Gretchen Bleiler and Jamie Anderson to appear in first ever all-women snowboard film.
When ESPN Action Sports got wind that a couple of dudes in SLC were making an all-female shred film this winter, you know we had to shake them down a bit and get the scoop. STANCE, by JMills Ent., is set to cause a stir, so we sat down with the creators, cinematographer and editor Jeremy Miller, 27, and producer/photographer/”life coach” Stan Evans, 35, to find out what it takes.
Read on and find out why STANCE might just be wearing the pants come Fall ’09.
So why the hell would two dudes decide to make an all-female snowboard film? Aren’t there plenty of riders, male and female, around SLC to shoot with?
Stan Evans: Honestly, Erin Comstock came to us and asked us to help because it became apparent that there was not going to be a women’s video [for ’09] and for some of the women that is their main outlet of shred expression.
Jeremy Miller: To answer your first question: My passion is filmmaking, regardless of gender or content. I also love snowboarding and what better way to make a living than doing what you enjoy? For the later question: Way too many! Every pro-bro-shred lives here. This place is a Mecca for the snow industry. Little mini-movements of gypsy shredders are popping up all over the city.
Aside from Stance in the works, what are you famous for?
Stan: I worked with Absinthe quite a bit over the years and those guys have a good vibe and crew. I’ve been shooting a lot of portraits and motorcycle commercials on the side and that’s been fun…getting in touch with the world outside snowboarding. Also Zach Leach and Adam Bebout from Red Bull. Red Bull always send interesting projects my way.
Jeremy: I’ve worked for Misschief Films’ Ro Sham Bo, Runway Films’ LaLa Land, F.O.D.T. Familia… I’ve also done work on BMW/Triumph commercials, Intermountain Electronics/Kennecot media, and music videos.
Why do you think the time is right for a new style of women’s shred movie and how will yours be different from what’s come before?
Stan: I think any time is the right time for a different style shred movie, men’s or women’s—as long as it is engaging, fun and visually appealing. We are really trying to show the women with their individual voices. What they like to ride and where they want to be. Having them push it for themselves and do it 110 percent. Once we help establish that mindset and what’s possible, we just need to document well. Jeremy has a degree in cinematography and I have one in photography so we’re not trying to “bro-cam” and slap some shit together. We talk to our riders and have clear concepts that we shoot creatively with an end result in mind.
Jeremy: I’m not so sure it has anything to do with the timing, I just feel we can put our own unique spin and cinematic style on the film to create a look and feel that has not otherwise been accomplished in snowboarding. The film will differ in the overall appearance and caliber of riding (hopefully). The variables that I have control over will be unique imagery, moving cameras, coloring, editing, and direction. We are just at the tip of the iceberg for what is capable in snowboard cinema. The closest I’ve seen to “on-par” was That’s It, That’s All. Aside from skilled production teams, budget would be the major factor in creating a truly Hollywood-worthy film.
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Do you think the video market is oversaturated in snowboarding, or is that only really the case with “dude movies”? And what are the drawbacks to having “too many movies out there”?
Stan: For men’s movies maybe. Unless you’re Travis Rice…but even his movie could have had some jibbing. The urban kids are going nuts. Gotta show some respect to the kids getting busy in the city.
Jeremy: Just as snowboarding has gained popularity, so has filmmaking. With the advancements of HD cameras and non-linear editing it has never been easier to make bad films. These days, if you want to be a “cool” snowboarder, you need to make some kind of video with your friends and put it on YouTube or have a premiere in your parents’ basement. The truth of the matter is all hype is probably good for the sport. Yeah, it definitely makes it harder to produce a film when there are over 300 snow titles per year. I think it is a desirable thing to make snowboarding movies and they should be well planned out and treated as a real production. Save the fun handheld for Grandpa at Disneyland, unless you’re intentionally doing a POV shot for a psychological effect. This may sound bitter—but you won’t find me buying a Fender guitar and calling myself a musician.
Stan: People start to think it’s easy to churn out a movie and people begin to think [that] as long as they’re being filmed doing a trick it’s film-worthy. Not the case…
Do you guys have a hero in snowboarding or someone you really admire, riding-wise, male or female?
Stan: Travis Rice for the dudes, Gretchen Bleiler for the ladies.
Who are some of the riders who’ve committed to working with you on STANCE this year?
Stan: Gretchen Bleiler, Jamie Anderson, Lisa Filzmoser, Hana Beaman, Kimmy Fasani to name a few.
Who are you extra super specially stoked on shooting and why?
