No strangers to the action sports scene, photographer Stan Evans and videographer Jeremy Miller joined forces to create a film that focuses on the women that are changing the ski scene every chance they get. "Say My Name" premiered at the 2011 X-Dance Action Sport Film Festival, and the directors took the time to answer some burning questions about their latest venture.
SLUG: What kind of film/photography background do you come from?
Stan Evans: I took up photography in High school (in Alaska), started shooting my friends on the hill and then went on to study it in College at Montana State University. It just seemed like natural thing to do.
Jeremy Miller: I got my degree in Film Studies from the University of Utah. I set my goals super high and worked real hard to get to where I am today.
SLUG: How did the idea of Say My Name come to fruition? Did Grete approach you?
Evans: Last year Jeremy and I did STANCE. Grete would tag along on some of those shoots and she started racking up shots. She is an amazing talented skier and at a certain point we figured it would be a good idea to develop her own project
SLUG: What was your initial reaction to the idea of an all female ski movie, and how did your perception change over the course of making the film?
Evans: Common misconception is that we were doing an all female ski movie. It was a movie on Grete and her personality. Obviously she had friends come and film along the way. Our approach was to give an in depth view of Grete’s journeys over the past few years.
Miller: Well I was like it can’t be that much different then STANCE —my previous years film that was all female snowboarding film. No, my perception did not change to much it was difficult at times, but every film has touch and go moments.
SLUG: In the preliminary stages of the film, what challenges did you and the team face?
Evans: Budgets and mainly apprehension to the unknown. It’s really hard to describe to sponsors something that hasn’t been done before. Would Grete be able to pull off enough footage? Would she be able to go 31 feet in the air? Would she get injured? Jeremy and I put a lot of faith in Grete and she put a lot of faith in us.
SLUG: Which challenges were the most difficult to overcome?
Evans: Schedules and weather. Grete has a lot of obligations to contests and last winter had variable conditions also being mindful of a tight budget we had to be really careful of what we did and how we did it.
SLUG: The team of females includes a slew of big names, including Lynsey Dyer, Sarah Burke, Keri Herman and Kaya Turski to mention a few, how did they all work together to help create the best film possible?
Evans: Grete actually made a list of people she wanted to work with and we just contacted them and explained what we were doing. Most were pretty excited and some really surprised me. Kaya Turski and Keri Herman were probably my favorite to work with just because they are just fun to be around.
SLUG: Can you explain the dynamic that exists between producer/director/and athlete in the making of the film?
Evans: I think a lot needs to go into spending time with the athlete to really see what they are about. Then try to capture it on film. Also we had the goal of wanting to make the story accessible and entertaining to a variety of people. From moms to park kids. I also feel that Grete is a very diverse skier so finding the right terrain to emphasize that is a pretty big challenge. I ask a lot of questions. About what she wants to ski and what she wants to show in her life and then we go about trying to put that in the best light.
Miller: One common goal, many different opinions, ideas and challenges. At the end of the day everyone wants to make a great project.
SLUG: What was your favorite location?
Evans: Jackson Hole and Utah. I was pretty stoked on the Canyons hip feature. That was such a massive amount of snow it was nice to see a jump of that magnitude in my back yard per se.
Miller: Backcountry Utah
SLUG: Where was the coldest location?
Evans: Jackson is cold, but worth it.
SLUG: Describe what it is like to be up in the heli filming these chicks ripping some of the biggest lines out there.
Evans: Actually Red Bull was kind enough to send footage along from the Cold Rush contest, but much of the stuff you see is from snowmobiles. You’d be surprised where you can get on those things. I love helicopters though.
Miller: Probably ‘Epic’ is the best word to describe that situation.
SLUG: Who is the most intimidating athlete and why?
Evans: Probably Sarah Burke or Kaya Turski, not so much because they are intimidating but l really didn’t know them before the project. Both are really busy and didn’t really know what to expect from the project so to get them involved was nice.
SLUG: Which up and coming athletes from the film should we watch out for in coming seasons?
Evans: Kaya Turski seems really motivated, She has really good style and I can appreciate a person who has over come a lot of adversity and injuries to come out stronger than before.
Miller: Hermanator is pretty sick.
SLUG: Looking at the big picture, what was this film trying to achieve?
Evans: I really believe that it is up to the viewer - how they interpret the film. It’s funny because people seem to think we had this big agenda but really we just wanted to give a glimpse into Grete’s life and what it’s like to live her life as professional skier. It’s a film about a person following her passions.
Miller: Pushing the boundaries for non-endemic female ski films.
SLUG: Did the film meet that goal?
Evans: I hope it inspired people to live a little more. Break out of the routine and try something new.
SLUG: How have audiences reacted to the film so far?
Evans: People seem genuinely enthused and entertained. It’s nice when people come out of the film with a smile on their faces. Seeing it in a theater definitely changes the experience.
SLUG: Where do you see the sport in 5 years?
Evans: Here - http://vimeo.com/18346645
Miller: Skiers will be doing stunts that only space creatures currently know about.
SLUG: As a filmer/photographer, how do you help the progression of the sport?
Evans: I try to document well, display things in a concise manner that are appealing to the eye. I’m always looking of new ways to show things and right now technology is out of control.
Miller: As a Cinematographer I feel it is my responsibility to capture whatever I might be filming in the most artistic and creative way possible.
SLUG: What projects do you have on the burner for next year?
Evans: Explore, Live, Love, Learn – repeat.
Miller: ELEVATE a motorcycle film also premiering at X-DANCE 2011