[Q&A] Behind the scenes of “From Switzerland With Love”

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[Q&A] Behind the scenes of “From Switzerland With Love”

Laurent De Martin’s new movie, “From Switzerland With Love by Région Dents du Midi,” is one of the must-watch short films from this season. From the skiing to the soundtrack, everything about the project is beautifully rendered, showcasing the bounty that Switzerland has to offer skiers of every discipline. Massive urban features, big-mountain jump sessions—it’s all here. Filmed and edited almost entirely by Titouan Bessire during the 2019-20 season (before the pandemic shut everything down), this flick is a stunning, 30-minute tribute to the sport.

The film features the talented skiing of Laurent and friends Remco Kayser, Lucas Wachs and Will Berman, and provides a hefty dose of flavor as each skier is able to showcase his particular style. To get a better understanding of how this project came to life, we got in touch with all of the athletes to hear about it first-hand. Below, you’ll find the exclusive interview with FREESKIER, recalling their favorite moments from filming, why it’s so damn special to ski in Switzerland and the smooth group dynamic of the bunch. Keep reading to get an inside look and be sure to hit play on the movie embedded below!

Editors’ Note: In the interview below each athlete is labeled by his initials. Laurent De Martin (LDM); Remco Kayser (RK); Lucas Wachs (LW); Will Berman (WB).

What made this project unique from others you’ve worked on? 

LDM: It was really unique because it was our first project with [videographer/editor] Titouan Bessire. After filming for four years with Level 1, it was really different to do a full project at home with a crew of friends. Furthermore, I didn’t travel all season; I’m really happy I could rediscover my home Région Dents du Midi, and show it to the world. On the flip side, it was so much work beside skiing—I learned so much from doing it. Sponsoring, organization, promotion, music rights… it was a crazy experience.

RK: The fact Laurent is a good friend and this was his first solo-project made it pretty unique for me. He put a lot of effort and energy into it and, when he told me he wanted me to be part of it, I was very happy to join. I’m proud of him for pursuing his dreams after the end of the Level 1 annual movies and I’m happy to keep skiing with him in the future.

LW: It was unique in many ways. First trip to Europe for me, I had never met Laurent before and COVID-19 was starting to shut things down as I was leaving, so that was exciting… 

WB: Everything about this project was unique, from the location to the spots we hit to the overall vibe.  One of my favorite projects ever.

SKIER: Remco Kayser | PHOTO: Mathieu Tranchida

Why was it so damn special to ski in Switzerland for this movie? 

WB: For me, it’s always special to ski in Switzerland; it’s one of my favorite places to travel and, especially, ski and eat. Also, being with the local legend, Laurent, and seeing his town through his own eyes was pretty damn special.

RK: I have never had the opportunity to hit the kind of big walls and urban spots we did for this project. And it was my first time using a winch. Therefore, this trip opened my eyes on what I can personally achieve while riding urban here and changed some of my vision as well. Laurent motivated me to hit big spots and… that changed my skiing in some way.

LDM: I could show the area where I grew up and learned to ski to Will, Lucas and all my others friends that joined us for the movie. We have everything in Switzerland to accomplish all kinds of skiing, from urban to freeride.

LW: I think that the rich ski history—and just the overall history there—is really neat… something we don’t have a lot of here in [my home of] Bend, Oregon. It was rad to see all the old buildings, towns, roadways carved into cliff sides. It all adds to the mystique. 

SKIER: Lucas Wachs | PHOTO: Ruedi Flück

Can you describe what the team dynamic was on this project? 

RK: The dynamic was awesome, there was a nice cohesion. I’ve known Laurent for a long time now and have been filming with him a lot. I really like the vibe he puts out. It was also nice to ski with Will again. I had only met him for two weeks in North America in 2018. Other than that, we basically ate good food in the evening and woke up every day to hit a new spot, all with a nice rhythm. Lots of coffee, laughs, shoveling, crashes, stomps and smiles! Most of the time, other friends came to help us out and it was cool to have a big crew to keep us pumped. Finally, Titouan is a great filmer. He’s comprehensive and always finds the best angles.

LDM: The dynamic was so sick because the full crew was a bunch of friends. I tried to involve everyone as much as I could.

LW:  The crew was hard-working and motivated. Great energy to be around and felt comfortable with them the whole time. Laurent’s friend Numa was helping on second angles and would come help and build the jumps; it was sick to have him there. Laurent and Tituon also did a great job of translating for me so that made it pretty easy to know what was going on.

WB: The whole crew worked insanely well together everyone played their own parts to bring the team together and produce an awesome film.

SKIER: Laurent De Martin | PHOTO: Ruedi Flück

What was your favorite memory/moment/spot to shoot?

LDM: The hut at “Col de Cou” in my home resort. We spent a night there with the crew and Lucas. It’s an old hut between France and Switzerland that was used by border guards back in the day. The spot is beautifu—a sick spot to watch the sunset and sunrise. We found some old border guards’ clothes and books, too. A night to remember.

LW: We hit a jump around his home hill then toured up to this old outpost hut that they had gotten permission for us to stay in. It was such a long and fulfilling day. Had nice weather, good snow and good vibes. It was unforgettable! 

RK: My favorite moments were the sunsets when we woke up at Laurent’s place every morning. The view from the bed is lovely and with a little coffee, it’s even more enjoyable.

WB: Its hard to pick just one moment I really enjoyed the whole experience from filming to enjoying the country and food and meeting new friends all around a great experience.

SKIER: Sam Wallot | PHOTO: François Marclay

What’s the one thing you’d want our audience to know about the film?

LW: Skiing is an international language that has no borders or confines. 

RK: For this movie, we passed more time shoveling snow than on skis, but it was all worth it!

WB: Switzerland is such a special place. If you ever get the chance, go and embrace the ski culture that it has to offer.

LDM: That we had the sickest times with friends shooting that movie, but it was a lot of work and dedication; it took a year and a half from the start to the end. I also want to add that we had to rethink so much with the the hard snow conditions and the corona situation but, if you go 150 percent, you can always end up with something you’re stoked about. Hope you will like the movie—we put our hearts into it! To finish, I have give a huge big up to Titouan, who realized and filmed this movie almost completely by himself!