We realize the absurdity of running a ski movie just a week before the summer solstice. But hey, in South America it's winter right now, and given the drought conditions and extreme heat we've been baked with, thoughts of snow may be just what the doctor ordered.
Sweetgrass Productions, fresh off the release of Solitaire in the fall of 2011, have pushed out a short ski film in tandem with Felt Soul Media (both Colorado companies). Titled Unicorn Sashimi, the 5 minute 30 second piece edges toward abstraction: there are no words and no discernible plot. Yet the rhythmic music and beautiful cinematography combine for a nice (cool) breather.
The team explains on Vimeo: "Felt Soul Media teamed up with Nick Waggoner and Yuki Miyazaki of Sweetgrass Productions in January 2012 to hunt the mythical Hokkaido Unicorn. The creature proved difficult to capture on film, so we just decided to do a little skiing."
WATCH Unicorn Sashimi, above. WATCH shorts from the production of Solitaire, below.
Episode 1: Teaser
"Introduces Solitaire and some of the landscapes the crew encountered in their first season of filming in the snowbound badlands of the Southern Hemisphere."
Episode 2: Huaraz
"En route to the 20,000 foot peaks of Peru, the crew lands in Huaraz, and a new film is born in the chaos of textures, sounds, smells, and people."
Episode 3: The Raptor
"After the chaos of Haraz, the crew escapes the city with plans to paraglide over the glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca with cameras in hand. At 18,000 feet, it's never simple."
Episode 4: Low Tide
"The Sweetgrass family lands in Las Lenas, Argentina, for several weeks of fending off women, beef, and various strains of the common cold in hopes of actually making some turns on snow."
Episode 5: Solitaire Trailer
"In the high desert of South America, winter takes hold, devouring bleached bones and abandoned shacks. Into these most inhospitable of lands, a handful of drifters emerge from the whiteout, ready to cast their lot on forsaken peaks both merciless and magnificent. Venturing beyond the frontiers of most mountain films, Solitaire is backcountry skiing forged in the tradition of Western cinema. Born in the spires of Argentina's legendary Las Lenas, a lonely two-year journey begins through an abandoned world, wandering the length of a continent from Peru's Cordillera Blanca to Chilean Patagonia. Lost in the winds of snowbound badlands and the blizzards of primordial forests; seen from a horse's saddle and a paraglider's wings; ridden on ski and board and telemark... Solitaire fuses western-inspired tales of backcountry gambles into landscapes never before visited on film."
"From the orange and gold of fall to the pink cherry blossoms of spring, Signatures follows an entire winter deep in the hardwoods of Hokkaido, Japan. Deliciously deep January blower to April corn, we bring you a film about expression and the art of riding on snow. Every turn has a personality, and every personality has its own unique style: the air, the smear, the spin, the grab, the laid-out cutback carve. Shot in HD, Signatures is 100% human powered riding in all snow-sliding styles: board, noboard, ski, and drop-knee."
Hand Cut Trailer
"From the hand-fired railroad days in Revelstoke to the miners of Colorado's San Juan Mountains, Hand Cut blends old-timer wisdom with self-propelled, big mountain lines from Alaska, British Columbia, and Colorado. The Hand Cut release includes endless pillow lines in the BC interior; exposed descents in the Coast Range with ski mountaineering legend John Chilton; brilliantly shot inverts over the old wood mines on Red Mountain Pass, Colorado; and the original deep-country blues of John-Alex Mason. Hand Cut: self-propelled stories brought to life in High Definition and brilliant 16mm film."
Desert River (Short)
"Every spring in Haines, Alaska, a river bulges and rages towards the sea, fed by the thawing of a massive mountain snowpack. These same mountains fuel the hunger of those willing to test their skills against the desolate white beauty of Alaska's high desert-- giving life to river and skier alike."