Simon Shave and Clay Mitchell keep a VHS copy of the first ski video they made as teenagers. That video was called Passion, and nearly 20 years later they hope a new passion project leads to a dream film career.
Shave and Mitchell are the founders of CK9 Studios, which last month released its debut film Over Time.
The seven-minute short, which can be viewed in the online version of this story at nelsonstar.com, stars five-time Winter X Games skier Sammy Carlson cutting through powder in a piece the Nelson natives hope puts their new company in the spotlight.
“We wanted to make the shots so beautiful that anybody is going to like it, not just skiers,” said Shave, who serves as the company’s producer.
“Between the voice over, the universal time theme, the beauty of the cinematography and the length and the music, we just wanted to make something that would be captivating for anyone.”
Shave and Mitchell have been friends since Grade 7. They spent their 20s fighting forest fires and went their separate ways into film before reconvening for work with Sherpas Cinema, most notably on the local ski short Imagination.
The birth of CK9 Studios came when Carlson suggested a project with Mitchell after the pair worked together during a shoot at Retallack. Shave said Mitchell’s ability to follow a skier while carrying a big camera rig impressed Carlson.
The pair also wanted do something less straight forward than most ski videos.
“Clay and I want to do more artsy, story-based stuff,” said Shave. “The brands want to keep it pretty true to the core skiing population. We found the fine line to put in a bit of a message, but still letting the skiing being the dominating piece of it.”
Filming began last January and lasted over four months at locations between Nelson and north of Revelstoke.
They settled on time as the film’s theme, and used a 4K slo-motion camera that can film 1,000 frames per second to create different shots that fit the voiceover from Myles Munroe, a deceased minister from the Bahamas.
“Once we heard it we liked what he was saying about time, and how it reflects on who you are and who you become,” said Mitchell.
One of the film’s most stunning shots, in which Carlson falls into what appears to be a dark abyss, was actually shot at the Nelson and District Community Complex’s pool.
Mitchell said Carlson jumped off the pool’s diving board around 20 times over five hours to get the shot, which used black fabric and special lights.
“We thought he was going to sink and die the first time,” said Mitchell. “Then he jumps off the high dive and lands, he doesn’t even go under because of his skis and boots. He just pancakes.”
Over Time was released on YouTube on Oct. 22 and already has over 100,000 views. It has also already won two awards from the Montreal-based International Freeski Film Festival film.
Shave and Mitchell hope the film helps establish their company and leads to more projects on action sports shoots or commercials. So far, they say the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive from casual viewers, skiers and colleagues in the film industry.
“My two year old likes it,” added Shave.