Nike iF3 kicks off in Montreal with The North Face Outdoor Movie Screening

Comments by Henrik Lampert/

The sixth annual iF3 film festival kicked off in Montreal last night, with the first round of film screenings and parties—more of which are to follow over the course of the next three days. The Nike iF3 2012, as it’s officially known, brings together skiing’s greatest fans, biggest athletes, filmmakers, artists and industry personalities to celebrate a winter gone by, and to ring in a new winter season.

While Nike iF3 is among the most anticipated events of the year, what’s even more exciting is to see the growth that iF3 is experiencing worldwide. For the first time this year, iF3 is hosting a festival in four cities around the globe—Santiago de Chile, Annecy, France and Innsbruck, Austria. Following a year that was less than spectacular for the ski industry as a whole—on account of low snowfall—it’s encouraging to see the event thrive.

Sean Pettit signs autographs at the Oberson Autograph Session. © Audric Gagnon.

On the docket at Nike iF3 are 35+ screenings of feature films, popular web series episodes and more. Last night at The North Face Outdoor Movie Screening—hosted at the iF3 Outdoor Village—the large crowd that gathered enjoyed the edits created at Eye of the Condor 2012, and a wonderful short film by Switchback Entertainment, dubbed Quarter Past Midnight, featuring night skiing footage unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Picture skiers’ bodies outlined by glow sticks, shredding powder in the complete darkness. Jalpak Tash, a piece of b4apres Media followed suit, showcasing an adventure to the powdery hills of Kyrgystan.

The North Face Outdoor Movie Screening. Photos © Renaud Robert.

Next up were some of the year’s most anticipated films: Hurt So Good by Legs of Steel (LOS) and In Space by Junkies on a Budget. LOS’s film was introduced by director Andre Nutini and athlete Sven Kueenle, who incidentally holds claim to the opening shots of the film. Kueenle expressed how much fun he has filming with the LOS crew. From the moment the film reel began to roll until the moment it stopped, I was captivated by LOS’s flick. Athletes including Bene Mayr, Sam Smoothy, Max Hill, Laurent Favre, Sig Tveit, Nico Zacek, Thomas Hlawitschka, Tobi Reindl, Paddy Graham, all impress with their skiing ability. LOS is commended for its use of slow motion and a powerful (and utterly badass, for that matter) soundtrack—featuring the likes of Mötley Crüe and Marilyn Manson. The film is littered with big lines, insane backcountry booters, cornice hucks and deep pow. The movie concludes with a segment highlighting a session on a massive road gap at Grossglockner Pass in Austria. The aerial shots of the action are first rate, and the action is insane. Jossi Wells closes out the film by sending a massive zero spin over the gap.

© Renaud Robert.

Junkies on a Budget (JOB) followed up with an impressive showing of its own. The film opens with a shot of a spacecraft rocketing down to earth and slamming into a powdery field in a mountain setting. A spaceman emerges front he craft, and a deep, omniscient voice kicks in, giving rise to a humorous theme that continues throughout the entire film. The spaceman continues to appear between segments of skiing, which includes a bit of everything: From solid urban, to massive jumps—the Nine Knights segment being a standout—to solid backcountry powder, to massive cliffs, to dramatic halfpipe shots. JOB earns applause for its technccal use of multiple cameras; the creative editing makes for quite the show. For being Junkies on a Budget, something tells me the budget isn’t all that small.

Nike iF3, bringing the mountains to the city. © Renaud Robert.

Following the screenings, partygoers took over La Sat Club on St. Laurent for the official iF3 Launch Party. The night, hosted by Alpine Initiatives, included performances by A-Rock, Blaster & Johnlee, photobooths, many-a-drink, dancing and more. ‘Twas a fantastic evening, and we’re looking forward to much more of the same.

Friday plays host to a tramload of screenings, and of course, to a concert featuring Mix Master Mike—which we happen to be co-hosting. You can tune into a live stream of the event tonight, right here, beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET.

We caught up with a handful of pros and industry folk who were on hand at last night’s screenings. Here’s what they had to say about Nike iF3 2012.

