Female riders hit big screen 

Whistler premiere of La La Land showcases all-female snowboarder lineup

click to enlarge Shining A Light on Girls Co-producer Leanne Pelosi jibs an all-female cast for Runaway Films premier snowboard flick, La La Land. Photo by Russell Dalby.
  • Shining A Light on Girls Co-producer Leanne Pelosi jibs an all-female cast for Runaway Films premier snowboard flick, La La Land. Photo by Russell Dalby.

What: La La Land

When: Friday, Oct. 5, 10 p.m.

Where: Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC)

Tickets: $5

After a crazy summer of snowboard opens in Australia and New Zealand, a surf trip in Nicaragua, film premieres in California and Seattle, a K2 photo shoot and a performance at the Warner Brothers Rail Jam in L.A., Leanne Pelosi is happy to retire suitcase living in Whistler, at least for a few days, before heading out for more film primers of her new film La La Land. She was tracked down at her favourite local hangout, Elements Urban Tapas Parlour, to talk about Runway Film’s all-female-rider flick.

“Yeah, I don’t know where I come up with these names,” said co-producer Pelosi, laughing after talking about her film and the K2 snowboard she personally designed named the Va Va Voom board. “I’m just having a lot of fun.”

Pelosi, along with 14 girlfriends, had a lot more than that during Runway Films’ first film shoot where the green crew encountered numerous firsts: first time riding city rails, first time navigating challenging backcountry on sleds and first time mapping out jumps and drops for camera crews.

“We spent a lot of time getting stuck on snowmobiles,” she said, laughing again at the memories. “Try being a 115-pound girl trying to lift a 500-pound machine out of waist-deep powder… For most of the girls, filming was a new thing, so we didn’t know all the spots to shoot. It was a lot of first times. First time trying city rails, hitting cliffs and spinning off it.”

Watching the film trailer at runwayfilms.com, viewers will get a chance to catch the riders’ reactions to nailing those first-timers, letting audiences in on the joy and excitement behind the sport.

Riders may be new to the production end of things, but not to soaring the skies. Pelosi brings a weight of experience and fame to her position as co-producer. The multiple U.S. Open champ has won the title of Transworld Snowboarding Magazine’s Best Female Rider of the Year too many times to count. She competes all over the world, including her most recent wins at snowboard opens in New Zealand and Australia.

The biomechanics graduate also helps design snowboard products, including her own Dragon goggles and K2 freestyle jib board. In addition to riding the competition and sports equipment scene, Pelosi also founded MGT Snowboard Camps, which hosts two-day snowboard camps for women.

“Right now it’s awesome to be a female in the sport because there is so much hype on the female side of things,” she said.

There is plenty to get hyped about with La La Land’s lineup of Pelosi, Alexis Waite, Anne Flare-Marxer, Desiree Melancon, Erin Comstock, Hana Beaman, Jacqui Berg, Jamie Anderson, Izumi Amaike, Laura Hadar, Marie-France Roy, Natasza Zurek, Priscilla Levac, Sylvia Mittermueller, Tara Dakides, Victoria Jealouse and Spencer O’Brien — the token male in the film. A few blokes also made it into the crew rolling credits, including co-producer Jeff Keenan.

“It showcases the best and most progressive female snowboarders ever,” Pelosi said. “All of us working together can really progress female riders in the sport. Right now it’s awesome to be a female snowboarder because there is so much support around it. Girls are buying into the sport and it’s accelerating at an exponential rate. It used to be a token girl and now it’s branding into mainstream media.”

Support behind women in snowboarding is illustrated in the broad show of corporate support for La La Land.

The film premiered last month in San Diego aboard a yacht with decks the size of three football fields hosting more than 1,000 guests and pro riders.

“People were so excited about the film and we got coverage on Fuel TV,” Pelosi said.

The high definition 30-minute film will premiere in Whistler on Friday, Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. at the Garibaldi Lift Company. Doors at 9 p.m.

Admission is a $5 donation to Boarding for Breast Cancer.

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