Art of Flight Premiere at Red Bull Headquarters
12 Sep, 2011
Last week was a pretty big week for snowboarding, the Red Bull Media House and the Art of Flight. The film premiered in NYC on Wednesday, hit the #1 sports download on itunes soon after and is still in the top 10 for movies on itunes. You could say that the Art of Flight has taken snowboarding to the next level because it’s going to cross boundaries and it’s a film that’ll be welcomed by mainstream enthusiasts (not just snowboarders).
I received an invite to see the Art of Flight at a private media screening at the Red Bull Headquarters in Santa Monica on Friday night. Despite already owning a copy from itunes and being gifted a copy from Red Bull on Klout, I waited to see the film the way it was meant to be seen…at the Red Bull Media House on the big screen with amazing sound quality. There were familiar media faces in the crowd: Adam Hawes, Laura Austin, Kyle Kennedy, John Stouffer, Lora Bodmer and many others. A good amount from Art of Flight came out for the private showing: Curt Morgan, Travis Rice, John Jackson and Pat Moore. As much as I love the excitement from a huge crowd at a premiere, the private screening was a great way to view the film and feel your own emotions without the impact of others. Thanks to Red Bull, Lora and Raechel for the invite!
Before the film Curt Morgan and Travis Rice introduced their work and ended the evening with a Q&A from the crowd. It was great to hear the behind the scenes stories and find out more about the film. There is a short clip from the Q&A below in video. They did discuss the Supernatural contest they are creating which will be built in BC and already in the works…imagine Natural Selection at JH but in a larger scheme with their own features they’ve created before the snow falls.
Curt Morgan and Travis Rice discussing the Art of Flight
The Art of Flight has taken snowboard cinematography to a whole new level. The film showcases the highest level of riding by some of the world’s best snowboarders while capturing the beauty and destruction of the mountains. You get to see the riders walk the line of staying safe in avalanche territory, see the complete unknown occur and you get a good feeling of how much work it really takes to make a snowboard film of this magnitude. The ratio of snowboarding is a lot less than I was expecting (probably 30% snowboarding, 70% scenic/helicopter/mountain, everything else). When you get the snowboarding footage, the level of talent, the tricks and the style are there, hands down. But for me it wasn’t a film that made me want to go snowboard and have fun (with the exception of the Jackson Hole section). I do believe that this might be the film that guarantees that the world knows who Travis Rice is.
Here are some shots from the film to help give you an idea of what to expect!
The opening Alaska footage really delivered with John Jackson, Mark Landvik and Travis Rice. It opens up and delivers the pure magnitude of Alaska riding. I really liked the dancing, just for a good laugh.
The crew headed to South America to chase winter which included a rocky sketch of riding from Travis Rice at the top of Argentina/Chile
The Patagonia portion of the film was my least favorite, probably because it was the most honest but also had the least amount of snowboarding. The crew struggles to find rideable terrain and deals with the safety of flying in a region with consequences. The ominous feeling they had in the area definitely showed in the section. For me it captured the un-fun you could have snowboarding.
The Jackson Hole section was my most favorite. It was a fun crew of riders that got me stoked, the tricks, the location and the powder…helloooo amazing powder that makes your mouth water! It was the most fun footage of the film and it showed. Lando was amazing to watch, Moore and Leines had great footage and it was really great to see Kyle Clancy gets his well-deserved spotlight. The unfortunate doom of it is seeing Lago take his jaw-blowing hit and the reality of the hardness of injuries.
The first BC section is the scariest portion of the film with the helicopter freezing up on top of the mountain. During the Q&A someone asked about the length of time during the freezing and Curt Morgan and Travis Rice discuss how it happened and the filming of Art of Flight. It was very scary to see how close Lando had it in an avalanche and a reminder of the cost of getting a shot. I have to ask myself when I watch that, how far will it be pushed until another amazing snowboarder is taken by the mountain?
The Aspen section brings in the pipe and park riding to the full effect with huge airs from Luke and Jack Mitrani, Scotty Logo. I really liked the jump portion with the three hits and the range of riding involved.
Obviously Travis Rice kills it in this film but for me Nicolas Muller delivered up my favorite footage. His BC riding reminded me of the smooth style of snowboarding that came out when you watched Craig Kelly ride. I was blown away by his section and watching how he moves with the snow.
I liked the end of the film when Jeremy Jones and Travis Rice went out for powder turns and getting in the classic steep lines, gnarly drops and ended the film on a high note with it.
When I first watched Art of Flight, I was blown away by the footage and filming but I thought that for a snowboarding film, it lacked a lot of snowboarding (don’t get me wrong, the riding when it was showcased was damn good but it wasn’t pure snowboarding). While it is a work of art and going to be a very popular film, I know that there are other films that showcase snowboarding 100% and deserve as much attention. Yes, this film will reach the masses and it showcases some amazing riding but it rarely showed how much fun snowboarding is. I had to wonder about the Patagonia part where it showed the un-fun of snowboarding, the BC part with concerns between rider safety and getting the shot and what this means for the future of snowboarding. It’s definitely a film that walks the line between snowboarding and mainstream cinema which is a hard line to balance, how do you create content for both types? For me personally, I already own copies of the film and I have high regards for the riding/effort it took to create such a film…but I don’t consider it the best snowboarding film ever made. For me, the best snowboarding film takes the fun of snowboarding and delivers a shock to your heart, you are rocked to your core because you are a snowboarder and a film just made you feel the need to strap into your board immediately and be part of this amazing story. It’ll be interesting to see where snowboard films go from here, is Art of Flight just a league of its own or something leading the way?
What are your thoughts on Art of Flight? Do you love it? Do other snowboard films stand a chance?