iF3 is a film festival that features the best of the best of freeski films from around the world – nominees are chosen and the films are showcased over a couple weekends in september at various cities around quebec, landing in montreal the second weekend of september. i had the honour of covering the event on behalf of littlecity (shouts to travis towlsey for making that happen!) and i was so unbelievably stoked to be there.
despite being the running joke at the CSSC, skiing holds a special place in my heart. the festival was a serious whirlwind of events and non stop films – and even though i spent 2 straight days sandwiched between shaggy haired, smelly seventeen year old boys in a tiny theatre at montreal’s monument national, the weekend was dope as fuck and i’m so glad i got to take part in it.
iF3 outdoor village
here are my top 5 festival highlights, in no particular order:
kaya turski’s the edge of state of mind
a continuation of montreal female free skier kaya turski’s webisode series, state of mind, the edge of state of mine was the season wrap up that ran in an all girls film showcase on the saturday of iF3. obviously i was amped beyond belief that there was an entire showing dedicated to some badass chicas that bust moves i can only dream of (and even then…), the short film was a really unique look at the female side of the sport, that needless to say, gets much less attention than it should. narrated by kaya, produced by allison thompson and directed/filmed by ben bishop, the film follows the top female athletes in freeskiing as they hit various events and competitions around the world. aside from unreal displays of athleticism, the film had a really distinct edge (pun intended) – quirky and high energy, the vibe was undeniably femme. plus there was a pretty kick ass soundtrack to go along with it. you can watch the rest of kaya’s webisodes right this way, and peep my interview with her right here.
voleurz – kill your boredom
ah, voleurz. this film was worth it if only for the fucking epic battle scene at the beginning. shot in high contrast and game of thrones gorey, the intro featured a battle between skiers and boarders. fucking sick if only for the vast number of boarders stabbed with skiis (one guy took a pole to the eye), the intro culminated with the last two skiers standing removing their masks to reveal that they were CHICKS. i know right? then they made out and every seventeen year old boy in there jizzed his pants. i’m not kidding, the guy next to me was losing it. watch the teaser to the intro below:
aside from that, the skiing was unreal, and featured the talents of geoff brown, rob heule, KC deane, braden dean, simon d’artois, jesmond dubeau and a whole list of other incredibly talented guys. surreal landscape shots cut in with silliness from the crew’s acclaimed (and hilarious) volympics and truly outstanding visuals really made this film one to remember.
nsf productions – moss
i knew before i got there that i was going to love the nsf film that featured local boys vincent prevost, dominic laporte and martin boulais, among others. quebec based nsf produced the entire soundtrack for their film, moss, in their studio to cut production costs (which, as a couple directors noted in their pre-film intros, is becoming a much bigger issues because snow season is shorter and investors are hard to come by) – and let me tell you, it was fuckn dope. after their 2011 release, frozen yogurt, the crew gained a lot of attention from a mentage featuring radiohead’s nude – this year’s moss resonated with a very similar power. heavy electronic with a hip hop like beat matched perfectly to shots of the athletes hitting both urban rails and park (plus some local scenery gave it a really nice montrealy touch).
image via freeskier online
line: travelling circus – which way to ze autobahn?
by far the funniest of all the films i watched, this perfectly defined the ski lifestyle i had envisioned in my mind. the travelling circus series follows will wesson, andy parry, LJ strenio, ian compton, erik olson, garrett russell, cole drexler, max hill and shane mcfalls as they travel around skiing and just generally being a bunch of clowns. this particular webisode followed them to europe where they rode around in an RV, braved snowstorms and, oh yeah, hit some very enviable slopes in knee deep powder. this was the silliest of all the short films and definitely the one that really showcased the quirky, ridiculous side of skiing that i know and love. it felt the most “real” (as opposed to others that felt a bit more planned out or staged) – that was a definite highlight for me (even though the film-ness of the other productions was not a low point at all). i was in stitches watching this one and YOU can watch the whole film right here.
esk media – souvenirs
i hadn’t heard of esk media before i attended the awards show at iF3 (more on that in a hot minute) but judging from the crowds reaction to their umpteen nominations this year, it was gonna be a good one. this film showed on sunday morning and features athletes alex beaulieu, JF houle, yan bussières, alex bellemare, jeremy bellemare, cedic TF and a ton of other really talented kids. this one was my favourite in terms of visuals and cinematography – the prelude to the film was kitschy but it fit in so nicely with the rugged, local aesthetic that featured shots from around montreal, mont sainte anne and quebec city to name a few. there was a really great segment where the guys hit a seriously epic jump across some kind of gap between two buildings (?) absolutely non stop. this was my favourite film, i think – watch the trailer and you’ll understand. dope soundtrack and a phenomenal send off for their final production.
video via esk media
unfortunately, there was a low point to the festival. and if you were there, you know what i’m talking about. the event that the festival was seemingly built around, the iF3 awards show was easily the worst hour that i’ve ever sat through. sorry guys, i have to say it. i have so much respect for this festival but the awards were pretty painful. like i said, i was crammed in a row with very stinky scraggley haired kids that yelled “woahhhhhhh” and “YEPPPP” in alternating intervals, to the point that i couldn’t hear what was going on. maybe it was just irritating because i was, you know, the only girl in the room, but who knows. the torture didn’t end there. not only did whoever was backstage fuck up more times than i could count with the nominee reels, there was also an unfortunate 10 minute period where one of the presenters left to go figure shit out with the clips so the other presenter was left to entertain the crowd with an overly long analogy about dog shit. or something. not at all exaggerating. despite that, there’s something to be said about the snow industry and the ski community, even if i did want to punch the kid sitting next to me in the face. one of the most moving moments of the festival was an almost 2 minute long standing ovation for gord burke, ski legend sarah burke‘s father, who accepted the if3 ski icon award on her behalf. during his very moving speech, the auditorium was silent for the first and only time throughout the awards show and every eye was on him. it was an incredibly powerful little moment.
image via freeskier online
you can clicky a complete list of the award winners and nominees right here!
all in all, i had a really awesome weekend and if possible, iF3 has made me even more stoked to hit the slopes again in a couple months.