If you haven't seen the teaser for Sherpas Cinema's Into the Mind yet you're either new to Whistler or you don't get out much.
The local production house released the clip — complete with stunning time-lapsed mountain ranges, the distinct electric pow wow of A Tribe Called Red (more on that on page 64) and, of course, utterly insane action sports shots — a year ago and it's since made the rounds at Whistler events (particularly at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival this spring) and drummed up over 50,000 views on YouTube. When the company finally released tickets for its Sept. 28 premiere at the Whistler Conference Centre, the event sold out in two weeks.
The movie also nabbed the honours of film of the year and best editing at the International Freeski Film Festival, despite the fact that the version Sherpas submitted was still being tweaked for colour and sound.
Still, after the success of 2011's All.I.Can., they can't help but worry just a little about the threat of a sophomore slump. "Internally there's a lot more pressure on our directors and some of the guys working on creative," says producer Malcolm Sangster. "You want to raise the bar. You don't want to come up with your next film and have (people say), 'Oh yeah, but it's not as good as All.I.Can.' The way we scripted this film and the sections we set up for ourselves were a lot more ambitious than anything we've done before. On paper you're like, 'Oh yeah, that's a rad idea.' But when you get into it you're like, 'Holy smokes. This is a lot of work.' We put a lot more work into visual effects, sound design and original score than we ever have before."
Sherpas has built a reputation as an action sports film company that does more than churn out ski porn, particularly with All.I.Can., an environmentally leaning movie. This time around the storyline focuses on a skier climbing to ski "the ultimate run of his life."
"There's very little talking in the film," Sangster says. "It's a visual journey that if you connect all the pieces and the sub themes and even our chapter titles which break down into philosophy, we know that we're doing a good job."
The film takes place around B.C., but also in Alaska, Bolivia and the Himalayas, featuring athletes like local Callum Pettit, Kye Petersen, JP Auclair and Angel Collinson. The film attempts to strike a balance between showcasing their talents and using special effects and techniques to create an ethereal, dream-like atmosphere. "We still stay true to the core aspect of action sports where people do like to see straight action," Sangster says. "We don't throw in superfluous time lapse here and there. The seasonal time lapses you'll see are all in one section and they're all depicting a huge transition of time from a young skier to an old skier. Generally, each segment has its creative idea and then there's an overarching creative story for the whole movie."
The early stamp of approval from iF3 has helped boost the Sherpas' confidence heading into the premiere, which will take place not only in Whistler, but concurrently in other far flung locales like Norway, Austria and Sweden. (It will also be released early next month in digital form on iTunes and in other platforms.)
"In the dark days of the edit you really look at the film and question it," Sangster says. "'Are people going to like this? It's weird, it's different, it's dark.' The fact that (iF3) likes it gives us a boost."
The sold out Whistler show doesn't hurt either. "All.I.Can. sold out a day in advance and I remember I was a little worried about filling a space that big," Sangster says. "I think there's a lot more anticipation."
While they toyed with, but ultimately nixed the idea of adding a second local screening, iF3 will be showing the film at Millennium Place when they roll into town for their set of screenings on Oct. 11 and 12.
In the end, dealing with disappointed fans that couldn't get tickets isn't such a bad problem to have. "We have a huge guest list," Sangster says. "Luckily I'm not dealing with it this time."