Inspired: MFR's Little Things

Filmmaker Darcy Turenne and pro snowboarder Marie-France Roy are crowd-funding a snowboard movie/documentary about riders whose sustainable ways of living and thinking are as inspirational as their snowboarding.

The following interview is one in a series of discussions had with snowboarders who have transcended the traditional boundaries of sport and come to represent something ... more. We sat eight riders down and asked them to try to define the somewhat indefinable spirit of snowboarding, and to put words to the feeling that propels us at the deepest level. This is one response.

On Earth Day, snowboarder Marie-France Roy and filmmaker Darcy Turenne released a final teaser for their two-years-in-the-making snowboard movie/environmental documentary, "The Little Things." As the movie is an independent project with minimal sponsor or financial support, the duo has turned to Kickstarter to seek funding for the final post-production phase.

We checked in with Roy halfway through the campaign to find out what inspired her to make a leap of faith, despite lack of financial support, in order to tell a story about snowboarding that hasn't been attempted in quite this way before. The following are her words.

With this movie, I just wanted something positive, not preachy -- just something inspiring. I just thought that there are so many snowboarders who are sick snowboarders, I love their riding, but to me what's most inspiring is someone who is passionate at what they do, but they go beyond that to make this world a better place.

So many snowboarders don't get enough credit for what they do outside of snowboarding. Like, Gretchen [Bleiler] is always working with Aspen and their sustainability program and her Alex bottle and the 21-day challenge she did. She's always been so good about that stuff, but not that many people know about it. Or maybe Gretchen they do, but less-known riders they don't.

I thought this would be a good way to show that everyone has the power to do something, in their own unique ways, using the opportunities they have.

Like Tamo Campos, David Suzuki's grandson. He's a sick snowboarder, so amazing. He's the coolest activist, he's only 22 years old, he's so smart and he gives all his time towards this cause. He spends a lot of time in Northern B.C. learning about all the extraction projects and the pipelines. He spent a month with the aboriginal peoples, living off the land, eating meat that they were hunting like three times a day. It's so crazy. These people are so inspiring and nobody really knows.

I love the sport achievement size of snowboarding, but I want to connect the two. Everybody depends on nature and natural resources, but not that many people see it like that. The reality is if we keep destroying the environment then everybody's going to be in trouble. Not just the snowboarders. Not just the snowboard industry.

It's serious consequences, worldwide.

I thought this would be a good way to show that everyone has the power to do something, in their own unique ways, using the opportunities they have.

I wanted to have some variety so everybody would have someone to relate to. Gretchen more like represents the "hippie rich," you know she drives a Lexus hybrid. But Tamo is a full-on rasta man. He drives a veggie oil bus. And not everybody will relate to Tamo, but they'll relate to Gretchen because she's an Olympian.

Or maybe they won't relate to Gretchen, but they'll be stoked on Mike Basich. It's so cool what he built on his land in Tahoe. He made everything with his own two hands. He built his own chairlift and just plays.

I think it's really neat what these people are doing. Their stories are all so unique I just wanted to bring a bit of light on it, while raising awareness, and also money for David Suzuki foundation and Protect Our Winters. Any profits from this movie will all go to them.

I was maybe not going to do the movie in the beginning because I was really scared to take a stand. Because people call you a hypocrite. I was like, I promote seven products. It's my job to promote consumption. I fly all over the world. I have a snowmobile and a truck. Who am I to take a stand?

Courtesy MFR

Though it is part documentary, "The Little Things" is also part snowboarding. Marie-France Roy has been filming for two years, and is excited to debut her part in this movie.

But then I was like, what's worse, a hypocrite who does nothing or a hypocrite that tries to do something about it? We're all guilty. Am I supposed to go live naked in the woods? Snowboarders using snowmobiles and getting on planes, this is not the issue. Even if you use your bike or have solar panels, they were made from the oil industry. Nothing's perfect.

If you have to be 100 percent carbon free in order to be credible or have a voice, nobody can speak. Nobody can claim they care and that means game over for the planet. I don't know the critics, pointing out the negative is slowing down the process of finding solutions.

I wanted to do something good. I didn't want to be like 'Look at me! I'm going to fight climate change!' It's not what it what it is. But doing this movie is a better way to make a difference than if I got an environmental job and lived in my cob house as a hippie. You know, what difference am I going to make then? (I still plan on doing that later, though.)

I just thought that the more we show we care, then the more small changes get made. We influence our friends, we influence our families and then eventually we influence our political leaders. They're the ones that can make the changes that we need on a bigger scale. The political side is so important, but it can't happen until the people demand it.

We've built this crazy world where we rely on oil. We will always need resources to provide energy, but we could use such better ones than fossil fuels. There are so many ways we can make it better and sustainable. And we're not really exploring them fully, and we won't until we talk about it and people realize how important it is. There's a lot more education to be done, and I think this film can help.

It is so scary, though, and I get these huge guilt trips. I have to detach myself from the haters, because what are they doing to make anything better?

The movie will have narrative storytelling and snowboarding. We're trying to get people who don't snowboard to enjoy this film and go out and try snowboarding. We want to make it interesting to watch to anyone, not just snowboarders.

If we don't get funding, the movie will still happen, but the other people involved just won't get nearly as much as what they deserve for all their time and hard work. Darcy, Chelsea Waddell, Natalie Langmann, Mike Forester at Elegant Seagulls, they all have been putting so many volunteer hours. I really appreciate their generosity but they need to pay their bills too.

We have had some great support from most of my sponsors, but it's still been really challenging. I think when you go out of the beaten path, especially for a good cause, it's that much harder to get people to pitch in. It's risky for companies to invest in something so different and unique, not really know what the results will be. I had to make compromises. I donated a lot of my personal savings into it.

I kind of knew we'd have to turn to crowd-funding in the end. But I think it allows people to participate in the project too, and it allows more people learn about the film and the cause, so everyone wins. The experience has been really fun and rewarding. As much as I'm a bit stressed out, and there's a lot to do, I know it will all work out in the end.

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