IF3 International Ski Film Festival By John Desmond

Opening Night: A Feast For the Eyes

Celebrating its 5th year in existence, Montreal’s hosting of the International Free Ski Film Festival (IF3) is the biggest gathering of independent producers and directors in skiing drawing more people with each growing year.  In essence, the festival is a weekend-long rush of pros, parties and of course, some amazing ski films.  Originally, I planned on catching one or two premieres and possibly checking out one of the sponsored after-parties, provided the price of the tickets fell within my budget, however, given that Champlain Montreal students are strongly encouraged to submit our blog of events and activities; the IF3 PR team was happy to provide three media passes to the event to Champlain Montreal students on the condition that we would report on its many happenings.  And so, with the pleasant and unexpected news of obtaining a pass of sorts to the event at the last minute my weekend agenda was immediately transformed.

At first, I far underestimated the power of the pass: I thought it only allowed me to take pictures at events, but it also gave me unlimited access to all events.  Basically, the little blue card hanging from my neck put me on the other side of the velvet rope for IF3 events and yes, for one of the nights, I do mean that literally.

The weekend’s festivities began with an outdoor screening of Switchback Entertainment’sFreedom Chair, an inspiring story about one twist of fate for an extreme skier who is left in a paraplegic state following an accident on the slopes and how he finds himself once again through adapted skiing and captures the opportunity to compete for his country in the 2010 Paralympic Games.  Sherpas Cinema closed the evening with a premiere of their latest work, All.I.Can, a ski flick with a documentary twist on how skiers can be the catalyst for change in the fight against climate change.

                                                                   All.I.Can Trailer


 Following the screenings of these movies, I decided to test out the power of the pass with fellow Champlain Montrealer- Brendan Tanner and attempt to make our way into the VIP after-party put on by Nike 6.0 and Red Bull at the swanky Hotel Opus. Opening Night After Party at Coco Lounge in the Opus HotelThe crowd was an interesting mix in which profession could be guessed based on attire: well-dressed hipster – brand rep; tall tee and beanie – skier.  The festive atmosphere was a mere taste of what was coming that weekend. Then, it was on to Day 2. Unfortunately, my internship schedule limited my movie-going experience on Friday, but I was able to check out Prime Cut from East Coast locals Meathead Films and the jaw-dropping After Dark by Level 1 Productions.

        After Dark Trailer    
Cali P Live at the Reggae Party

 The crowd got into the Rastafari spirit later that night at the Red Bull/Tanner Hall Inspired Reggae Party, featuring the musical talents of artists such as Jah Cutta and Black Phantom Sound, as well as the headlining act and friend of Tanner Hall, Cali P. The following day provided yet another marathon of movies. A few notable evening showings included Attack of La Nina from Matchstick and Field Productions’ Being There.  Following those two films was the IF3 Palms award ceremony.

Attack of La Nina Trailer 


Awards Night

The scene was reminiscent of an 80’s rock concert because, well, it pretty much was an 80’s rock concert.  Leather jackets, ripped jeans, mullet wigs were the norm and crazy costumes seemed to blend into the madness of the night.  A cover band cranked out classics from ACDC, Ozzy Osborne, Aerosmith, etc. and provided the soundtrack of the evening.  To push closer to the stage ensured becoming exponentially soaked in pungent a mix of sweat and beer.  While veteran pros like Tanner Hall were taking in the scene from afar, Chug and the Newschoolers could be seen causing mayhem in the mosh pit.  I even had the pleasure of bumping into former Champlain student Ian Compton.  While I could go on describing the wild night at Club Soda, I think it is best to sum it up as one of those “you had to be there” nights…

For anyone who has witnessed any type of ceremony recognizing the hard work of athletes or filmmakers, take that image…and imagine something entirely different.  At an event where skis are handed out in place of trophies and the master of ceremonies is clad in a mullet wig and denim vest, it was more akin to a couple of friends congratulating each other on a good season and exemplified the casual atmosphere within the freeskier culture.  A few notable stage appearances were big names such as Tanner Hall, JP Auclair and Tom Wallisch, as well as the Newschoolers crew.  At the close of the ceremony, the crowd relocated to Club Soda for the Red Bull/Sean Pettit Rocker Party.  

All in all, IF3 was an incredible weekend.  A seemingly endless supply of ski films, the chance to rub elbows with ski idols, free swag and some unforgettable nights – IF3 was by all means a success.  Thanks to Champlain-Montreal activities coordinator Duncan McKenna, I wasable to come and go as I pleased at all IF3 events, camera bag in tow, with my media pass.  What would have been a fun weekend with a couple of good movies to get me stoked for winter turned into an unforgettable experience that I can only dream of replicating in the future.

Article written by Champlain Montreal Marketing Student, John Desmond

Behind the Scenes of IF3