Catch-22 author Joseph Heller would agree that the brains behind Whistler-based Sherpas Cinema were in a double bind when they started filming the eco-ski-doc All.I.Can .
To showcase the best of all reasons to protect Mother Nature's rugged knickers, the film team had to burn a lot of dinosaur bones. If they didn't, they couldn't achieve their objective - inspiring viewers to take a more active role in the protection of the world's delicate resources. In the end the decision to keep the environmental story line in focus throughout the film trumped any option to drown it. Two years in the making, All.I.Can. is drenched in sweat, missives and helicopter fuel - a dramatically shot ski movie with ethics.
"We wanted to provide a film for the everyday skier that had that kind of content in it...we are all environmentalists by virtue of the sport, but we're frustrated and don't know what to do so we wanted to have a discussion piece and exploratory essay that people could take home with them," said Sherpas Cinema co-founder, Malcolm Sangster. Chasing steep lines and grand environmental stories across the globe, Sangster and his partner, Dave Mossop teamed up with professional skiers to tackle ambitious shoots like the temperamental Volcan Puyehue in Chile and dwindling ice sheets in Greenland.
"We chose Chile because there was this volcanic crater that Dave, our director had been to - it's a perfect circle, a 360 degree volcanic crater that looked like the most unique feature any of us had ever seen so we went there because it was amazing and had never been done before - skiing inside a volcanic crater," continued Sangster. "Greenland was a good fit for the environmental piece and the images of climate change and ice sheets melting, so we went up there and immersed ourselves in the culture and got a lot of that sort of imagery."
Shooting with Nelson-based videographer Eric Crossland, the award-winning Sherpas crossed five continents to gather footage, spending a good part of last winter shooting across British Columbia. Inspired by the diverse work of ( Baraka director) Ron Fricke and Quentin Tarantino, much of the film plays a role apart from the average snow flick - and its creators are treating it as such. Outside of the regular ski and mountain film festival circuit they plan to enter it at Sundance and non-sports related festivals. David Suzuki was mailed a personal copy earlier this week.
"We'd really love it to break outside of the endemic snow sports industry and have people start watching it as an enviro-documentary, so we'll see where it goes," continued Sangster. "It's a challenge to weave a story like that into a film that will keep people riveted from start to finish, so that was the goal. That was definitely the most challenging part because we're not environmental gurus so we had to talk to authorities on the subject to get their ideas into the film and to portray those ideas to the everyday skier."
Due to the complexity of many of the shoots the Sherpas kept their team tight, working with a number of Sea to Sky stars riders like Kye Petersen, Mark Abma, Eric Hjorleifson, Dana Flahr and Rory Bushfield.
"A lot of them are Whistler locals and they're buddies of ours and they're guys we've skied with in the past so when we go on these trips it's just like a big, happy family," said Sangster. "Especially for expedition-style trip where you're all heading up onto a glacier and looking after each other for a couple of weeks, it really helps."
Sherpas Cinema has booked more than 60 international screenings to promote the film - a dozen to be overseen by the company, the rest are licensed out to third party promoters. The first showing will take place in Whistler on Sept. 23 followed by an after party featuring The Tennessee Three and Mat the Alien.
Before the show, be sure to check out the free sustainability symposium featuring guest speakers, eclectic artists, live music, environmental non-profit organizations and a chance to meet All.I.Can. athletes, sponsors and influencers of the film. The sustainability symposium takes place between 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets for the film are $20 plus tax and can be purchased at the Whistler Visitor Information Centre or at http://bit.ly/otuTEy .
For more information go to sherpascinema.com.