Level 1 Productions Tends to make its Final Ski Film


With fall comes colder temperatures, fewer hours of daylight and ski and snowboard film premieres, when packed theaters fill with anticipatory crowds that cannot wait for the snow to start off stacking up. But for a single ski film firm, this fall’s function film will be its final. Just after 20 ski motion pictures more than a two-decade span, “Romance,” which premiered in late September in Denver, will mark the final function from Level 1 Productions

Josh Berman, founder and director of Level 1, describes the film as a 20-year connection with skiing, but that does not imply he’s breaking up with the sport. It is just on to new beginnings. “I’m excited for the possibilities we will be capable to make for ourselves by opening up to distinct projects, by telling stories and functioning on films that wouldn’t match the mold we’ve designed for ourselves,” mentioned Berman, who began Level 1 in 1999 when VHS tapes had been the norm, Freeze was the should-have ski magazine and twin-tip skis had been debuting in terrain parks and on rails about the nation. 

Skiers from Level 1 build a jump for the annual ski movie.

Level 1 has been creating ski motion pictures for 20 years. This year’s film will be its final function ski film. (Photo Credit: Chip Kalback)

Berman had initially wanted to be in front of the lens, as a pro skier. “I promptly came to the realization that I was not going to be capable to preserve up with the men and women who had been undertaking it complete-time,” Berman mentioned. It was a straightforward switch-180 off a 10-foot tabletop that changed all the things. He fell and shattered his tibial plateau and tore his lateral and medial meniscus, an accident that temporarily took Berman out of skiing. 

Jeff Winterton, an influential skier and photographer who helped enhance the newschool ski scene—where young skiers did jumps and tricks in terrain parks and on rails—on the East Coast in the late ’90s, became Berman’s mentor. He taught him how to use the digital camera that Berman had borrowed from his dad, and at some point, Level 1 was born. Extended-standing Level 1 filmer Freedle Coty joined Berman in 2003 and has continued to lend his vision and inventive style to the films considering the fact that.

“The very first genuine commitment to the approach was in 2003 when I produced the film ‘Forward,’” mentioned Berman, who moved from the East Coast to Colorado for the project. “The other path I was going to take was either going to New York or Los Angeles to pursue a considerably a lot more regular filmmaking profession.”

Whilst other ski film firms had been placing out glitzy annual films with heli budgets and international travel, Level 1 produced its way onto the scene, adding a grittier, indie flavor. Wide-eyed teenagers crowded regional theaters to watch up-and-coming riders like Dan Marion and Steele Spence grind rails on urban staircases or hit hand-constructed, backyard jumps. It was as opposed to something else getting portrayed on the huge screen at that time.  

“I have pretty much totally been committed to the annual function films the final 20 years,” mentioned Berman. “It has permitted us to place out what I like to believe of as fresh content material, but it is also familiar in the sense that our fans know what to count on with the filming, the vibe and the athletes.” 

Tom Wallisch slides a staircase while filming with Level 1 Productions.

Tom Wallisch got his start off filming with Level 1. (Photo Credit: Josh Bibby)

More than the years, Level 1 has vaulted no-names to superstars. Take Tom Wallisch, who grew up in Pittsburgh, far from snow-covered mountains, and began shooting with Level 1 in 2007 when he won SuperUnknown, an annual competitors Level 1 holds to bring visibility to lesser-identified athletes by like them in a film segment. Wallisch went onto come to be a single of the world’s prime slopestyle and urban skiers. “I produced some of the greatest friendships of my life,” mentioned Wallisch, who seems in this year’s film, “Romance.” Per Wallisch, the time he spent “working with the filmers and like-minded skiers had been the most enjoyable years of my ski profession.”

Berman will not say this is the finish of Level 1. It is just the finish of the yearly ski motion pictures. So, what’s subsequent? “The finish of this chapter is bittersweet. In a lot of strategies I’m going to miss the approach and the routine,” mentioned Berman, who plans to perform on distinct projects going forward, like the SuperUnknown competitors, which has been going on for 16 years now and is not going away. He also hopes to inform stories focused on men and women and locations beyond the ski planet. “I appear forward to undertaking a lot of filmmaking that has absolutely nothing to do with skiing. I want to capture items I haven’t observed ahead of,” mentioned Berman.

You can catch “Romance” on digital download this month or on tour all through the U.S. this fall.


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