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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

About the author

Shay

From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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17 Comments

  1. Andy
    September 12, 2011

    I got to see this movie in NY at the premiere and while the footage was amazing and so was the riding, I felt like it could have been so much more. Take TITA, I felt there was more riding and more riders and it was less of a red bull commercial. (im grateful red bull funded it)

    Overall, I think Curt Morgan and Co at BrianFarm have set a new standard. The next film they make will be even more intense.

  2. Damian
    September 12, 2011

    Shay,

    I agree with your review. I was kind of underwhelmed. It was a good watch, but lacked the amount of riding needed for me to want watch it over and over like I do with many snowboard videos.

    It’s a beautiful film, and shows more of the life of a pro than the usual fun, ride, fun, but it’s not that entertaining in my opinion and I kind of wish I had saved my money for something I know I’d end up watching more.

  3. Andrew
    September 12, 2011

    I had the opportunity to see both Capita’s DOA and AOF back to back last week (I bought both). I think this provided the sort of perspective necessary for me to form an opinion.

    At the end of the day I was let down with AOF as a snowboarding movie. Apart for stunning graphics the movie was a failure. It is not a good snowboarding movie nor is it a good movie – there is no underlying compelling story. It is eye candy and I enjoyed it for that

    DOA was an excellent snowboarding movie – it kept you engaged, the riding was awesome and varied and the soundtrack supported it. It was all you wanted (except I would have liked more than a minute of TJ) and nothing more

  4. Anna Kazantseva
    September 12, 2011

    I went to the Seattle premiere and the movie was everything I wanted and more. It was unreal, the whole theater was cheering during the entire movie. It inspired me and made me want to snowboard forever. However, it did leave me kind of sad to know that most of us will never get to experience that level of riding, but the movie did make me love snowboarding more. And I got to shake John Jackson’s hand! Overall it was a memorable experience and I will definitely go to more snowboard movie premiers.

  5. PowPow
    September 12, 2011

    Interesting that half of the trailer wasn’t even in the movie.
    Slightly over hyped in my opinion and the pushing the avalanche conditions is just plain dumb putting all the riders and crew at risk.

  6. Elias
    September 13, 2011

    You guys so lucky. I am not in the states hence couldn’t join the premiere, but I supported them by buying the DVD. I seldom think snowboard DVD worth buying except this one, the trailer MAKES me want to buy it and watch the whole movie at once. can’t wait to see it in Blue-Ray HD. Love the HD quality, love the slow motions, love the moves of the SB-ers. I wish I was there to watch it on screen.

  7. Keither
    September 15, 2011

    I somewhat disagree with your review Shay. Yes it was about 30% snowboarding 70% everything else, but that’s how it is in the real world unless you’re a rail junkie. As for the fun part, living on the edge is what they consider fun. Getting your hard rate going to the point where you think your heart is gonna jump out of your chest. Snowboarding isn’t necessarily about actually doing the boarding, it’s everything that goes along with it. Sorry, but just because it didn’t make you want to ride, doesn’t mean it didn’t make the rest of us want to ride. I did not see one filler trick. ALL BANGERS. That’s why there’s only about 30% riding. If you don’t like the scenic parts, skip the chapter. The movie is 80mins long. Would you rather they cut out the scenic shots and make it 30mins like every other shot after shot snowboard flick? This movie is definately better than That’s It That’s All and EVERYBODY said that was the best snowboard movie ever made…… As for the Patagonia part, it was one of my favorite parts. I felt like I was there with them. It shows the trust that Lando and Rice have for each other to go down that chute at the same time. Snowboarding is about adventure. Seeing new remote places that you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to see. It shows just how much effort these guys need to put in to get any sense of adventure. When you ride all over the world, going somewhere like Patagonia is the only place you can get that. They probably got the same feeling that an average rider would get from a simple hike and chute run, or from your first heli trip.
    Most snowboarders can’t relate to this movie other than “Ohh Ahh that’s effen huge), and it’s understandable because not many riders have the chance to travel and see all these great places which is I’d say 70% of the fun and adventure. The other 30% of the fun is actually spent with your board on.
    Cheers all! The snow is coming soon!!

