Absinthe Films' Resonance - Interview with Patrick Armbruster

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Absinthe Films’ Resonance – Patrick Armbruster Interview

Brusti and Nicolas Müller. Photo: Silvano Zeiter.

The latest in a long line of their high-octane yet aesthetically driven snowboard movies, Resonance will certainly ring your bell. We caught up with boss man Patrick Armbruster for the inside line on the flick and Absinthe itself. Read on…

Absinthe Films dropped the World Premiere of their latest movie, Resonance, earlier this month and are currently in the midst of their continent-spanning Resonance movie tour. Get yourself to one of the stops to enjoy it on the silver screen or at the very least nab yourself a hard copy either from your local shred store or, for the digitally inclined, buy Resonance on iTunes where you’ll be able to download Resonance in HD for €6.99 from right now.

Here’s a quick re-post of the teaser to get your whistles wet:

Now, without further ado, here’s our pow wow with Brusti…

Last winter was ‘interesting’ for snowfall. There was none, then loads in Europe but none in US for a long while… were you guys panicking early on? Did the conditions affect your movie more than in recent years?

Of course by early December we were getting sceptical but I was still in Brazil at that time drilling my feet in the hot sand. Right when I got back around the 10th of December it came down and all concerns were swept away. Around New Years the next big load fell in Switzerland and the motivation went through the roof. The conditions did affect the movie, in a very positive way – I can’t recall a winter with that much snow around our resorts. It was amazing and the fact that I could just jump in my car and be at Nicolas’ place within one hour made the traveling aspect even more enjoyable. Shane Charlebois, our US filmer and strategic operator, did also find the spot to be. Cale Zima, Bode Merrill and Brandon Cocard headed out to Michigan which turned out to be very productive first trip despite the lack of snow all over the USA.

Would you say you shot in Europe more for Resonance than in recent years? Was it nice to bring the Americans over to the old continent where Absinthe began?

Everybody on this year’s line up made it over to Switzerland and Austria except Scotty Lago, Blair Habenicht and newcomer from Chile, Manuel Diaz. Danny Kass, who is starring for the first time in an Absinthe movie, did shoot his entire part over here within 3 weeks. I think everybody had a blast experiencing the Alps along with it’s advantages: Ride in the resort, hike a bit and build the next fine booter. No sleds, no hassle with other crews and of course ending the days in a cosy apres ski environment.

How many crews do you generally have filming and how do you manage them – ie deciding who goes where with who?

Absinthe has four principle filmers: Justin Hostynek, Shane Charlebois David Vladyka and myself. At the same time we have several filmers helping out for a few weeks or even months. Usually we have betwen 4-5 crews out there. Each filmer has his set of riders that he brought up and takes care of. Crews team up, riders switch up and meet up with other crews. Snow is always the driving factor but other aspects can come into play like logistics of a team shoot, contests that are nearby another crew. Most of the time it works out although it can happen that riders always arrive at the wrong time in terms of weather and snow which affects their parts.

There’s quite a few new faces to the roster this year. How did these guys come aboard, and how did you all gel?

We always look out for new talents. We listen to our riders who bring up suggestions of who they would like to ride with. The camaraderie on the hill is an essential component of a productive shoot. What can’t be seen in the film is the interpersonal feelings that go on behind the camera. The gap between a perfect day/shoot and coming home with nothing in the can is very narrow. That these guys all can ride amazing is out of the question. So a lot comes down to the filmer who makes the right calls and the crew constellations. Danny Kass, for example, jumped into the cab with me on the way to the ISPO in Munich and was like: “Hey Brusti, I want to film a video part!” – Totally out of the blue! 24 hours later we got it all sorted out and were off to the hill! Brandon Cocard has his first appearance and managed to deliver a great part. Scotty Lago is back after four years with great action. Manuel Diaz ran into the crew that was shooting on Stevens Pass – Shane called me up and told me about this amazing Chilean snowboarder. We got him in our crews mid season for a few shoots and are very stoked to have the first ever South American rider in our film – without any sponsor backing him. So really anything is possible!

Did you bring anything else new to the table this year? New locations, new equipment, new direction for the film?

More snow in Europe is probably to biggest highlight throughout the entire film! LAAX definitely had the best season in a really long time snow wise. We saw that LAAX was the epicentre of the big snowfalls in the Alps. A few new faces in the crew will give the movie a refreshing feel as well. Especially stoked on Kass, Lago, Eric Jackson & Brandon Cocard!

What were your personal highlights from the season, or from seeing the footage?

The highlight was the days in LAAX with Nicolas, Wolle and Justin. It was the best time filming. Not many people, every day snowfall, very exhausting work on the hill but it was magical. At night the King of the Castle, Nicolas Müller, put on Raclette & Fondue. Once the big snowfalls came to an end and the upper mountain opened up the kicker sessions started. I was particularely stoked on the effort that Nicolas put in on finally getting a 1080 in. On his very last try before the sun would leave and after approx ten times hiking this monstreous in run, he finally got it. Not that it was especially difficult of a trick but the sweet spot of the landing was only about 1-2 meters long. If you landed a bit higher he’d hit the knuckle and a bit too far he’d hit flat. That was the challange of this jump. The relief is that much bigger the more effort you have to put in, right?

Did filming Nico and Gigi’s Real Snow backcountry entries hinder or help Resonance? Or neither?

I felt that it motivated both riders even more and therefore resulted in even better shots. Nicolas knew he had to get a 1080 if he wanted to win which he would have otherwise probably not have tried to get.

Everyone always talks of the family feel within the Absinthe crew. How important is this to your films?

As mentioned before, a lot comes down to the crew vibe. Being surreounded with good people that have the same understanding and expectations helps a lot. We have a few new additions this year and it worked out great with every single one. The Absinthe family is growing… it’s been an addictive substance ever since anyway!

There’s an internet out there full of crap to watch. Why should kids sit still and watch a whole, crafted snowboard movie?

There is a need for both. News & highlights you get on the net and a full length snowboard movie will have a deeper effect that hopefully sparks more emotions. The longing for the next day out in the mountain with your friends. [It’s] short attaintion span vs sustainable pleasure.

The shred movie landscape has changed immeasurably in the 13 years you’ve made Absinthe films. Why do you think Absinthe has stood the test of time?

The credit belongs to our crew – Absinthe Films is a collective of people. Justin Hostynek, David Vladyka, Shane Charlebois behind the cameras and editing desks as well as Patrick Salama who has been editing our web shows and of course Kelli Kellenberger who helpus us all stay organized. This is the foundation of Absinthe Films and we all have been working together for years. A retracted mechanical engine! When we started we had a good sense for the young and upcoming riders that stood loyal to us over all these years and we always went the extra mile to satisfy our audience. On top of that we tried to adapt to the changing environment with new formats like our tours and shows. It was a hell of a ride and Onboard was there since the beginning to back us up!



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