segments sandwiched together, accompanied by loud, pumped-up music with scenes of skiers carving a gnarly line on a mountain face. Then hitting some urban features. Then doing some tricks. Rinse and repeat, like ten times.
In recent years, production companies have started adding depth to ski films. Some ski movies now feature storylines — maybe even some narration. Athletes become characters and the natural scenery is no longer just a backdrop. Companies like Sherpas Cinema are making robust, thought-provoking and stoke-inducing films that are far beyond the “ski porn” that used to get churned out season after season.
The International Freeski Film Festival, abbreviated as the iF3, is one of the ways that the ski movie industry is being validated and celebrated. With a mission of searching for, recognizing and celebrating the best of what the freeski community and spirit has to offer, this event is all about highlighting the incredible results of fusing sport and culture. Whistler recently hosted its first iF3 event, and it was out of this world. Here’s what you missed.
Into the Mind — The Encore
Sherpas Cinema’s eagerly anticipated Into the Mind had its world premiere in Whistler back on September 28th, but the show sold out quickly and many ski film fans were left in the dust. Even those who were able to snag the coveted tickets wanted to see it again– the film captures so much action, that it’s impossible to digest in a single viewing. Whistler’s first iF3 kicked off with an encore screening of Into the Mind, highly appropriate given the significant Whistler Blackcomb segment in the film and the prevalence of local athletes throughout the movie.
Pro Skiers Were EVERYWHERE
It was almost impossible NOT to bump into your favorite pro skier throughout the iF3 weekend. The stars of the film being screened made in-person cameos, offering insight into the making of the film and hosting contests for free swag (see below). Athletes hung around before and after shows, happy to sign posters and pose for photos. They also made the most of the festival by hitting up all the parties in town. Speaking of parties…
The Parties Were Insane!
The iF3 is equally known for the phenomenal films it screens as it is for its themed parties. The weekend kicked off with a Retro Party. Think neon, neon and more neon. It happened again the following night, with Sean Pettit and Red Bull’s rock star themed party. In classic freeski style, the parties lived up to the go big or go home mantra.
Colby James West: The Host with the Most
Known for his big talent and hilarious segments, Colby James West hosted the film screenings throughout the festival. Colby had the crowd pumped for the films, the sponsors, the stars and the prize giveaways. Equally charismatic in person as he is in ski films, Colby was the perfect choice to host this high energy festival.
Prizes for Everyone!
There were insane giveaways throughout the weekend. Pro skiers threw armloads of swag into the audience in between ski films, and Colby West administered twerking contests, awarding winners with entire new snow get ups for the upcoming season. Sponsors like MyPackage offered a TON of prizes for just showing up, and parties had the chance to win brand new K2 skis.
Valhalla — Best Storytelling and Jury’s Favorite
Awards are handed out at iF3’s Montreal event in September, but the best of the best were included in Whistler’s film line up, including Sweetgrass Productions’ Valhalla. This film had nabbed the prizes for both Best Storytelling and Jury’s Favorite. Spectators were treated with the dreamy story of a ski bum’s life in a mystical mountain world, known as Valhalla.
Supervention: the Super Standout
The star film of the festival came from Norway. Field Productions’ Supervention aired in the fourth and final screening of the event, and was the finale we had all been waiting for. The scenery, story lines, skiing and snowboarding were all equally spectacular and had the crowds hollering throughout the show.
More Ski Movies Than You Can Imagine
With eight hours worth of ski films, from shorts to major productions, even the most enthusiastic ski film connoisseur would have been challenged to take them all in. The event was split into four different productions, each with a variety of ski films to keep attendees sitting on the edge of their seats.
The weekend was a whirlwind of films, fresh powder, pro athletes and parties. As with all good events, it went by in the blink of an eye. if3’s 2014 Whistler event is sure to be even bigger and better. Keep your eye out for details– this festival is not to be missed.