Published in Whitelines Magazine Issue 95, February 2011
RESPECT YOUR ELDERS 4.5*
Resourceful Gnome Productions
Travis Parker is a legend. An integral part of the early-noughties Robot food crew, he helped change the way snowboard films were made, breaking down the traditional banger after banger format to include stupid tricks and piss-about sections. Whether he was wearing a fat-suit, starting the mini-shred craze or riding a bizarre Bikecar across America, he always looked like he was having a good time. After a couple of years away from snowboarding, Travis is back this year with the first film from his new outfit Resourceful Gnome Productions.
WHO’S IN IT?
Travis Parker, Josh Dirksen, Ben Lynch, Nick Dirks, Brandon Cocard, Jed Anderson, Jizz Anderson, Temple Cummins, Mike Basich.
Respect Your Elders is divided up into spot sections rather than rider parts. So Tahoe, Alaska and the section in Mount Baker are standouts. In terms of riding, Brandon Cocard kills it, and watching the ‘elders’ Parker and Temple Cummins ride is always a pleasure.
Travis, Josh Dirksen and the younger Airblaster riders spent a lot of time trekking across the states last winter, hooking up with Travis’ old mates and shredding big-name spots. But while Respect Your Elders borrows a bit from the travel documentary style of Travis’ Bikecar, this is definitely a snowboard flick. Despite the way the sections are divided up, it’s pleasingly action heavy. What makes it different to most films is the kind of action these guys choose to include. OK so there is a front ten in AK from Brandon Cocard, but mostly this is about comedy shredding and beautiful mellow pow slashes. It starts with POV shots of the crew riding through trees. Not the gnarliest opener, but it hooks you in more effectively than any tech rail combo ever could. As they rip down mellow slopes, covering their grinning faces in spray, you know exactly how they feel. The whole film carries the viewer along in a similar way, so that as the riders travel from place to place you almost feel like you’re part of their crew. The single camera shooting style, combined with lots of POV footage, helps, giving it a charming, home-made feel. Their love of folksy hillbilly music only adds to the impression. You get a sense of their cabin-fever as they drive up to AK, you see their elation when they blag spots on a heli, and you feel like you’re in on all the jokes – like when they substitute the injured Jed Anderson’s section by following a random Japanese punter named Jizz Anderson. What the Resourceful Gnomes are going for here is showing the shred as ordinary people might experience it. Low budget, light hearted fun, of the kind that Travis specialises in. If you want the latest in insane, boundary-pushing snowboarding, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a film to fuel your stoke, there are few better than this.
EUROGAP 3 4*
Eurogap started out as a side-project for Joni Malmi and Paavo Tikkanen– a way to document the bits of the year and the bangers that didn’t make it into their main video parts. Eurogap 1 and 2 were really all about the crew and their mates messing about. But since their mates were Devun Walsh, Bjorn Leines, Ingemar Backman and Sebu Kuhlberg, the action was still pretty insane, and the films went down well. So when Malmi and director Jaakko Itaaho (who’d come fresh from working on the Burton movie) decided that they wanted to make a Scandinavian flick on their own terms, it made sense to resurrect the Eurogap name.
WHO’S IN IT?
Eero Ettala, Joni Malmi, Heikki Sorsa, Niki Korpela, Fredu Sirvio, Hampus Mosseson, Markku Koski, Lauri Heiskari, Iikka Backstrom and Jussi Oksanen.
Heikki Sorsa’s opener is a perfect mix of urban gnar and sick kicker skills. Niki Korpela stakes his claim to be the future of Finnish snowboarding, and Eero Ettala’s ender is easily one of the parts of the year.
Eurogap 3 explodes onto your screen in a blaze of neon. Cheesy house (of the kind you might expect from a movie with that title) blasts out as a POV filmer gets the whole crew pissed in a bar, introducing them all in turn. It’s a nice idea, well-executed – the cuts are fast, and the shots are spot-on. This kind of slick, sharp feel runs through the whole of the film. Jaakko Itaaho, it turns out, is a man who makes his living primarily by shooting arty adverts and music films. And although this is not a big-budget movie by any means (there’s no heli-cams here) Jaakko and his friend Rasmus (veteran of the Storbis movies) manage to create an incredibly good-looking video. It helps of course that the riding is next-level. Heikki Sorsa opens things up with a bang, showing that he lost none of his skills when he lost his sponsors – I’m sure execs at Burton will be kicking themselves for dropping him when they see this. Markku Koski and Joni Malmi put in solid parts, as does tight-trousered jibber Fredu Sirvio. There’s a nice cameo from the American expatriate crew of Iikka Backstrom, Lauri Heiskariand Jussi Oksanen too, set to the Petshop Boys’ Go West. But it’s Niki Korpelaand Eero Ettala who really set the pace in this small group of Scandis. Helsinki’s rail gardens provide the perfect playground for Niki to show off his super-tech skills. His front three gap to front board on the famous ‘Malmi Ledge’ is simply insane. Eero Ettala goes one better, giving us an unparalleled master class in urban riding, before throwing in a bit of Japanese pow. Just because he can. Eurogap 3 definitely looks more professional than the previous films of the same name, but the obvious tightness of the crew, and their refusal to take themselves too seriously, means the series hasn’t lost its soul. More please!