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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of October 22 - 28, 2003


Young ski film maker stops in Ketchum

Rage Films releases
"The Junk Show Diaries"

"I’ve found a way to blend my professional love with my athletic hobbies and passions. To me it’s not a job. It’s like, ‘Sweet, I get to go to work."

SKY PINNICK, Owner, Rage Films

Express Staff Writer

According to his business card, Sky Pinnick is a visual stimulation engineer.

What it doesn’t say is that he is a young, talented, up-and-coming ski film producer, which he is.

At 25, Pinnick is one of the youngest producers in the ski flick business. With a second ski movie under his belt and several big sponsors knocking on his door, things are only looking up for the young man from Bend, Ore.

Last week, Pinnick’s company, Rage Films, aired a local showing of his second film, "The Junk Show Diaries," at the Ski Time Cinema in Ketchum. The show, part of a month-long, West-wide tour, wasn’t sold out but had fair attendance for a company only working on its second film.

The movie consisted of an exciting hour of skiing footage, with a surprising number of big name skiers for such a fledgling operation. Tanner Hall, Dean Cummings, Heath Ordway, Gordy Peifer, Darian Boyle, Jonny Mosely and others tore up powder fields, terrain parks and backcountry kickers in locations ranging from the Alps to North American ski areas.

For Pinnick, it’s a labor of love.

"I grew up skiing. It’s one of those sports I’m passionate about," he said at the Ski Time following the local showing. "I’ve found a way to blend my professional love with my athletic hobbies and passions. To me it’s not a job. It’s like, ‘Sweet, I get to go to work.’"

For the relative newcomer to the ski film business, the competition could be intimidating. Big names like Jackson, Wyo., based Teton Gravity Research, Crested Butte, Colo., based Matchstick Productions and California-based Poor Boyz Productions dominate the business.

And the granddaddy of all ski film companies, Warren Miller Entertainment, still produces a film each fall, though Pinnick said his primary competition are among the aforementioned companies.

That’s not to say, however, that he hasn’t been influenced by his predecessors, Warren Miller and Greg Stump, who together practically monopolized the ski movie business throughout the 1980s and much of the 1990s.

"I think they did really have an impact on me," Pinnick said. "It wasn’t, ‘Oh, I want to go make ski movies.’ I was inspired by them, but at the same time, it’s not direct inspiration."

The making of ski movies, however, wasn’t necessarily about skiing for Pinnick. The business grew out of a love for filmmaking, as it did for Warren Miller.

Pinnick founded Rage Films at the age of 16, when he made his first short film, called "21," which chronicled a group of underage kids trying to buy beer. When the film was accepted to some small festivals, Pinnick was inspired enough to continue.

He first filmed skiing on Oregon’s Mount Bachelor, where he took his dad’s Handycam and filmed his buddies shredding the hill. He eventually went to the Art Institute of Seattle to continue studying filmmaking.

By 2001, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Pinnick was ready for a change of pace from a dot-com he founded in Toronto. He was moving from the East Coast back to Oregon, when he stopped in Salt Lake City to visit his brother.

"Ten days turned into 10 months and a ski movie," he said.

Rage Films released "Kinetic" in the fall of 2002 and very quickly picked up a handful of sponsors, including Head, DNA and Deschutes Brewing Co.

"Basically, I was trying to prove to myself and my sponsors that I could apply my traditional film background to skiing and the hill," he said. "Because of ‘Kinetic,’ I got the sponsors I have today."

In the heavily formula-oriented world of ski movies, Pinnick believes he is set apart because of his attention to detail, including editing and visual aesthetics.

"We spend a lot of time putting everything to the beat and making everything gel," he said. "We spend a ton of time in the editing room."

What’s more, "The Junk Show Diaries" does an excellent job of illustrating the consequences of high-end skiing. Ski accidents are portrayed as more than bloopers. One segment features freeskier Darian Boyle, who suffered a catastrophic ski accident while filming. She is interviewed from her hospital bed and, separately, while wearing head gear designed to help her broken neck heal.

"There’s a lot that goes into it," Pinnick said. "These people are professional skiers for a reason. They put their bodies to the test."

This winter, Pinnick and his film crews are hitting the slopes again, and, with 18 sponsors, including Ketchum-based Smith Sport Optics, Rage Films’ budget and staff is increasing as creative restrictions are peeled back.

As for next year’s film, Pinnick shrugged, "We’re doing it all over again. Only it’s going to be bigger and better."



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