FULL STORY BELOW…
The Making of Los Angeles The Movie
By Antonio Villaraigosa
Iconic Los Angeles Features
In the summer of 2011, Mountain High set out on a mission to make a connection between the resort and their biggest market, Los Angeles. Newly hired marketing consultant Brad Farmer wanted to give people in the greater Los Angeles area a reminder that Mountain High is in their backyard. “When I came over to Mountain High I knew the location, just how easy it is to get there and how fun it is to ride there had to be the focus of our messages,” Farmer says.
So he dreamt up a plan in which they would go to the city and pick out four iconic features to replicate or conceptually recreate, and then place them in the terrain park at the resort for shredders to ride. First, they picked out the Concert Hall Handrail, which is a replica of an aggressive down-flat-down handrail at the Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA. Next they picked a more conceptual feature which is a massive wallride bearing an artist rendering of the famous Hollywood sign. The third feature is a replication of a handrail and concrete ledge that is a part of the main front stair set at the LA Convention Center. With the resort’s purchase of a new Zaugg transition cutter the final feature became possible, which is a conceptual recreation of the infamous Wedge surf break in the form of a massive quarterpipe.
“The idea was that we would connect customers with these iconic features from the city at the resort, reinforcing the connection between Mountain High and urban elements in the city,” Farmer says. “More than anything we just wanted some really fun and photogenic features for our riders. It was a pretty massive undertaking that could not have happened without the full support of key Mountain High players such as general manager Karl Kapuscinski, marketing director John McColly, and terrain park manager and Justin Montoya.”
Los Angeles The Movie – Intro
And so the idea for Los Angeles the movie was born. Farmer brought on Matt Devino to direct the film, while he took on the producer role himself. The plan was to connect each team rider with a different iconic location in the greater LA area thus circling completely around from the construction of the iconic features.
“We decided to rent a ‘Mountain High Blue’ Cadillac and have MFM drive through the city and pick up each of his teammates, in their specific location, en route to the mountain and film the whole trip,” says Farmer. How do you get a director, producer, photographer, filming assistant, production assistant and eight professional snowboards through the heavy traffic of Los Angeles from Manhattan Beach to Mountain High by way of Venice, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Downtown through nine location shoots and capture all the video and photos you need in just two days? “Hell if I know, but we did it,” Farmer says. “I spent a big portion of the two days just trying to keep track of everyone and make sure no one disappeared at action time. Ha! That was a challenge. Throw in the fact that all of our director’s camera equipment was stolen from our hotel on the morning of the second day and I honestly don’t know how we pulled it off.”
Scene one was set up at a house in Manhattan Beach where MFM started his day with a cup of coffee before hopping in the Cadillac to start his trip to the mountain. “The idea was that MFM woke up at his El Porto beach home and saw the surf was flat so he decided to head up to Mountain High to shred,” Farmer explains. First stop for MFM along the way was to pick up Ryan Paul on the corner of Pacific and Venice Boulevard under the famous Venice sign.
“RP is an amazing rider to work with when he’s not wandering off looking for Vegan food,” Farmer says. “He is such an amazing rider and animated and zany guy that he makes it easy to get really good lifestyle and action shots.” MFM pulled over, RP jumped in and they headed to Malibu for the next scene. “We picked the Malibu Pier for an iconic SoCal lifeguard scene with Spencer Link,” says Farmer. “He is such a funny kid and such a good sport that he made our vision of a Baywatch-style skit come to life. Don’t miss Spencerwatch!” After some time in the sun, sand and sea, it was time for the next scene with Harrison Gordon on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. “Harry is definitely the opposite of a rich kid from Beverly Hills, so we felt it was a perfect mix-match for his character,” says Farmer. With Gordon in the Caddy and more high fives slapped, it was time to head to Hollywood to pick up Nick Visconti. “Visconti is a natural actor. Watching him interact with the Hollywood scene and the stars was a perfect fit.” Once Visconti was picked up from Hollywood Boulevard, it was time for a drive across the 3rd Street Bridge to pull Kyle Lopiccolo from his skateboard session. “Lopiccolo is a mischievous shredder who always looks like he’s up to no good, and yet he was probably the easiest rider to deal with on the shoot as long as we had a cold beer for him,” says Farmer. Once Lopiccolo was packed in, the crew headed to Downtown Los Angeles to roll up on Cory Cronk and Trever Haas. “Cronk and Haas’ image made them the perfect combination for the downtown ‘Thug Life.’ They embody that urban style and fit right into the Los Angeles scene,” says Farmer. With the Cadillac now literally stacked with riders, someone had to go to make room for the duo. “One little problem we had was that the Caddy couldn’t fit all the riders at the same time,” says Matt Devino. “We had one too many people on the team. On the fly, I came up with the idea of having Cory Cronk and Trever Haas toss Spencer Link in the trunk, which is probably my favorite part of the intro. It’s funny how solving a problem can actually make a film better.”
“Matt Devino did an amazing job directing the movie,” Farmer says. “While I came up with the original idea, it was Devino who made it come to life through the eye of the camera. He directed the RED Epic shoot and managed all the second angles himself.”
“I wanted to raise the production value of the movie intro, this is LA after all,” says Devino. “So, we shot on the RED Epic, which helped give us the cinematic look we were looking for.”
This was an outlaw shoot with no permits or permission of any kind. They successfully avoided police and every other type of official who could have spoiled the shoot. “We didn’t exactly have a big Hollywood budget, so everything was shot guerrilla style,” says Devino. “We just rolled to each location with our little caravan following the Caddy. We’d jump out of the production vehicles, set the cameras up, and get the car and each rider in place, shoot as fast as we could and then be on our way again. It was like making a getaway from each location.” With all riders present and accounted for, it was time to finish the trip to Mountain High and go snowboarding.
Los Angeles The Movie – Action
The intro, while very intense work, was just a small portion of filming an entire resort snowboard movie. “Farmer and I started talking about filming a movie for Mountain High over a year ago,” says Devino. “We decided the project needed to be focused around the new team Farmer had put together, rather than of just a mishmash of every rider that came through and filmed at Mountain High over the course of the season.”
Which isn’t to say that no one else appears in the movie. There’s a long list of solid guest riders in addition to the team, including Trevor Jacob, Scott Blum, Jussi Oksanen, Ian Thorley, Mitch Richmond, Ian Sams, Jager Bailey and Yale Cousino, just to name a few. It wasn’t the best snow year in So Cal, which created challenges for the project. “We were concerned about a potential weak snow year so we started filming immediately. There was no waiting until spring to shoot a movie. The team was there, they brought friends and thus we always had plenty of solid riders to film. We all had a lot of fun with it. There was no pressure, just good times riding and filming and trying to show what Mountain High is all about,” says Devino.
On the heels of the two-day movie intro shoot, they held a two-day on-mountain action shoot. “While the intro shoot was intense and difficult, the action shoot was just plain fun,” says Farmer. “The team came out firing so we were able to get a ton of A shots for the movie and all the photos we needed. The complete four-day shoot was the most difficult and yet most rewarding and successful shoot I’ve ever been a part of.” Now the team, production crew and staff at Mountain High are in the final phase of the project, release dates and premiers. “We’ve been looking forward to this time for over a year. We’ll enjoy it and then start planning the next project,” says Farmer.
Check out the list of premieres and the movie release plan, and don’t miss the movie Los Angeles from Mountain High. For the full story and online release schedule and premier schedule head on over to blisssmag.com or mthigh.com.