  8. Keither
    September 15, 2011

    whoa I didn’t think I wrote that much

  9. September 16, 2011

    It was love/hate for me. On one hand it was a totally different perspective because of the level of cinematography and riding but on the other hand I was getting annoyed with how they seemed to have to re-start each trick 3 times and then half way through switch it to slow-mo, it lost the flow. It also seemed like on some of the shots you lost a little of the magnitude of the riding because the shot was taking in so much of the mountain (but then that was what made it cool too). The reality of it is that no camera can give you the true feeling of how it really is…And the part where Lando goes for it even tho it seems pretty obvious that they knew it was going to avy…sucks. Lando’s parts were siiick tho, as were Nico’s. It’s not quite the “Endless Summer” of snow but is the closest so far and was fun to watch at the premier in Seattle. In the end they they did do something original and artistic and the riding was top notch so more positive then negative for sure. Was waiting for the snowmobile bail from the trailer tho..

  10. t
    September 16, 2011

    needed more riding! it was way over hyped, should have waited to torrent rather then purchase on itunes.

  11. keither
    September 17, 2011

    All these people saying the movie was over hyped and needed more riding…….. go hike a park box. That’s where you belong.
    I’ve watched it probably 5-6 times and it gets better every time.
    You guys obviously have no idea how much work goes into a project like this.
    Best snowboard vid made so far. Best shots, best tricks, best sequences (nobody has even mentioned the rifles and propane tanks), when you break it down, the movie is simply the best. Maybe it’s because I’m such a fan of “Planet Earth” and “Life”.
    People are getting WAYYYYY too used to the handrail, handrail, wallride, stairgap, handrail, slow-mo handrail, wallride, trick after trick after trick video parts. All you A.D.D. jib kids need to sit back and appreciate a REAL snowboard flick. It isn’t about getting as many shots as you can, it’s about getting that ONE shot that matters. It’s about the travel, the experience, the struggles, the triumphs, the effort, the people, and the self reward. This movie demonstrated all of that and more. It’s not that there needs to be more riding, it’s that all you A.D.D. jib kids can’t sit still for a full 80mins.

  12. Dave
    September 18, 2011

    I don’t think it’s fair to assume that most (if not all) of the people who thought the movie was over hyped are people who prefer park or jibbing.
    I will be the first to tell you that I am not good at snowboarding yet. in fact, i kinda suck at both park & non park riding ;) I would like to think that somehow puts me in a position with somewhat of a different perspective lol. a not-very-good snowboarder who have watched his fair share of snowboarding movies for the love of the sport.

    true, the riding was awesome. something i could definitely aspire to the next time i ride. true, the cinematics are unbelievable….with the possible exception with what could almost be perceived as excessive use of slow-mo….i mean, for riding it makes sense, but there were waaay too many non-riding shots that were done in slow mo. Maybe Chappelle was right, everything is better in slow motion …And i can only imagine the amount of man hours + $$ that goes into the film.

    but i personally prefer TITA over AOF because TITA to me was more of a ‘snowboarding’ movie. if there was a snowboarding channel on TV, i’d imagine TITA would get played more there, whereas AOF might get equal time between the snowboarding channel and something like the discovery channel. I guess I agree with keither in the sense that I was reminded of films like Planet Earth and Life when I watched AOF.

    maybe that’s the new trend some of the snowboarding films are heading towards…

    now if you’ll excuse me, i’m gonna go watch the movie again for what it is. :D

  13. keither
    September 19, 2011

    TITA was pretty much all slo-mo….. ;) just sayin

  14. Stefan George Gavrilescu
    September 30, 2011

    Seen it a couple of times and I believe it’s a good movie. Far from the best snowboarding movie, but I wouldn’t even call it that.
    I would call it more like a snowboarding documentary. Exactly as you’ve said, it lacks a lot of the snowboarding feeling, but it does give you some inside feeling of what’s it like to be a high class sponsored snowboarder like Travis.

    If I would recommend it to somebody else? Hell yes. It’s another way of shooting the snowboarding movies. You can definitely see the shooting techniques are better, and the scenery is AMAZING.

    Thumbs Up for “Art of Flight” !!! Not THE BEST … but definitely one of them.

  15. ray
    October 02, 2011

    I think “The Art of Flight” was a spectacularly filmed movie! But as the others have said I didn’t find it as “hyping” as other films. It was good to see more into the life of a pro but if I don’t get amped to ride while watching the film, then I may not watch it as much. I still hold “That’s it That’s all” as my most favorite snowboard flick and I feel a little let down by the most anticipated film of the season that didn’t give me the same charisma. All-in-all a great film just not so energizing. I can’t wait to see the film they make for next year, hopefully they will put the charm back in it!

  16. Nfinit
    October 16, 2011

    Just goes to show you can’t please everyone. A film with this much hype is bound to disappoint. But I was still impressed. The venues and the presentation are what make the movie different. If they didn’t change it up it would just fall into the same categories as the rest. At least with how they presented the movie it will stand out from the pack

    CO misses you shay!

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