Sean Jordan

“I’ve been to iF3 for five years now. I’m most looking forward to the films and the parties, because I love skiing and I love partying. I can’t wait to see The Eighty Six screen on Saturday night, it’s going to be baller. [Pauses to chug a Coors Light.] My favorite thing about Montreal is the fact that I’m legal to drink, because I spend most of my life striving to get into places to drink, and now I can do it legally. So I’m going to take full advantage. My mom will totally be stoked on this quote.”

Clayton Vila

“This is my third time to iF3. It’s a three-peat! I can’t wait to see all the movies I haven’t seen yet. Everyone parties hard this weekend, and all of the iF3 activities are situated within a block of each other, so I can actually figure out my way around. The ladies are gorgeous, but they’re French Canadian. They kind of like Americans, but it’s a little hard to be speaking English with some of them.”

Rob Heule

“This is my first time to iF3. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the Queb’ [pronounced Queeb] movies, because I don’t get to see those normally. Stoked to see what Quebec has to offer.”

Tanner Hall

“I don’t know how many times I’ve been to iF3. A lot. Looking forward to Stept’s screening, Inspired’s screening, and meeting some nice Montreal girls. [What's your favorite thing about Montreal?] Girls.”

Jen Hudak

“This is my first time to iF3. I’m really excited to see how creative everyone is getting on their skis right now. I missed the majority of last winter due to an injury, so every little bit of skiing I watch gets me more and more pumped for next year.”

KC Deane

“This is my fourth year at iF3. I look forward to getting Iced. It’s always the best to come out each year, see the movies, and see the guys you don’t get to see all year. People that you kind of lose touch with over the summer. Guys like my man Mike Riddle. So it’s great to catch up, and get ready for the season. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Voleurz movie. Stoked to see what went down at Volympics, because I didn’t get to go, and also Legs of Steel. Also, my favorite Instagram hashtags right now are #FUKCDEANE and #IF3.”

Mike Riddle

“I’ve been to iF3 three times. I’m stoked for the movies and the partying. [Why?] I like ski movies and I like to party. I’m really excited to see the Level 1 movie, and Voleurz, even though I’ve already seen it, I’m just psyched to see it again. And PBP, stoked for that for sure. But I wish my brother Johnny was here, I miss him ever so much.”

Luke Van Valin

“Three and a hal—no wait, three. Three years. I’ve been to three different years of iF3. I’m stoked to hang out with my buddies, ride BIXI bikes, and keeping the party going. [Tell me more about the bikes.] You pay $15 and you take ‘em out whenever you want for the next for days and ride them all around town. I’m psyched to see Dang from 4FRNT, and the PBP movie. Feelin’ great out here.”

Dania Assaly

“This is my second time to iF3. I love all the people, all the friends. I love this, it brings everyone together and gets everyone motivated for the ski season. I’m looking to get inspired. I’m really looking forward to The Education of Style, because I’m super inspired by Tanner right now and that whole crew. And looking forward to Level 1, as well.”

Sean Pettit

“I’ve been here since it started. Six years. I’m looking forward to partying my ass off all weekend. And of course, stoked to watch all the movies and seeing what went down in everyone’s season. I’m sure it’s all going to be really good. I’m really looking forward to seeing Level 1’s movie, I hear great things.” [Says, "bonsoir" to three ladies passing by.]

Mike Henitiuk

“I’ve been to three iF3s in total. I’m psyched to hang with all the sweet guys that the ski industry has, and partying. Lots of partying. I like to party. I’m stoked for the PBP movie, because I’m in it, duh… And I’m really stoked for the Level 1 movie. Their teaser was super good, and they always put out a good movie.”

Fergie Cancade (Red Bull Canada)

“This is my first iF3 in four years. I’m most looking forward to hanging out with Max Hill.”

Max Hill

“I’ve been to every iF3. My first one, I hopped a Burger King counter and took orders, and JP Auclair was my first order. I got him a cheeseburger, with fries, but he wanted no pickles. I remember that shit. For this iF3, I’m most looking forward to Fergie’s hotel room later.”

Stay tuned for more as iF3 continues to rock Montreal.


Friday Recap | 2012 iF3 Award Winners | Saturday Recap | Sunday Recap and Final Thoughts