By Kim Havell
Burning sage pushes out the bad and sweetgrass brings in the good, according to Native American culture. This type of naturalistic ideology is also what defines and drives the creative minds of Sweetgrass Productions.
After a successful stint in Japan during the winter of 2009, the basis of the film Signatures, the talented crew of Nick Waggoner, Ben Sturgulewski, Mike Brown and Zac Ramras have turned their focus to the stark yet vibrant landscapes of South America. The common thread, coupled with capturing the essence of these specific areas, is skiing, and admirably Sweetgrass incorporates all disciplines and gender with top caliber athletes like Ptor Spricenieks, Carston Oliver, Chris Coulter, Elyse Saugstad and Will Cardamone.
From 2010 to 2011, these road warriors have filmed in locations that have included the desert snows of Las Lenas, the Santa Rosa storm in Bariloche, the prehistoric treed mountainsides of Caviahue, and towering high-altitude peaks of Bolivia and Peru. The Sweetgrass crew has also managed to capture short film diaries of their journey—On the Road webisode segments—that provide a glimpse into their bigger project via their Vimeo channel.
The crew is currently at work on their last locations in Peru, Argentina and Bolivia, and the film project is slated to be wrapping up by the end of July for release in mid-September. Stay tuned for world tour dates along with DVD sales (available Sept. 16) at www.sweetgrass-productions.com.