This week saw the launch of a cool new film festival that caught our eye, The Snow Film Fest NYC. Slated for Nov. 19-21 in Tribeca, with an Aug. 15 deadline for submissions, this new grouping sets to really open up the genre and showcase cool shorts and features spanning everything from banging snowboard action to much mistier interpretations of just what constitutes a good "snow film."
"I'd love to see anything from high-performance films like Forum's 'Forever' to documentaries like 'Swift, Silent and Deep' to films that you normally wouldn't see on the shelves of shops," says SFFNYC's Tyler Breuer, who also manages Sundown Ski & Snowboard Shop. "Our goal is to push the snow film genre and hopefully see films with narratives ... with real stories from the local kid who just loves to go out and ride for the fun of it to the pros and issues they may deal with. I'd also like to see experimental stuff that pushes the envelope and maybe sits on the line of brilliant or crap. Basically people taking chances with their films."
So, skiing, snowboarding ... "Fargo" -- anything goes here, filmmakers! Entry fees are cheap at just $50 for features and $35 for shorts. Plus, SFFNYC is a great opportunity both for meat 'n' potatoes snow porn makers to express their inner Warhol or for the regular mountain-sports crowd to immerse themselves in some new ways of seeing and being.
"[As] the concept developed, we really did not want to put limits on submissions, hence Snow film fest, not specifically Ski and Snowboarding film fest," explains event producer Morgan Rae Berk, 27. "The snow lifestyle usually includes these two sports, but as seen in the Winter Olympics these past years, it's hard to even define the limits on these. Crazy new outside-the-box jumps and extremes are being pushed by the athletes so we've decided to let the filmmakers that document this tell us what should be in the program."
We reckoned with the three-day festival taking place in star-studded Tribeca that some celebrity name-dropping was in order but Breuer set us straight: "We welcome everyone to come to the event: Rich, famous, poor, weekend warrior, pro, amateur ... One of our main [goals] with this festival is to open everything up to the community and have no VIP. We enjoy an environment where everyone can come and mingle and nothing is too exclusive or pretentious."
To that end, SFFNYC is also partnering with Stoked Mentoring as their sole non-profit beneficiary, a tie-in that should be beneficial for both Stoked's kids and mentors. "We are in NYC and Stoked is based out of here and this festival is the perfect opportunity to expose these kids to this type of lifestyle. Films can have so much impact on kids and how it shapes their mentality of what is possible. What better way to get these kids 'stoked' than to show films about snowboarding and skiing and other activities around the snow lifestyle and expose them to a whole new way to see the world?" says Breuer.
"While Stoked teaches kids the actual sports, they also teach them life skills," adds Berk. "Not everyone can be the next star athlete, but teach a kid how to use a camera to shoot the next star athlete and you give him or her the skills for a life's worth of paydays!"
New York knows snow -- no question -- but isn't the lack of immediate mountain culture a possible hindrance here? Breuer doesn't think so: "I see so many guys using rails at local schools and towing behind cars. I think snow can be a universal thing that you don't have to be a die-hard mountain guy to appreciate. Plus, there are so many creative people out there who love snowboarding or skiing that don't have access to mountains but still are die hards that will find a way to make the most of a snowfall and get that stoke."
Check out SFFNYC on the web and, if you're a filmmaker, don't miss that Aug. 15 deadline.
"Now I'm down in Tribeca, right next to DeNiro ..." -- Jay-Z, Empire State of Mind