By Elyse Brightman
This fall Field Productions is putting out its eighth film, Being There. Filmed mostly in Norway—home to Field Productions’ 23-year-old founder and director, Filip Christensen—the trailer for Being There has generated substantial buzz in the ski industry, and rightfully so (see for yourself, below).
The film features skier P.K. Hunder, who is making his comeback after breaking his neck at the beginning of the 2009-10 season. Here, Powder.com talks to both Christensen and Hunder about what went into the making of Being There and what fans can expect on the big screen.
POWDER.COM: Why did you want to start making movies when most people your age would rather be in them?
FILIP CHRISTENSEN: I started making ski movies when I was 15 or 16 years old, and back then it was all about having fun with your buddies on the hill. At the age of 23, I sure still have the same feeling, but things are just in a bigger scale. I enjoy skiing myself and I actually had segments in the two first movies back in ’04-05 [including First Price].
I preferred progressing my work behind the lens instead of progressing my skiing. That was a clever choice since I never really had any skills on skis.
How many hours of filming went into this movie? It is very hard to answer that. We shoot from November until June, and I guess its over 2,000 hours.
How is this movie different from others you’ve made? Being There is a step further in direction of what we did with Side By Side in 2010. We want to give the audience a feeling that they are present on the shoots, and we want to show the stories that are being developed during an intense year of filming. It shows more of what the skiers and crew experience, which makes it all more interesting to watch. We definitely have a strong lineup of skiers, such as Henrik Windstedt, Aleksander Aurdal, Russ Henshaw, Tom Wallisch, P.K. Hunder, Even Sigstad, Jesper Tjäder, Aksel Lund Svindal, Eirik Finseth and many more.
Who is your favorite skier to film and why? I am very privileged to work with so many talented skiers. Since the beginning of my career it has been two skiers that have impressed me time after time. Even Sigstad and P.K. Hunder are two skiers I have worked closely with in many years, and they never seem to disappoint when we are out filming. They always deliver the most original style and tricks, and that is exactly what I am looking for. I also want to mention Aleksander Aurdal because of his dedication and hard work the last years. That guy is unstoppable. Being There will prove that.
How do you decide what to keep and what to cut in making a feature-length film? It’s hard to put a number on the hours we have been filming, but we definitely need to record as much as we can to capture the best moments. By that I mean conversations and funny quotes by the athletes, but, of course, also the skiing action itself.
What moments stood out during filming? We had a big trip to Digermulen in Lofoten, up north in Norway. We got deep powder both in the big mountains and in the trees. That is very unique. One of our kicker shoots at Folgefonna went really well, and I feel we captured some great moments there. We used the brand new RED Epic camera, which results in excellent quality.
How do you decide which locations to film? We are privileged to live in such a beautiful country as Norway, so we try to find locations here. The locations we choose have to be scenic and special, and Norway has many locations like that. Even if the snow conditions are hard to find over here, I think it’s important to show the audience what our country has to offer.
You’ve said this is going to be P.K.’s breakout season since being injured in ’09. Why? P.K. has been struggling with several injures the past few years. I am really glad to see him back in the game this year. He definitely got some sick shots from our two heli kicker shoots at Stranda and at Folgefonna. The good ol´ P.K. style is back.
How did you get involved with Field Productions?
P.K. HUNDER: It all started when I met Filip and all of the guys at a competition in Oslo in 2005. It evolved from there and the very next year I was in their movie Firstprice.
How is it working with Filip and the rest of the Field Productions crew? Working with the Field Crew is great, not only because of Filip, but the crew is people I know very well and have known for a very long time, even guys that were my home resort heroes when I first started out. Every time we’re on a shoot, we have a blast on and off hill.
What is it like to work with such a young director? Is it different from any of your other films? Filip’s age doesn’t matter. Field Production has grown so much since I met Filip for the first time. From cruising around the hill with a handheld camera to eight filmers on one park jump shoot and flying heli in the shade just for the heck of it. Working with Filip is different. I’ve known him for a long time, and I’ve been on a lot of shoots with him. I have faith in Filip. I know he always will make the shot good.
Do any of your injuries effect your riding at all, either physically or mentally? Right after my neck injury it effected me a little bit. I hadn’t skied a lot before I had to perform in the Freestyle.ch in Zurich. A sketchy in-city jump wasn’t really what I was looking to start out with. It was definitely in the back of my head, but it doesn’t bother me anymore!
Any big events planned for the 2011-12 season? I really want to get back in competition scene. I miss the podium. So I’m gonna do all the big events, and looking to get a full segment with Field.