Dendrite steps Out of the Shadows 

Whistler-based film company’s first project unveils a roster of undiscovered ski talent


What: World premiere of Out of the Shadows

When: Monday, Aug. 9, 8 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Cost: $11

Ski film junkies are always looking for a fix - corkscrew 720s, alley oop flatspins and, of course, plenty of pow. In other words, when they sit down to watch skiers on screen, they want some serious ski porn.

"I love ski porn, we watch all the films every year. But what's interesting to me is what each individual's life is outside of skiing, and how that affects how they ski," said Athan Merrick.

Merrick studied film at UBC and works in the film industry today. He also spent a few years trying to make it as a professional skier and knows just how competitive - and fickle - the industry really is. Now, he's teamed up with professional photographer and friend, Nicolas Teichrob, on a new passion project, Dendrite Studios, which aims to create a "new breed of ski film."

"Obviously, there's a lot of talent in Whistler that has never been shown before, from a creative standpoint and an athletic standpoint, so we wanted to show that. But we wanted to show it in a way that hasn't been done before."

The ski industry has become very focused on trends and so-called celebrity skiers, and there is a tendency to overlook the talented skiers and snowboarders who are spending time on the hills alongside us.

"But at the same time, that kind of celebrity ski culture is what drives the market," Merrick conceded. "But a lot of those guys are - nothing against them, they're all amazing skiers and I know a lot of them - but sometimes it's just the luck of the draw.

"We wanted to make sure that everyone else who deserves it is getting seen and heard."

The vast majority of today's ski films are loaded with ski porn and are designed to have the crowds oohing and aahing along to the soundtrack. But the Dendrite crew wants to delve into the people behind those awe-inspiring tricks.

While their first film, Out of the Shadows , still has plenty of awe-inspiring tricks and visuals to keep people happy, the project is really, at its core, about letting the athletes tell their stories.

"We are moving beyond the typical ski porn: we want the viewer to be emotionally connected and have to be thinking when they're watching the film. We just want to push the boundaries (of the genre) cinematically, creatively and narratively."

They decided to showcase their athletes' personalities and back-stories without slowing things down with interviews and dialogue.


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