Stan: Gretchen [Bleiler]. She is seriously one of the most humble human beings I have ever met and the busiest woman I know. But she flies in, kills it, and is off to another contest. She’s a natural in the backcountry and it’s weird watching someone progress so quickly. I’m stoked to get out and shoot with Kimmy Fasani, too. She always has a smile on her face and has been recently getting some great shots.
Do you think that female riders—even relatively big name ones—get the short end of the stick when it comes to the media game or filming?
Stan: Some do. It’s a male-driven sport. You gotta really learn how the industry works to be truly effective.
Jeremy: Yes and No. Here’s why: I think that female riders have far less competition on the professional level. Most female riders (Tara Dakides excluded) are new to the filming scene. Mack Dawg just released Double Decade, case in point. However, it seems more difficult for [women] to get funding for their projects. Possibly because they are so booked out with the contests… Will we ever see a female rider with the kind of force and influence of, say, a Travis Rice or a Shaun White? Why or why not?
Stan: I think you already have. Tara Dakides or Tina Basich to name a few. I think Jamie Anderson and Gretchen are closing in. Jeremy and I were watching Jamie’s run at the X-Games last year and she charged the jumps like a guy. Both those girls are riding so good and they have companies like Billabong and Oakley that back them hard and believe in them. Tara Dakides had her own movie this year and Gretchen has an X-Games commercial.
Jeremy: I think so. It is undeniable that both of those names are icons and amazing snowboarders. I think that Jamie Anderson is on her way to that arena.
u always hear that the women’s segment is the fastest-growing demographic within snowboarding, but you’d never know it if you opened a shred mag or turned on one of the Big Three snowboard videos. Is women’s snowboarding some kind of “shadow world” as far as the industry is concerned or what?
Stan: Sure, but part of the problem is some of the ladies being vocal about what they want to do and backing it up. People freak about all the exposure Travis got this year with his movie but what they don’t see is him on a plane to Cali constantly or on conference calls getting in peoples’ faces to explain to them his vision…then hopping on a plane to some far-off locale and exceeding everyone’s expectations with his riding. He looks over both sides of the fence and is clearly steering his career rather than being a pawn for some company. He is his own company: T.Rice, Inc. I think if a few of the ladies changed their train of thought to that perhaps they’d have more success. But they do need more of an outlet. Snowboarder magazine is our media partner and Pat Bridges personally working with the ladies has been a big [factor] in getting this project off the ground.
Jeremy: Not sure what is going on with that… I’m not going to sugarcoat the fact that men’s snowboarding is on an entirely different level from a technical standpoint. But would you ever compare the WNBA to the NBA in the same magazine? Hopefully we can showcase the talented riders in a more enticing way and get more eyes on that side of the sport.
How do you two know each other?
Stan: We met shooting Laura Hadar on this really long ledge. We got along well and just kept in touch. Honestly, we’re a pretty weird pair: A fashionista from Bountiful and a black guy from Alaska. He’s the good cop, I’m the bad cop. Go figure, but it works…
Describe the Salt Lake snowboard scene to someone who hasn’t experienced it full-force. It’s pretty unique in its intensity…
Stan: Eight to nine dudes tripping over each other to film. The grind is on 24 hrs a day. The urban stuff I’ve seen goin’ down this year has been pretty unbelievable. I was talking to Shane Charlebois (filmer for Absinthe) and he was saying they have more jib shots already than all of last year. It’s pretty intense. But then you have guys like Jeremy Jones holding it down solo styles. That guy is pretty amazing. Still pushing snowboarding but balancing a family.
Jeremy: Yep: Everything has been hit, every trick has been done, and everything is a bust. Lots of little gems everywhere but timing them is the difficult part.The different crews consist of Gangsters, Gypsies, Jocks, and Girls [laughs].
Out of the two of you, who builds the best jumps?
Stan: No question… me for sure [laughs]. One day Shane Charlebois and I counted the jumps we built on the year we filmed Pop: Over 100. Add a few sessions in with Rice here and there… Everything he builds takes four days to shovel and is over a hundred feet. It’s painful. I’m not a spring chicken anymore but I love having a front row seat at the T.Rice show.
Jeremy: Stan constantly works out so he can block out those huge chunks. He was also involved with that giant jump that JP Solberg hit, so he wins. However, I’ve been known to log some hours with the shovel.
Name one thing the shred world doesn’t know about your partner:
Stan: He has a girlfriend. I have 12, give or take—at least for this season of filming.
Jeremy: Chicago dog!
For a link to the story on espn.com, please click here.