The 6th annual International Freeski Film Festival kicked off in Montreal, Canada, last Wednesday and did not disappoint. A long weekend of watching ski films, meeting pro skiers, partying, and eating poutine, went down in the heart of Montreal on Rue Saint Laurent. Films screened at the famed Monument-National Theatre and across the street at the iF3 Outdoor Village. After hours and hours of watching skiing on a screen, this is what stood out.
Act Natural by Toy Soldiers Productions
Toy Soldier Productions delivered an impressive film in their third season together, winning Best Amateur North American Film. Shay Lee kicks off the film with a strong part consisting of various jibs, insanely large rail disasters, and stylish backcountry hits. Finn Anderson and Karl Fostvedt follow suit with notable performances on a handful of urban features and crowd pleasing backcountry airs including floaty 540s and artfully grabbed corked spins. Near the midpoint of the film the crew builds an enormous gap jump over a skatepark bowl and Noah Wallace airs more than 30 feet off the deck. In my opinion, Act Natural's soundtrack was the best out of any film I saw this year. It leaves out wompy dubstep and brings in just enough rap, along with stellar tracks from David Bowie, The Black Keys, Phantogram, and Laura Pergolizzi. Overall, the film has a great vibe and was the "feel good" ski film of the festival.
Jay Peak Closing Segment in No Matter What by Meathead Films
It's no mystery that most of North America received a record low winter this past season, especially the Northeast. New England-based Meathead films took this harder than most film companies, but did not let it stop them from making a kick-ass film, highlighted by a final segment shot at Jay Peak, Vermont on a deep, deep day. Ben Leoni skis by far the deepest East Coast powder I have ever seen. Those last couple of minutes put a massive grin on everyone’s faces. Thanks, Meatheads.
Parker White's double nose front flip in Sunny by Level 1 Productions
This blew my mind. Parker White burst into the spotlight last season in Level 1's 2011 flick, After Dark, which earned him Powder's Breakthrough Performance Award. He didn't slow down at all this winter. Parker is notorious for his double nose front flips in the park as well as his lack of hesitation in charging huge cliffs. But to combine the two? Get a taste at 1:35 in the trailer for Sunny to see what I'm hinting at.
Will Wesson's "Underslide" in Sunny by Level 1 Productions
Will Wesson can slide absolutely anything on skis (rails, fences, rusty barrels, etc.). He proves this time and time again in episodes of Line's Traveling Circus, his Meatheads segment, and in his part in Sunny. It's scary to admit that Will is making underslides normal, but those of you familiar with the underslides from his past two Level 1 segments will again be blown away.
The City of Montreal
Montreal, much like many East Coast cities, was founded back in the 17th century by groups with heavy religious roots. However unlike New York, Boston, or Providence, Montreal is a free-spirited city with a drinking age of 18 and filled with parties, strip clubs, Bixies, poutine, and beautiful French Canadian women. Drop in a couple dozen of your favorite pro skiers, three days of ski films to get pumped for the upcoming season, and you get one banger weekend.
Leigh Powis in WE: A Collection of Individuals by Poor Boyz Productions
Leigh Powis is hands down one of the most unique riders in freeskiing. In Poor Boyz' new film he continues to prove that he can hit features in ways unthinkable to most skiers. His part, shared with Karl Fostvedt (who was also inspiring), consisted of many large drops to switch, a Miller Flip, and an insane Lincoln Loop inverted tap.
Pep Fujas in WE: A Collection of Individuals by Poor Boyz Productions
Pep has been an icon in the freeskiing scene for as long as I can remember. With his segment in WE, Pep obliterates any and all assumptions that he's grown too old for the sport. Pep further confirms his veteran status by laying down a slew of flawless big mountain lines peppered with massive airs all while appearing to be approaching terminal velocity down the fall line. He stomps a double backflip and stylish cork 540 tail grab to round out his part.
Cam Riley and Clayton Vila
Cam Riley and Clayton Vila are the new heavyweights of the urban skiing world. Not only did they both secure exciting segments in Teton Gravity Research's Alaska-based film The Dream Factory and in WE this year, they also found time to contribute integral filming, editing, and producing their own film with Stept, The Eighty Six. Stept took home Best Jib Film and was a much-anticipated crowd favorite. The duo play off each other while filming and are both at the top of their game right now. Watch out for them this season.
Stay tuned for our full photo gallery of iF3.