Film review: Sunny

Travis Persaud, Contributor Ω

If the cool Kamloops nights haven’t been enough to get winter enthusiasts stoked for the upcoming ski season, then the showing of Level 1 Production’s newest effort, Sunny, on Oct. 11 at the TRU Alumni Theatre, was sure to get excitement levels high.

According to event organizer Luc Levert, 65 people attended the premiere. When asked for his impression of the movie, Levert, a longtime fan of Level 1 Productions, admitted a bias but nonetheless “loved it.”

“We make a movie about how much we like to slam into walls, and then put it out every year, and kids buy it,” said film athlete Tom Wallisch sarcastically in the movie trailer, ultimately foreshadowing the urban adventures the Level 1 crew took on throughout the winter of 2011-2012.

In step with the current trend of tranny-finding in urban free skiing, Sunny showcased many urban feats inspired by skateboarding roots of sending it to tight landings.  Adding a new spin on urban skiing, Logan Imlach’s segment saw the conversion of an abandoned building in Alaska into a narrow, windy “pump” track ending with bomb-drop takeoffs through literal window frames. Sunny certainly affirmed the Level 1 crew’s creativity in taking skiing to an urban environment.

Innovation and style ruled over a spin-to-win agenda among the Level 1 crew this year, providing viewers with a much needed break from double and triple flip craze that has taken over the competition scene.  Producer Josh Berman managed to effectively contrast the flawless technical wizardry of Tom Wallisch with the simple fluidity of Eric Pollard and similar skiers.

Sunny cleaned house at the International Freeski Film Festival this year, picking up Best North American Film and Best Editing, while Best North American Male went to Level 1 athlete Parker White for his destruction of everything placed in front of him. At one point in the film White kick-flipped a skateboard while in his ski boots, as if viewers needed an additional testament to his skills.

As standard, the spring park shoots saw the creation of bestial features at Sun Valley Ski Resort in Idaho and Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado. Nonetheless, the making of Sunny was an international crusade that landed the crew in non-typical ski locations like Turkey and Japan. Run-ins with police officers abroad while shooting urban scenes added comic relief as the athletes and film crew attempted to negotiate language barriers.

While Sunny definitely isn’t the movie for someone who thrives solely off back-country charging, Berman achieved a balance of urban, park and back-country skiing that aptly showcased the talent of the athletes he worked with.