Trying to find a job in the ski industry? Think it's tough? Talk to Schui Baumann. The 30-year-old art director for Level 1 Productions traveled from his native Germany to America in order to get an internship. After the cross-Atlantic journey, he spent two more years in Europe before securing a work visa and scoring a full time job with Level 1 in their Denver, Colo., office. With Wednesday's release of the trailer for Level 1's 2013 film, "Partly Cloudy," we sat down with Baumann to discuss how it all happened.
Where did you grow up? How did you get into skiing?
I always felt like I came into skiing from the side. I grew up in northern Baveria. You need to drive three hours to get to Munich and then an hour more to get to the first real skiing area. The way I grew up, I was lucky if I got 10 days a year. When I was 16 or 17, I discovered "Free Radicals." That was the first freeski movie I ever saw. It opened my mind. No, it blew my mind.
And how did you get to Level 1?
After "Free Radicals," I tried to get more and more movies. They cost like 40 euros at that time in Germany. I would dream about going skiing. I started to get more interested in design and filmmaking, but I didn't put two and two together. I went to university in Germany for media design. At that university, we had to do an internship for half of a year. I wanted to work somewhere out of Germany. I applied to a lot of normal movie production companies in Canada, the U.S. and had no luck. I was trying to figure out where else I could go. I looked on my desk and on the shelf was a bunch of ski movie DVDs. That was the moment it clicked. I applied to a bunch of them and Level 1 was the one that took me. That was the summer of 2008.
Did you come back for the following summer?
I had to go back for the winter and finish school. During the next summer I was working from Germany doing the motion graphics for Level 1's "Refresh" and "Eye Trip." In 2010, I graduated and worked as a freelancer in Germany for a while and then [Level 1's Josh] Berman and I got talking. Level 1 had grown and he said he could use me here full time. And then we made it happen.
What's the story behind the name of this year's movie?
"Partly Cloudy." Yep. It's the unofficial, official sequel to "Sunny," which was such a big success with fans and critics. We tried to make a second "Sunny" without totally just copying it. We're going for a very light-hearted and fun vibe. Not to be too serious. Not to be too epic. Epic is almost a banned word in the office. It's the thing we're not trying to be -- the epic company.
Any athlete in particular that you thought had great footage?
In terms of new people, Banks Gilberti. He's had like one shot in movies before, but he's most likely going to have a full segment this season. He has some really good stuff. It's very unique, different style. Also, Lucas Stål-Madison -- he was a Superunknown last year, but could be a Breakthrough Performer at Powder Awards this year. He's sitting on some really creative stuff. I'm curious about what his segment is going to be like and how people are going to react to it.