KC Deane and friends learned the hard way that making a ski movie isn’t as easy as it looks.
World-traveling freeskier KC Deane is the driving force behind the new independent ski movie blank. the movie. We caught up with KC at the Nine Knights mountain bike event in Livigno, Italy to talk about his new movie, and how it was nearly stolen by some sketchy individuals in a backwoods Canadian town.
Skiing since: 3 years old ( first memory ever was on a ski slope )
Hometown: Whistler, BC, Canada
Home resort: Whistler
Hey KC, can you describe the movie in your own words, and why you made it?
The movie is kind of a travel-based film with myself, Alexis Godbout, Vincent Gagnier, Max Morello and Mike Henitiuk. We were shooting with Poor Boyz before, and since Poor Boyz is done [making ski movies] we had to step out on our own and do our own project. It was like when you’re in high school and you move out on your own. We had to take everything into our own hands. We moved to Japan, then Europe and Alaska.
Would you have done it if Poor Boyz hadn’t stopped making movies?
To be honest, if Poor Boyz hadn’t stopped, we wouldn’t have done this movie. Filming with Poor Boyz for “Twenty” was awesome. I couldn’t be happier to have a full segment. They are awesome, super organized and have awesome riders in the team like Tanner Hall and Pep Fujas. It’s just fun to film with those guys. But in the end, I’m happy we made our own movie. It was a nice challenge.
Especially this directing thing was a big challenge. Normally you’re just an athlete, you hand in your GoPro after the session and you chill. You still have some input in your segment, but that’s pretty much it. But now, for example when we were in Japan, after skiing we were emailing sponsors, dealing with budgets and the next trip.
What was the organization of the team?
Mainly it came to me and Alexis. I directed everything, but everybody produced it. I had the vision for the movie, but everybody had a part of the job for sure.
What were the tasks to be completed before you started filming?
Everything. First, it’s not something made by one person; it’s by everyone, like it says in the credits. Everybody had to talk to their sponsors and bring money into the movie. Then we had to find a filmer. That was my job and I found a guy from Whistler. Then we arrived at the point where we had the budget, the filmer, and the riders; now we needed the snow, which wasn’t so easy this year. My job was to organize the footage and put everything in the timeline before sitting down with the editor to edit the full movie together. I also had to contact all the musicians for the rights. And right now Alexis is doing the iTunes processing.
You said you had a vision for the film. What was it?
It came from surfing and skateboarding influence. The idea was to put together a 25-minute movie that would to show more the behind the scenes. In a lot of movies, they make a really good movie, but a lot of people can’t relate to it because they watch a guy jumping from a heli, and that’s it. I wanted show the traveling as well, the hard times like arriving in Tokyo with a ski bag, logging footage for hours, waiting in train stations, etc. It makes the characters of the movie more relatable.
The idea was the break up the skiing segments with these parts. I also filmed some with a Super-8 camera.
What did you learn from this first experience making a movie?
I learned that it’s fucking hard [laughs]. The main thing I learned was time management, because… [Nico Zacek gives a high five to KC and takes the mic to ruin the interview]
I learned a lot about editing. I found myself at the end of the season with Final Cut Pro and I had no idea how to use it. But also how it’s important to talk with sponsors and explain your projects right.
Were you able to draw on your previous film experience?
For sure, especially watching Tyler from Poor Boyz, how he was always taking care of the footage at the end of the day. Now we know how long it takes to do a segment.
Now that it’s done, what’s your opinion of the film?
It sucks [laughs]. No, I’m really stoked because we knew we could put together a good Japan trip, but Alaska and Europe were more questionable because we didn’t know the places. You are in the resort and spend half a day and then the cold comes. We didn’t think we had enough, but going through the footage, we figured out it was amazing, we actually did it, and it was going to work.
After the color correcting, I was like, “We really did it.” Jam did an amazing job at color correction.
I’m stoked to show this movie to people.
What’s your worst memory from the season?
Oh my God, you will love this one. We started the season in Japan for a couple of weeks, and asked the filmer to do a backup with the footage, and he was like, “it’s fine, don’t worry.” Then we flew to Vancouver, and I needed footage for the sponsors and kept asking for it. The season went on, he continued filming all season, and never did the backup.
We had moved to Whitehorse, and were getting some breakfast in early April when I said “OK, let’s do the backup now.” The filmer said, “OK, I just need my blue backpack.” But the packpack wasn’t in the car—it was stolen, with absolutely all the footage. Our entire movie was gone, one season of filming. So I said, “We’re fucking going into Whitehorse and we’re going to find this fucking backpack, ‘cause if not we’ll have to go to our sponsors and tell them we just lost our movie and all the budget you gave us is gone.” So it’s 5pm, we’re in Whitehorse, and Whitehorse is full of crackheads, and we want to talk to every sketchy person who you would never want to talk with because they’re crackheads.
We proposed 500 dollars for the backpack. Six hours later, a guy texted us saying they had the backpack and to bring the 500 dollars to this sketchy bar. We went there, did the exchange, and at 11 o’clock we got our movie back. I have never been so stressed in my life. And the filmer was like, “All good, let’s chill and have a beer, I’ll copy the footage tomorrow,” and I was like, “No way man, take your fucking laptop and do it now.” Even now, talking about it stresses me out.
Will you go for another movie after this one?
Yeah that’s the plan beyond Blank. We don’t have a name, but a completely different style.
*Bonus* Our review of blank. the movie
Blank is a freeski movie. That’s probably the best and worst compliment we can give. While some productions focus their efforts on ski porn, and others go for a documentary approach, Blank, a rookie production, gets a bit lost between these two poles in their 25-minute film.
BLANK starts off well, alternating between intensity and charm with a generic mix of skiing and lifestyle. If the first part in Japan is classic, the break without music on the simple sequence of Max Morello fills perfectly to with the Vinnie Gagnier park section, super clean. But then the movie slowly loses its personality, segment after segment. It wouldn’t be a problem if the urban was on the level of Stept Prodcutions if the backcountry was Poor Boyz, if the freeride was MSP, and the production was Field, but that’s not the case.
As spectators we are left wondering what this movie will bring to us, and why to watch it instead of another film. It’s a bummer that the risks were taken only on skis. At the end it starts to get boring, before the simple and generic finishes the movie with a smile.
In conclusion, Blank is not a bad movie, but the industry has changed and the quality of movies out there demands that each production find its own unique personality and show it well. I hope the next film continues the original ideas of the BLANK crew.
To watch in cinema : http://www.highfive-festival.com/en/