I know what you did last winter

ChunkyKnit rider Tina Birbaum in Colorado

The third all-girl snowboard movie from ChunkyKnit Productions – Last Winter – is in the shops now.

Director and producer Josie Clyde tells the story behind the film and explains why there’ll be no ChunkyKnit movie next season.

How is this film different from previous films?

Last Winter is made up of a series of short films. We felt the rider section format was just getting a bit stale – not much room for creativity so by making short films, we could treat each film as a different mini project.

We know from the feedback we got from DropStitch that girls snowboard films lend themselves more to lifestyle AND snowboard footage so we wanted to include more of what life is like a pro female snowboarder.

Are there any attributes which define ChunkyKnit Films? Any elements, styles etc that make the viewer think “Yeah, this is a ChunkyKnit film”.

Tina Birbaum and Erin Valverde in Romania

I think we do have a style but it always seems to happen accidentally. Perhaps ChunkyKnit films are more atmospheric and more about the beauty of being in the mountains than the stereotypical snowboard thing of everything being RAD and SICK!

So do you still find each movie a learning process? If so what did you learn from this film?

I learned I can stay at home for the whole season, study for an MA and make a snowboard film at the same time! Haha – what do they call that… multi-tasking!

But it was pretty depressing calling the girls who would be on their way up the hill on a blue day and I was looking out over cold, grey Manchester! I missed not travelling this year.

Is the film-making degree you are currently doing at university influencing your snowboard film-making?

I think doing the course made me aware of how much I had learned from making the snowboard films. When we started ChunkyKnit, we taught ourselves everything so I went to uni to get some proper training, but it turned out I had trained myself pretty well and it’s given me the confidence to know we are doing things the right way.

Perhaps it got me thinking more about directing and how it is important to try and tell a story. If I am in the position where people are going to watch our films, then I think

Lisa Wiik and Jenny Jones

it is more worthwhile to tell the audience something rather than it just being a series of action shots set to music.

That’s probably why Last Winter ended up like it did – so yes I think it did influence the ChunkyKnit project.

How did you find working on the film this year with one of your key ladies Sian Hughes taking a back seat as she prepared to become a mum?

Sian told me really early on in her pregnancy that she was expecting because she needed to focus on the pregnancy and her distribution of WE clothing in New Zealand.

I was a bit sad because I love working with her but I was thrilled she was having a baby. I haven’t been that close to someone through a whole pregnancy before so it was amazing to see her grow and grow!

She went back to NZ to have the baby but she is coming back to the UK and I can’t wait to meet her little girl Suki!

How do you go about filming the big mountain stuff? Are helicopters affordable these days for filmers?

We didn’t use any helicopters this year which was a first. They just destroy your budget in a matter of hours. The main backcountry/big mountain trip was to Romania. It was very remote and the girls has to access everything by foot. There are no lifts – just a cable car which takes you up to a mountain lodge and then everything is on foot.

The Japan crew

I was so glad I wasn’t on that trip – I would have died of exhaustion. I think it was a little bit sketchy as the conditions were not that stable and the girls felt quite exposed hiking it all. But they had an amazing time – lots and lots of good lines.

Do you work much with the bands in your film? Do they realise that these kinds of movies can bring them a whole new audience?

If an artist is unsigned then I think it can make a difference. So many people asked me about the song that was on our trailer which is by a girl from New York called I Am Jen So I hope they checked out her other stuff!

But for most of the signed bands it is just about dealing with the record company and the publishers. I don’t think the band even know about it in most cases.

How much involvement did the girls have in putting together their footage into the final films?

This year they didn’t have as much input. If we are do rider sections then it is easier for them to pick their shots and plan how their section is going to look but because we did short films this year, it was more down to the editors to make those decisions.

How did you decide which order to show them in?

Traditionally with rider sections you put the best section last and the second best section first. The rest go in as they fit. This year we made a running order based on the feel of each film – so not putting two free-ride sections together etc. We just wanted it to flow and hopefully stay interesting for the duration.

In Last Winter, we put the Japan trip film last because we felt it was such a feel good film. The trip was a disaster but they managed to make it work in the end and it gives a good overview of the whole process of trying to make a snowboard film.

Are the girl’s sponsors now pushing for more film coverage from them too, do you think?

I think in the last couple of years, the sponsors have realised the increased exposure that being in a film brings. Previously they just wanted the girls to compete to get that exposure.

A lot of sponsors are stoked their riders can be involved in a season long project and those are the sponsors we love working with.

Other sponsors still don’t see the importance it has to the progression of women’s snowboarding and that sucks because it makes it so much harder financially to pull it off.

Are the girl riders now more aware of what makes good footage?

They are certainly more aware of the effort and time they need to put in to get a lot of good footage so that they are not disappointed at the end of the season. The girls are so into it now which is great.

Well it is not great in a way because we are not making another film next year so I think they are pretty disappointed they don’t have that to focus on now!

It was a very hard decision to make because we have all done this together and we love our ChunkyKnit crew!

To watch the Last Winter trailer and find out where to buy all the ChunkyKnit films, visit http://lastwinter.chunkyknit.com

Comments are closed.