Film Series welcomes ‘Pretty Faces’ to the Prospector on Sunday
November 14, 2014
The title of Unicorn Picnic Productions’ documentary "Pretty Faces" is a play on words.
Not only does the film focus on female winter-sports athletes, but also show them hitting the powder on some of the most beautiful mountain faces in the world, according to Sara Valerious.
Valerious is an Intermountain Regional coordinator for SheJumps, a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit organization that’s on a mission to help females of all ages enjoy the outdoors without fear.
"I think the message the film is trying to get out there is for women and girls to go outside and have fun," Valerious said during an interview with The Park Record. "It’s about stepping out of the comfort zone and going for it."
The Park City Film Series will host two special screenings of "Pretty Faces," directed by SheJumps co-founder Linsey Dyer, at the Prospector Theater, 2175 Sidewinder Dr., on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 in advance by visiting http://www.parkcityfilmseries.org , or $15 at the door. Men4Ed, a newly formed branch of the Park City Education Foundation created by men whose mission is to support girls in outdoor sports, will distribute free tickets to girls ages 18 and younger at the door.
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"Pretty Faces," which also features snowmobiling, is an amazing film for everyone and shows the benefits of doing something for the joy of it, Valerious said.
"I was personally struck that these women in the film aren’t making tons of money to follow their dreams," she explained. "They work odd jobs and struggle to be able to do these things, but throughout the hard times, they always come out in the end and can ski that awesome spine or go to Alaska to ski.
"As a ski instructor, I always struggled with the idea of getting a real job," Valerious said. "At the same time I want to do what makes me happy and this film shows that you can."
"Pretty Faces" fits right into SheJumps mission, according to Valerious.
"My main goal is to host events that get girls outside," she said. "We want to get girls into a situation where they feel comfortable to express their concerns and fears in regards to skiing, climbing, mountain biking or any other outdoor sport."
To do so, Valerious has worked with other organizations on these events that will include International Women’s Ski Day on Dec. 13 at Solitude and Alta and other events at Brighton that will include coachings.
"The cool thing about SheJumps is that there are regional coordinators throughout the country and we can host waxing clinics in Portland, Oregon, to get skis ready for the season, and we also host snow-camping events in the Northwest," she said. "We also like partnering with the Utah Avalanche Center to hold avalanche-education classes. This is something that we really enjoy doing."
Creating the film was a journey for Dyer, said Claire Smallwood, executive director of SheJumps.
Smallwood, Dyer and Vanessa Pierce founded SheJumps in 2007.
"Linsey has been a professional, big-mountain skier for more than 10 years and has appeared in 10 different ski films herself, and through those experiences, she saw some great footage of herself and other female athletes not making it into the final cut of these projects," Smallwood said. "So, she felt like she had a duty to change that based on her experiences in the industry with her role as a mentor and leader in sports through the SheJumps."
The project gained footage five years ago through an email.
"The thread ran between her, myself and maybe 40 other women in the skiing and snowboarding industry," Smallwood explained. "Our goal was to start a conversation about us addressing the fact that women are not in these movies and we, as a team and community, could address that as a whole."
Two years ago, this month, Dyer released the first trailer for "Pretty Faces."
"She created the trailer by aggregating footage from all the other big-name ski film companies that hadn’t used the footage," Smallwood explained. "She edited it and used the trailer as a litmus test to see what the response was."
The response was "crazy," Smallwood said.
"There was something like 150,000 views on this trailer that didn’t have any marketing or other pushes form outside sources," she said.
The number of views reflects the findings of multiple winter-sports studies that have shown that 40 percent of the skiing population is comprised of women and that women also comprise 30 percent of the adventure-sports film viewership, according to Smallwood.
"The problem is only 14 percent of the athletes in major ski films in 2012 were female in 2012, which was up from 9 percent in 2011, but the numbers are still low," she said.
"A lot of that has to do with sponsorship and money. But the Outdoor Industry Association released a study this summer at the Outdoor Retailer convention in Salt Lake City that women’s participation in outdoor recreation overall is 50 percent."
That is reflected in the film, Smallwood said.
"This film was made to say that not only are women getting out there in numbers, but also out there in quality and total drive as well," she said.
Regardless of Dyer’s vision, making the film was a daunting and sometimes flabbergasting task.
"Every time when she thought it couldn’t get more difficult, it did," Smallwood said.
One reason was none of the filmmakers involved had ever made their own ski movie. The other was dealing with the business side of the project.
"Not only is this a ski movie, but it’s a crowd-sourced ski movie and the backers and investors are made up of the public," Smallwood said. "They donated between $5 and $500 and had expectations of what the film would be. So there was quite a bit of pressure to deliver.
"Linsey discovered quickly what her strengths and weaknesses were, and I saw her go through quite a bit of grief in the past year as she undertook the project and to see it through," Smallwood said.
"Pretty Faces" is technically still under-funded.
"We started with a goal on Kickstarter.com to raise $60,000 and ended up raising $113,000," Smallwood said. "But to put things in perspective, the music rights alone cost a lot of money and the post production and distribution costs are high."
In addition, the film required multiple film crews.
"Also, all of the athletes financially invested to make the film happen by paying their own travel expenses," Smallwood said. "Videographers also donated their footage, but we had to hire editors to tie it all together."
The total budget will end up being around $200,000, according to Smallwood.
"Lindsey is going to recoup those costs by licensing and DVD sales," she said. "Also, the screenings serve as fundraisers as well."
Regardless of the challenges, Dyer pressed on and the result, not just the film itself, but the audiences’ reactions, have been worth the hardships.
"At every film stop we have seen women of all ages and backgrounds and men attend the screenings," Smallwood said. "Having little girls to come up to say they want to be like us or to talking with moms who come up to tell us they haven’t skied in quite a while, but are going to get back out there is amazing. You really can’t put that in any sort of value."
The Park City Film Series will host two screenings of Unicorn Picnic Production’s "Pretty Faces," a documentary about women winter-sports athletes, at the Prospector Theater, 2175 Sidewinder Dr., at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. In addition, Men4Ed, a newly formed branch of the Park City Education Foundation created by men, will give out free tickets to the screening to girls ages 18 and younger at the door. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.org.
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