The Absinthe Films crew found quality snow tougher to come by last year, an ultimately triumphant struggle highlighted in the title of their upcoming snowboarding film Heavy Mental. BC-based director Justin Hostynek showcases the best of an enviable roster of sterling riders including Bode Merrill, Victor De Le Rue, Jason Robinson, and Manuel Diaz. Filmed in part at Eagle Pass Heliskiing‘s seriously mental Monashees terrain, every line will have you gasping.
And here’s a recent GrindTV interview with Absinthe supremo Patrick Armbruster:
How is Heavy Mental different from the first movie you put out?
We started out in the late ’90s just to give the European riders a platform. At the time all the films were all coming out of the U.S. and back then the movies were more and more important as that’s where the progression was coming from. We saw the potential of the riders we had—guys like Romain de Marchi, Nicolas Müller, Wolle Nyvelt, Gigi Rüf, and Steve Gruber. So that was the creative spark and motivation to start a film production company.
When did you start to use non-Euro riders?
When our first film came out in 2000, it was entirely European riders. Then in 2001 we added our first American rider, a young Travis Rice riding in Mammoth [California]. From there we slowly started to add riders from all over the world. The idea has remained the same: to show the young and hungry riders performing the most progressive and clean snowboarding in the best terrain.
What’s the signature look to an Absinthe film?
Justin Hostynek has been the driving force on the filming and editing side and always had the last say in the music, which makes sense being the editor, and he has a great taste for picking the right tunes. He only shoots 16 mm film, so that also adds to the unique signature and feeling to our films. I look back on our films and I think they have stood the test of time. You can dig out most of them and enjoy it to this day, and I think they are still relevant because of that quality.
Did you ever think you would come this far in snowboarding?
No way. I mean, I was the biggest fan of snowboarding, and I had a sh*#$y job, and I used to lug snowboarding magazines in to work every day. So back then not in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would have a say in the direction or even be driving force in the way we see snowboarding.
And what’s next?
We have started working on a signature movie with Nicholas Müller that I am in producing. I am heading to Chile next week to film and hook up with Manuel Diaz. That will be the biggest project we have ever worked on. It is a movie that will encompass the history of snowboarding and will follow Nicholas’ career and timeline and touch on some of the key moments in snowboarding and the idols who inspired him. So that’s a movie with real beef. Hopefully in one year’s time we will be able to present to the world [adopts comic Hollywood trailer voice] “The greatest snowboarding movie of all time.”
Check out these highlights from last year’s DOPAMINE, including some memorable carnage: