Film urges the public to ‘Choose Your Adventure’
Noah Howell has been a filmmaker, producer, videographer, editor and distributor for Powderwhore Productions for eight years.
Howell founded the company with his brother Jonah, and a group of friends to promote the sport of telemark skiing.
"We were all doing that at the time and there wasn’t a lot of the sport being captured on film," Howell said during an interview with The Park Record. "Our goal was to show the world what was possible on telemark gear."
Telemark skiing is also known as free-heel skiing, where the athletes’ bindings only secure the toes.
Throughout the years, Powderwhore Productions has released eight films, the latest, "Choose Your Adventure," is currently on a screening tour and will be presented in Park City on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jim Santy Auditorium.
The film’s focus is different than the previous projects, Howell said.
"Telemark skiing is not as prevalent in the back country, where we have started to do our filming," he said. "So, we’ve shifted our focus to mainly back-country winter sports over the years.
"That means we cover all sorts of alpine touring, snow boarding and skiing, so we’re not just telemark-specific," he said.
Also, "Choose Your Adventure" wasn’t just shot in the usual areas Utah’s Wasatch Range, the Western United States and Canada.
"What makes this film special is the fact we had a very bad and dry winter last year, so we had to get creative in how we got footage and where we got footage," Howell said. "We also had to focus on telling more stories than just filming ski porn."
The film’s scenes take place in Alaska, the Antarctic Peninsula, British Columbia, Chile, France and Norway, and followed a dozen athletes including Forest Coots, Chris Davenport, Andrew McLean, Hugo Harrison, Bob Athey, Todd Stuart, P.Y. Leblanc and Darrell Finlayson.
"It was a fun new challenge for us, because we were kind of tired of doing the same old thing," Howell said. "It was scary at first doing character pieces, but after a while, we started to enjoy it.
"I mean, it’s easy to throw music and ski footage together, but what is not easy is to tell someone’s story," he said. "However, we found some great locations and actually purchased additional footage from some people who skied in British Columbia and we had some friends who went to Chile and edited those scenes, and we went to a little mining town as well. So, the film is more like a skiing adventure."
One of the highlights for Howell was traveling to Antarctica.
"That’s how we kicked the season off," he said. "It was a great experience down there."
The enjoyment aside, Howell said one of the major misconceptions of making Powderwhore films is working with limited resources.
"Most people think it’s all fun going to places, skiing and making movies, but they don’t realize how small the budget is," he said. "We do things differently than other film companies. We kind of film guerilla style and normally shoot everything ourselves.
"Another thing people don’t realize is how much time we put into each shot," Howell said. "The trip to Antarctica took nine days and I edited the footage into a 7 ½-minute segment."
The Park City screening event of "Choose Your Adventure" is also a fundraiser for the Utah Avalanche Center, a nonprofit collaborative organization between the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center and the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.
"The grand prize will be a choice between a splitboard or skis," Howell said. "We’ll also have some smaller items, and the money used to purchase the tickets will be given back the organization," Howell said. "We try to link up with the local avalanche center or a nonprofit in each town where we screen our films.
"Last year, we raised more than $30,000," he said. "It’s important for us to tap into the community and access our audiences through them. Also, when people see the films, they are inspired to go and try them, so we need to educate them about how to do these activities safely."
Powderwhore Productions will screen its new film "Choose Your Adventure," not rated on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library and Education Center, 1255 Park Ave. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/275041.
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