Chasing snow has taken locally-bred Andre Nutini and David Peacock across four continents and back to where their passion all started.
The filmmakers are ready to share their two-year project “PASSENGER” with a hometown crowd next Thursday at the Royal Theatre in Trail.
“It’s quite a relief,” said Nutini when the Trail Times caught up with him Wednesday. The 26-year-old is back home visiting his parents for a few weeks in Warfield before heading out on his next adventure.
“The response to it has been quite good, and it’s a pretty crazy feeling after putting everything you have into over 700 days in a row,” he added. “A project of this kind consumes you and your everyday life, so now that it’s done it’s nice to be able to take a step back and relax and not be stressed about it.”
The free-ski film “PASSENGER” aims to reveal the endless spectrum of emotions and experiences each location (Canada, Alaska, Europe, Japan and New Zealand) offers through the goggles of professional athletes tackling big pow, steep terrain and all the elements discovered along the way.
With help from Old Man Winter himself, narrated by Rossland’s Rob Sulman, the story weaves through the twists and turns of a ski season, shedding light on how it feels to be a constant passenger.
The journey brought the friends to bottomless powder in Japan, and steep conditions in Alaska, where the “snow manages to stick to faces it would never stick to anywhere else in the world” and conditions are “proving grounds for a lot of skiers.”
The pair went up to the Alps, where snow conditions were “funny” above the treeline and “you can have the day of your life, but those days are a bit further in between than they are here in British Columbia.”
A snow trail wouldn’t be complete without a trip home to Canada, where the filmmakers captured footage in Revelstoke and had fun with street skiing in Edmonton. But the trip didn’t stop there.
“When the spring comes, and you think it’s over, we go to New Zealand to show that you can always find a bit of winter if you’re looking hard enough,” said Nutini.
The world premiere debuted in Montreal at iF3 film festival in September, but Nutini and Peacock always intended to showcase it at home.
They filmed, produced and co-directed the entry, which won best single shot, best editing and best crash at the ski film fest. The project would not have been possible without support from co-producers Legs of Steel and Red Bull Media House.
“I think the goal of the movie was to have it seamlessly flow from the beginning to the end,” said Nutini. “We wanted the viewer to get immersed in the film and forget about everything for an hour and just get excited about skiing.”
While his dream job often feels like more fun than work at times, it’s not easy capturing the rawness of skiing.
“It’s cold,” laughed Nutini. For the snow to really have that “wow effect” 20 centimetres isn’t going to cut it and often weather from the day before can even determine filming conditions.
Equipping skiers with GoPros to capture big mountain lines, the two tackle other perspectives with cinematic cameras and drones.
“You’re always battling,” he added. “The weather is such a force to deal with.”
Nutini started making films at Rossland Secondary School, first taking to the trails to capture mountain biking before creating his first ski film.
The 2007 graduate went onto to study digital arts and new media at Selkirk College, which gave him a base to further learn on his own and find his style.
His career path became defined with ‘Life Cycles,’ his first professional piece that documented the story of the bike from creation to its eventual demise.
Nutini has worked with Legs of Steel for about five years and now Peacock is finding steady employment with the German ski film company, too.
Peacock, a Rossland born and raised, offers another talent during the editing process. The English major also in his mid-20s further conveys the visuals by writing the back story that is often shared through narration.
Their work involves a lot of travel, but the pair never loses sight of where they’re from.
“It’s pretty exciting to come back after being away for so long and show it in front of friends and family and also people I don’t know, who aren’t aware of the project or aware that I’m from here,” said Nutini. “I’ve pretty much been skiing everywhere but skiing back home is still probably my favourite.”
Royal Theatre owner Lisa Milne has watched Nutini’s work grow over the years, first discovering his talent during the U19 Film Festival that was hosted at the theatre for some years. She considers ski movies part of the culture in the Kootenays and that reason paired with the opportunity to support a young person, made the film an easy fit for the Trail theatre.
“We are definitely committed to supporting local whenever we can,” she said. “Whether it’s ensuring a local film gets on the screen, partnering with non-profits to host a movie by donation or participating in events throughout the area.”
Proceeds from the licensed, all-aged event will go to the Trail and District Arts Council.
“By working together in our community we hope to have a vibrant and energized arts/culture scene,” she added. “We want to increase people’s awareness of our area, and hopefully they will look us up as something to do.”
The public is invited to experience a two-year labour of love in 65 minutes on the big screen. The film will have its hometown debut next Thursday (Nov. 5) at the Royal Theatre in Trail at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m