Whether as a conduit for connection, an outlet for goofy joy, or simply an intra-venous delivery system for news, we’ve all been attached to the internet lately. All of us wish we were out skiing—and ski filmmakers are in a particular conundrum.
With feature film projects on an indefinite hold, athletes and filmers are struggling to find outlets for their restless energy at home. So when the United Nations put out an open call to produce PSA videos for specific communities, Level 1’s Josh Berman had the creativity and the rolodex to create one for skiers.
We talked with Berman about how this video came to be and what he’s working on while quarantined.
POWDER: So, what has your world been like since everything shut down?
BERMAN: I’m in Denver, and we’ve seen a lot of crowds. It’s 75 degrees and sunny and you can hear groups of people partying from my house. People are antsy and pretty bad about staying home. We’ve obviously been in the news lately for crowds in the backcountry.
But I’ve got friends here in Denver who run a production company called Image Brew. They were sitting on a request for a submission from the United Nations—a blanket submission request calling for film companies to produce social content to reach certain audiences. [Image Brew] asked Level 1 to reach out to skiers and see if we could create a PSA for the ski community.
I sent well over 100 individual messages out to athletes: texts, emails, Instagram messages, trying to figure out the best way to get responses from people—25 of whom actually sent us material in the three-day window that I gave them. It was a pretty remarkable showing for such short notice. I wasn’t involved with editing, just the Image Brew guys. Putting together a cohesive piece with those disparate clips looked really challenging, but they got it done.
With filming out of the question, how are you channeling your creativity?
For one, it’s more important than ever to stay engaged with our audience—fortunately we have a 20-year backlog of excellent ski content. We spent the past few weeks digitizing footage: behind the scenes stuff, athlete edits, stuff that’s never been online before.
We’ve pressed the pause button on all filming. Freedle [Coty] was working on a project with Parker [White] called “Nothing.” He just moved to post-production. Something exciting coming out of all this is that with more time spent in the studio and less filming pure skiing, we’re going to be forced to think outside the box.
If you don’t have the opportunities to fill in the blanks with all the usual action, I’m hoping we’ll see more improvisation and maybe some new and creative directions for feature films.
Our other big project is a multi-year documentary project with Trevor Kennison. We can’t quite fly around the country and interview people, but we’re able to focus on more of the documentation aspects of the project. Those are the most compelling aspects of the film anyway.
Trevor has more challenges on the day to day and he still couldn’t be more enthusiastic and positive. Anybody that gets the opportunity to be out there and spend time with him is lucky. He’s barely scratched the surface of what he can do. This documentary will blow your mind.
Do you have any more quarantine mini projects in the works?
We are bringing the Level 20 podcast back for another season this summer, and instead of focusing on our own films we’ll be focusing on the other films and filmers in the ski industry. Podcasts are great for times like this, because you can do it all remotely. I’m really excited to see it’s new direction.
This article originally appeared on Powder.com and was republished with permission.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!