Sat. Apr 16, 2016

​There was more than usual going on on this particular Friday night in Whistler, but the choice was an obvious one for most. Intersection was the hot event of the night. The Conference Centre was buzzing with energy from the moment we walked in to the second we left *ahem* to Garf's. Filmmakers, athletes, friends, family members and a few complete randoms were all gathered to watch the compilation of 5-7 minute films produced in 7 days within 100km of Whistler. 
The beers were flowing as they beckoned the first crew to the stage. The Big Picture, throwing down with a stacked crew including heavy hitters Parker White and Chris Logan, tossed out a film bound to appeal to the audience playing with the Canadian vs. American stereotype. Chris and Parker walk through the village being obnoxious Americans and are told they need to learn how to be more Canadian. They bring on a Canadian ambassador, Jordan Clark and Parker brings it upon himself to hit the park decked out as a hockey player - as if that's all it takes. Although, nailing all the rails in perfect form holding a hockey stick and Chris even pumps iron using our catch phrase 'eh', they fail to recognize the fundamental difference between Canadians and Americans - that big ol' ego. With some wicked pillow field shots, a brilliantly shot front flip, dub 12 and a brief tomahawk, it's no wonder these guys got the crowd going wild - goal. 
Next crew up to bat was KSM Collective, with an under credited hilarious Planet Earth parody, Pillow Earth. As if they had David Attenborough narrate the thing himself, they went on to describe the Whistler native's natural habitat and documents a 'young mare' race ahead as a minivan takes on a truck driving up the mountain roads. They go on to show a few jaw dropping drone shots of the mountain and the athletes touring into the backcountry, a few great cliff drops, a quick time lapse of dancing clouds and screech to a halt as the sled gets stuck - a natural process of the human as they dig it out. Man loves skiing so much they developed "highly technical systems", a chair lift, and that brings us into the required park segment describing a "new breed of skilled individuals". 
Being a ski and snowboard video competition, one of the requirements of the film was to have 75% of the shots on snow. A couple of these teams didn't quite make the cut, the completely fabricated Rinse Mega Corporation International being one of them. Despite having some reputable athletes and a talented filmmaker, the team ran into some unexpected hurdles during filming and opted to vlog about the experience via a fake YouTube account. As if we don't see enough fully buttoned obnoxious Hawaiian shirts on the village stroll, Graeme Mieklejohn's presence on screen was uncomfortable at best. A few great powder slashes and fun party mountain laps aside, the skiing and snowboarding was underwhelming until they made it back into their comfort zone of the terrain park, where they seemed to manage to figure out how to land a trick. There, they may have saved themselves and possibly the reputation of the subtly filthy Rinse Mega Corp. The entertainment value was not lost on us.
The UBC Freeride team was the underdog here and worked hard to prove they deserved the place on screen. They incorporated a theme of growing up as a skier and had a kid dreaming of being on the slopes while going to bed - relatable. I was pleasantly surprised at the caliber of filming and creativity in this film and almost made me want to teach kids how to ski. With a few nicely executed cliff drops and party park lines, the film was nicely balanced. The athlete line up was big enough to staff a busy restaurant but the more the merrier. 
ASM - Andrew Santos Media was the other team taken out of the running for not enough action with the base crew made up of Liam Casey, Sam Weston and Chris Clark - maybe it was the bong hits that made them overlook this minor detail. The premise was a bunch of stoners trying to brainstorm ideas for the video hitting every genre of ski film out there - street, park, carving and epic backcountry.Props need to go out for that awesome stomach drag on the knuckle. Nailing each genre's stereotypes, it was well done and funny which pulled at the heart strings of the crowd, as they took home the People's Choice Award and a big ol' bar tab at Garf's. 
The absolute all star cast of judges Jeff Schmuck, Sean Pettit, Spencer O'Brien and Kevin Sansalone were put to work with a hard decision to make and came to the conclusion to award The Big Picture with the winning title. I'm sure the dub 12 didn't hurt. All in all, it was an amazing night with some great talent put forth. Congratulations to all of the competitors and I hope this hangover was worth it. *Disclaimer, I can neither ski, snowboard or film for my life, all of my opinions are completely unbacked and do not matter in the least*