By Nicole Fitzgerald
What: Sandbox’s Flavor Country premier
When: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
Where: MY Millennium Place
The hardworking snowboard film production team of Sandbox originally started off as Skids — literally.
The bad boys of powder from Mount Seymour, dubbed Seymour Kids, had with a reputation as boozing party animals so their nickname was shortened to Skids.
While Skids notched four snowboard flicks to their credit, the name and the laissez-faire attitudes were dropped, with both riders and crew buckling down to create professional, respected snowboard films. The first self-titled Sandbox film launched last year to great reviews.
But Sandbox ups the anti this year with Flavor Country, premiering Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at MY Millennium Place.
What was once a gaggle of kids is now a tight-knit machine of ambitious filmmakers and professional athletes who, despite the average age docking in at 22 years old, are pushing the boundaries in their field. They have more funding in place this year, more film reels, more riders and more locations — more everything.
“Our old movies were more about lifestyle and partying. The film quality wasn’t great,” explains Sandbox producer Kevin Sansalone.
“We’ve upped our production quality a lot. We definitely have more respect in the industry because of it. It’s opened the doors to more sponsorship. The riders have really grown up. The first film they were just getting their bearings, and coming in this year they were prepared for the season. It was also a great snow season. All this combined, we stepped it up quite a bit this year. The riders got a lot better and the budget a lot bigger.”
Last year’s production wielded a 50-50 ratio of digital to film. This year, 90 per cent of the footage was captured on film. With more than 120 16 mm film rolls clocking in at roughly $24,000 to produce, a bigger budget was needed, but worth every penny of it.
“Film offers more dynamic range,” explains camera operator and editor Aaron Leyland. “There are more colours in film. In video, white, in our case snow, tends to over expose. Film holds all that info in where sometimes it is lost in video if not shot properly. Film is also great for (slow motion sequences).”
New and old faces join the screen with last year’s one-shot athletes, such as Rube Goldberg, breaking into feature segments this year. All of the pro riders return, including Andrew Hardingham, Tyler Lepore, Jonas Guinn, Brendan Keenan, Jeff Keenan and Sansalone. Other riders to look out for include Dustin Craven, Mark Sollors, Joni Makinen, Ryan Hall, Paul Ockendan, Jeff Pepperdine, Geoff Brown, Andrew Burns, Mike Sudermann, Mikey Pederson and Logan Short.
When Sansalone isn’t producing, he is picking up a camera, catching big air for the lens, sitting in the director’s chair or braving it out in the editor’s room.
Sansalone is part of a multi-talented cast and crew. Hardingham brought New Zealand and Japan footage to the film because of his rider/filmmaking talents.
Other locations showcased in the film include the Alberta Rockies, Whistler-Blackcomb, Whistler backcountry, Blue River, Colorado, Quebec, South America and even Turkey.
Lifestyle footage meshes with classic freeride film sequences and big air adrenaline rushes.
“The vibe going around right now about the video is that it is fun and makes you want to get up off the couch and get on your snowboard,” Sansalone says. “That is what it is all about.”
Catch the Whistler premier of Flavor Country at the theatre then let loose at the film afterparty at Garfinkel’s.
Theatre admission of $8 per person includes entrance into the afterparty.
To check out the film teaser, visit ww.sandboxland.com.