What if you could challenge the accepted norm in ski movies?
How about documenting a new heli and cat operation as it fights through controversy?
Could the film feature awesome action footage, while also presenting a serious storyline?
My name is Matt Standal, and I’ve been skiing and filming in the Hokkaido, Japan backcountry for the past year.
The resulting project is a documentary that touches on backcountry access, ski touring, heli skiing, and cat skiing in Hokkaido.
As you might guess, the Japanese skiing and snowboarding community is divided on helicopters and cats in the backcountry – with some locals vehemently opposed. Others, including professional athletes on film trips, are completely stoked.
Today, I’m proud to say that my Kickstarter-funded film The Hokkaido Backcountry Project has been accepted to the Whistler Film Festival, and will premiere Thursday, Dec. 3, alongside Mike Douglas’ film Eclipse.
WHY IT MATTERS
The Hokkaido Backcountry Project examines the relationship between the sometimes-opposing nature of North American and Japanese cultures, while also chronicling the first modern helicopter and cat ski operation in Japan during its first full season.
We follow Canadian expat snowboarder Clayton Kernaghan and the Hokkaido Backcountry Club, as they begin helicopter and snowcat skiing in Japan – despite opposition from avalanche forecaster Akio Shinya, a respected Japanese local.
Along the way, our film goes behind the scenes with pro skier and snowboarder crews, including GoPro, Nimbus Independent, and Superproof Inc.
The film’s turning point includes footage from an actual avalanche rescue in Japan, and its implications for the future of both HBC and Clayton.