Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Make a ‘CLAIM’

Ski film dares to bore

Express Staff Writer

James Heim skis deep powder for his Matchstick Productions performance in "CLAIM." Photo by Blake Jorgenson

Even if the world is falling apart, those of us who live in the Wood River Valley can still be excited about winter. The preparations for ski and snowboard season are under way and this year Matchstick Productions' release of "CLAIM" is part of the conditioning.

"CLAIM" will screen at the Sun Valley Opera House for two showings at 7 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $15 at the door.

Matchstick Productions' 20th film, "CLAIM" highlights the talent of 15-year-old Sean Pettit, Alaska descents and speed flying in Chamonix, France. It also breaks down the "cool" factor of snow sports and shows a more human side.

"We think that skiing is supposed to be about fun and not about attitude," said MatchStick Productions founder and producer Steve Winter. "We thought the best way to prove this was to poke fun at ourselves."

The film includes several longtime Matchstick Productions all-star athletes as well as a few newcomers. "CLAIM" features the talent of Mark Abma, Ingrid Backstrom, Rory Bushfield, Chris Davenport, Simon Dumont, Stian Hagen, Hugo Harrisson, James Heim, Eric Hjorleifson, PK Hunder, CR Johnson, Shane McConkey, Sean Pettit, Chris Rubens, TJ Schiller, Colby West and Jacob Wester.

"We continue to show the 'stoke' of the sport and use new and innovative approaches to film making," Winter said. "Young athletes want to see the progression of the sport. This year we were fortunate to shoot the most progressive athletes in the world, including PK Hunder, Sean Pettit and Jacob Wester."

"CLAIM" is shot in high definition in Whistler, Courmayer, Valdez, Aspen, Chatter Creek, and additional destinations worldwide. The film's inclusion of the new winter extreme sport of speed flying was made possible by a state-of-the-art, high-definition, helicopter-mounted camera.

"Speed flying is something that has not been filmed by Matchstick Productions," Winter said. "It is literally a synthesis of paragliding and skiing where skiers skip down sheer mountain faces with the aid of a small paraglider."

Even though times might be tough, Winter said the passionate skiers find ways to make it affordable.

"Whether it is living in a ski town to gain a pass or saving over the summer to live in a ski community, they make it work," Winter said. "These are the die-hard fans that we look to reach and who continually get excited for the winter and our films."

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