What : Sandbox film premiere
When : Saturday, Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
Where : Millennium Place
Cost : $10
Where do the "Skids" go when they start to grow up? Well, some go straight to the Sandbox.
Kevin Sansalone is a professional snowboarder and one of the founders of Sandbox Snowboarding. Working with principal cameraman and editor Clayton Larsen, and a talented production team, and with almost a decade of film production experience under their belts, the Sandbox crew has established themselves with solid, unique footage from fun and talented riders. And the best part? They call Whistler home.
"About six or seven years ago we had a series of films called Skids, and Skids was short for Seymour Kids, 'cause we all grew up at Mount Seymour in North Vancouver," Sansalone explained. "So we grew up riding on Mount Seymour and we were kind of just little young punks and we had video cameras and we'd make these videos of us snowboarding and traveling around the world, because we were sponsored snowboarders and we liked to party!"
They eventually decided to take these little projects, which were a bit "rough around the edges," up the production quality, and tackle heftier projects.
"As filmmakers, we kind of wanted to take it to the next step, so together with the guys that I was working with and a couple new guys, we made a conscious decision to drop the party footage, get some new camera gear and toss us some new sponsors, and kind of just change it a bit," Sansalone explained.
"We definitely want to keep the fun, it was just a little different taste, you know? We knew that change is good in our industry."
They made the transition from Skids to Sandbox about six years ago, creating as many films in that time. (Side note: on top of their annual snowboard films, the Sandbox crew is also responsible for the fashionable "Brain Bucket" that took the Whistler Blackcomb park by storm a few years back.)
Late last week, Sansalone was on Vancouver Island waiting for a storm to die down so the crew could get out on the beach in Tofino for a shoot. But he and the rest of the crew were also eagerly anticipating the release of their latest snowboard project, dubbed Now You Know .
"A lot of the guys are unknown riders and there's a couple new guys and some underground Canadian guys, and if you didn't know them before, now you know!" he laughed.
While there is an underlying concept behind the film, Sansalone stresses that with the Sandbox crew, it's pretty well ski porn, pure and simple.
"It's ski porn, but we've got a little bit of lifestyle in there," he explained. "I love documentaries and I love having more talking and more explanation, however, the markets that we go after aren't super into it."
Their core demographic - 15 to 24 year olds - seem to be more interested in "the newest, the best snowboarding, crazy shots set to music," something to get stoked on before heading out on the hill. And there's something for everyone in the mix: you've got backcountry pow, urban rails and roofs; they've even thrown in a stellar double helicopter sunset park shoot on Blackcomb.
This time around, the roster features riders like Brendan Keenan, Jake Kuzyk, Andrew Hardingham, Nash Lejuenese, Ryan Hall, Dwayne Weibe, Mark McMorris, Rusty Ockenden, Jake Koia, Nick Brown, Seb Toutant, Steve Cartwright, Mikey Pederson, Andrew Geeves, Logan Haubrich, Rube Goldberg, Cory Gallon and Beau Bishop alongside relative newcomers like Scot Brown.
"(Brown) did really well for his first year," Sansalone said. "Because this is the thing: our movie is kind of built on bringing up some of the unknown guys... and showing them to the world."
As anyone who was here last winter knows, 2009-2010 was an epic snow season in Whistler. So, it just makes sense that Sandbox decided to shoot the majority of this film in their own backyard. But they also traveled throughout the province and the Alberta Rockies, down to California and Utah, over in Eastern Canada and the Eastern U.S., and Japan (for a second time, to make up for last season's ill-fated trip, which had to be cut short.)
Sandbox opted to drop their film a bit earlier than usual this season to get the hordes of eager snoweaters out waxing their boards and skis, and make sure the "shock and awe" factor was still there for everyone.
"Really, this year, we wanted the show to be for the locals and for the riders, and we want the riders to see it for the first time on the big screen, in their hometown, Whistler, with their friends," he explained.
Holding true to Sandbox's hometown tradition, the after party is set to go down at Garfinkel's after the premiere screenings. Don't forget to bring your ticket stubs for free cover.