The World Ski and Snowboard Festival is absolutely nothing without the sports. The arts and culture components are peripheral, a way to hype the sports up and celebrate the impact they have had on mountain culture. The sports are so ingrained now that festival organizers have added a second filmmaking competition to the festival, called Intersection.
Six film crews have seven days to produce a five to seven minute extreme sports short film that must include both ski and snowboard. The prize is $15,000, which is whole lot of dough for up-and-coming filmmakers.
Shooting began on Wednesday, so by the time you read this they'll all be trudging through snow, climbing hills, working long and grueling hours while the stress overcomes them, for one shot at glory and a fat stack of cash. Let's take a look at who these challengers are:
Toy Soldier Productions
The people at Toy Soldier don't know Whistler at all. They've never visited before and while people may think this will be to their detriment, producer and editor Shane Dowaliby is certain the film crew can play this to their advantage.
"We're not going to know the ins and the outs of the mountain but I think that we'll have a fresh perspective on stuff," he says.
The team of three shooters and five riders are the only American team included in the competition. Dowaliby doesn't know how festival organizers got their contact info, or why they reached out, but they did and Toy Soldier graciously accepted. The chance to win $15,000 is too alluring for a production company only in its second year as a business.
Dowaliby says they've never participated in a competition like this before. The rapid pace for shooting and editing means a whole lot of tension, very little sleep and rushed jobs on all aspects of the film, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for them.
"We're confident," Dowaliby says. "We have a three person team and we work well together so I'm sure we'll be able to get it cranked out."
Athan Merrick knows the mountains well having lived in Whistler full-time in the winters for seven years. He has all the spots targeted. He and his business partner/fellow producer Nicolas Teichrob know exactly what they're shooting and where.
"Everything is planned," Merrick says.
The crew will include Merrick and Teichrob along with a roster of athletes for different days - some for the park, some for sled skiing and snowboarding.
Dendrite has never done a film competition like this before, but Teichrob has completed the Deep Winter Photo Challenge and Merrick recently competed in the Crazy 8s competition in Vancouver, where teams must complete a dramatic short film in eight days. So these guys understand pressure.