The filmmaker: A push to broaden the reach of ‘ski porn’ (The Daily Climate)

Mossop-sherpas

Nov. 7, 2011

David Mossop and Sherpas Cinemas are transforming ski flicks, turning the usual plot-less, context-less jumble of skiing images into a message about environmental destruction, mass consumption and climate change.

Interview conducted and condensed by Rae Tyson

The Daily Climate

A critically acclaimed film combining action, free-style skiing and a climate impact message debuted this fall. Representing the leading edge of a new wave of ski films, All.I.Can juxtaposes “ski-porn” – plot-less montages of expert skiers flying down and off impossibly steep mountainsides – against images of environmental destruction and mass consumption. Reviewers say the movie, available on DVD and to be released on iTunes on Nov. 14, could change the genre permanently.

With enough creativity, ski films have the capacity to address almost any topic. – David Mossop

British Columbia cinematographers Eric Crossland and Dave Mossop filmed the movie in Chile, Canada, Morocco, Greenland and Alaska. ESPN’s Jamey Voss calls it “the best movie in skiing.” Dave Mossop has been doing ski films and photography for years. This is his first attempt at a film with a strong social message.

Your film company, Sherpas Cinema, has said “the time has come for a ski film that stands for something.” Explain the inspiration for All.I.Can.

The classic ski-porn formula works brilliantly and will always have its place. But skiing is about so much more than just porn. The mountains bring us every emotion in the book. With enough creativity, ski films have the capacity to address almost any topic.

All.I.Can. Official Teaser from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.

Has this film altered your view about your ability to affect change? 

This project has really opened my eyes to what is possible, and now it almost feels like our duty to see how far that envelope can be pushed.

What convinced you to focus on climate change?

The root of All.I.Can is the relationship between mountain people and nature. Skiers are more reliant on weather and climate than almost any other subculture. A well-crafted film has the potential to act as a trigger: If mountain culture doesn’t stand up, who will?

You traveled around the world to shoot this film. Did you see evidence of the impact of climate change in any of the locations you visited?

A big part of the climate problem is that it is too slow for us humans to perceive. But, at almost every location we went, we would hear stories from the elders indicating a warming trend.

Such as?

The Inuit of Greenland talked about the more challenging hunting conditions due to ice breakup. Bud Stoll and Mary Woodward, two of the older skiers in our film, reminisced about the deep winters the Kootenays when they were youngsters. The Chilean gauchos and Moroccan porters recalled stories of colder snowier winters.

Unchecked, do you believe that climate change might impact skiing – and other winter sports?

I know as little about climate change as everyone else. But it isn’t hard to sense that the human race is running an unsustainable program.

The reviews so far have been impressive. ESPN, for example, called All.I.Can “a wake-up call in many ways.”

We are totally overwhelmed by the response. The world was ready for this kind of cinematic discussion and the idea is striking a chord with skiers and non-skiers alike.

Mossop-volcanoSome question the carbon neutrality of this project. You flew all over the globe and used fuel-guzzling helicopters. How would you respond to that?

We feel that the extra resources used in the film production are far overshadowed by the potential energy of All.I.Can. A truly beautiful film can inspire the whole world and influence countless human decisions in the future.

How did you offset the impact?

We worked with Native Energy to offset the project using carbon credits. They use the money to either counter our carbon emissions directly or invest in future innovations that build toward a sustainable future.

Any plans for future projects with an environmental theme?

I expect an environmental theme will become an undertone in all our future projects, but currently we have no locked plans.

Photos courtesy Sherpas Cinema.

Rae Tyson pioneered the environmental beat at USA Today in the 1980s and today restores and races vintage motorcycles in central Pennsylvania. Climate Query is a semi-weekly feature offered by DailyClimate.org, a nonprofit news service that covers climate change.

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