IF3, the Cannes of the ski world
The Cannes Film Festival of the ski industry, the International Freeski Film Festival (IF3) kicked off its 4th edition this weekend in Montreal, Quebec. Brainchild of Felix Rioux and JF DuRocher, IF3 was established as a way to pull together the fragmented ski film world in one place -- mingling the athletes, producers and audience in a pre-season celebration. Similarities between Cannes and IF3 can quickly be drawn: substitute the French for the French-Canadian, the yachts on the Southern Riviera for the freighters in the St. Lawrence River, the Quentin Tarantinos for the Johnny DeCesares, the Johnny Depps for the Tanner Halls, and so on.
On Thursday night, the North Face outdoor screening brought an untimely rainstorm as epic as the movies being shown. Despite the elements, 100 die-hard spectators came out for the show. Red Bull started the night with a short on their Cold Rush big-mountain freestyle competition. Next came Field Productions' "Side By Side," which was presented by the entire crew of Filip Christensen, Even Sigstad, JP Aarskog and Espen Kristiansen. The night was quickly chased indoors to a party filled with ski industry notables where Grete Eliassen debuted "Say My Name," her girl-oriented ski flick.
Friday brought better weather as the screenings moved indoors to the historic Cinema Imperial. Opening the big screen for more globally-known titles were several amateur productions, as well as a nod to the internet video sensations with several webisode selections thrown into the mix. "Rev, a Buried Treasure," "Azadi," "Shred N'Breakfast Episode 6" and Nimbus' "En Route" started it off. Whistler powder-oriented startup Dendrite Studios' "Out Of The Shadows" kicked off the feature films, and Sweetgrass following up their much-acclaimed Japanese documentary, "Signatures," with their new Haines, Alaska, expose "Desert River."
Level 1's "Eye Trip" fired up the packed cinema with an audience-friendly barrage of well-rounded skiing eye candy. Stalwarts Tom Wallisch and Wiley Miller, along with locals Phil Casabon, JF Houle and Kaya Turski, and a Sun Valley mega-jump brought down the house.
We've all seen the rise of controversial ski star and quasi-celebrity Tanner Hall over the last 10 years, but nobody in the audience Friday night truly knew what to expect from the almost-expected Tanner Hall documentary, "Like a Lion," by Inspired Media. Spearheaded by friend Eric Iberg, "Like A Lion" unearthed never-before-seen footage from Tanner's formative mogul years up until present day. Stripped of the sugar-coating and ego-stroking which typically accompany such projects, Tanner and his fellow interviewees delivered a raw, honest and candid tale of the trials and tribulations of a talented yet troubled athlete. A refreshing approach to the cliché rockstar success tale, with full coverage given to the numerous injures, wins and drug addictions of Mr. Hall, combined with the death of friend CR Johnson make the film a must see for anybody who has followed skiing within the last decade.