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10-03-2008, 09:59 PM #1
Ski Movie: Hand Cut. Anyone catch this?
Sounds like a good alternative to the usual.
Two things turn the local mind to thoughts of skiing better than anyother.
Photo by RYAN CREARY/Sweetgrass Productions
Winter comes early in this scene from "Hand Cut," a ski film showing in Durango at the Abbey Theater on Wednesday.
The first is a glimpse of the first autumn snow up on the mountainsides north of town. But with our shorts-and-sandals weather this fall, that sight may have to wait.
The other is a good ski movie down at the Abby Theater. And that will happen next week.
Director Nick Waggoner of Colorado-based Sweetgrass Productions will be in town with his brand-new "Hand Cut," and he's promising a different kind of ski film. Powder junkies will definitely get their preseason fix, but there's more to "Hand Cut" than gorgeous ski footage. This is a film that celebrates not just skiing, but history as well.
"We try to step back from the athlete-oriented style, because there's so much more to these (mountain) towns, their history and their people," said Wagonner, who made the film in Alaska, British Columbia and Colorado in a high-definition, 16mm format. "We wanted to draw the connection between frontier and recreation. You definitely won't see the shot of a helicopter or the guy pouring beer down his face."
Since its world premier in Aspen on Sept. 12, Wagonner said the big crowds and positive response have been constant.
"We had 400 people at the Wheeler Opera House for the premier," he said, speaking of a tour that has taken the film to seven Colorado cities so far in addition to Aspen. "We had 75 people crammed into a small coffee shop in Leadville. Everywhere we've been, the response has been really, really good."
And not just to the skiing. History buffs take note: "Hand Cut" also features a look back at the history of the Revelstoke region of British Columbia, and at the mining heritage of the San Juans right here at home. Making that link between the old and the new are stories from 92-year-old Joe Todeschi, a Silverton native and former miner.
Wagonner began filming for the movie in January, and wrapped up at the start of summer in the San Juans.
"We were in Silverton with Joe on June 20," he said. "And we worked up on Ophir Pass, and at Cinnamon Pass."
He then spent his entire summer at the computer editing.
"I had intentions of working for a month and then getting a side gig, but it became apparent in August that making this film was a full-time gig," he said.
And, like the uphill grinds the featured skiers in "Hand Cut" put in before taking those long, downhill glides - check out Danny Brown's 3,000-foot bootpack up "The Python" near Valdez, Alaska, for example - a labor of love.
"I can't tell you how many times I worked until four in the morning," Wagonner said. "But I think it shows. This isn't ski porn. The quality is very good."
Hand Cut will show only once in Durango, on Wednesday at the Abbey. Tickets are $10 at the door, which will open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. showing.
Waggoner will be on hand to discuss the film and answer questions before the show. For a preview, visit www.sweetgrass-productions.com.Skiing, where my mind is even if my body isn't.