I scribbled some notes down while watching the movie, but none of them could really describe what I felt watching JF Houle’s life story in Houligan, his two-year project that just debuted at this year’s ski film festivals.
Humility, fighting spirit, intensity, emotion: these are words that came to mind watching JF dominate urban rails and scrap his way through competitions. JF’s film comes across almost as a 15-year project, rather than a 2-year one, as it accurately portrays his skiing journey from his early years, to his rise to fame, to his decision to stop competing—a moment that the film captures in vivid detail as JF struggled with himself at the 2013 Dew Tour slopestyle.
Houligan shows how fragile a freeskier’s career can be, and also how by working hard, from the ground up, a guy can follow his dreams, stay true to his roots, produce his own movie with his own money, and re-launch himself into the limelight to thunderous applause, universal respect, and three film awards.
This story could be told about a lot of skiers—but the fact that it’s about such an amazingly nice, generous and honest person makes it that much more moving a tale.
JF’s comeback is a story about life as much as it’s a story about urban skiing. It’s not just a story of a guy coming back after injury; it’s a guy coming back to show absolute dominance in the realm of urban skiing, accompanied by stellar performances from close friends including Alexis Godbout, Phil Casabon and the new-generation ambassador Emile Bergeron.
There’s a lot more that could be said about JF and his movie, so that’s why we interviewed him about it. Check back on Downdays to see the full interview dropping soon…