This month the movie “Regeneration” drops. We chat with one of its creators about snowboarding, the climate, and, more importantly, who the hell skins an up track without poles.
Last winter Kootenay snowboarders Jeffrey Hurteau and Jonathon Paar created a short snowboard movie called “Regeneration,” a movie that not only features great backcountry riding, it also shares a narrative about the current climate crisis and the impacts we are experiencing in our own backyards.
We caught up with Jeffrey to ask him a few more questions about the creation of “Regeneration.” Below is the interview.
Hey Jeffrey, congrats on the film launch this month. It was you and Jonathan Paar behind this one – how long have you guys known each other?
Jon was the director and videographer and I was the athlete. We first met in 2015 working at a tree planting camp in northern BC. Jon’s girlfriend, Kate Borucz, does the writing and narration for the project. In fact, we couldn’t make projects like this happen without the support of our friends, family, peers, and mentors.
How’d you get into the film biz?
Jon has been getting creative behind a camera since 2011. He started with photography and slowly developed a passion for film. The creative process of film making is probably the most frustrating and rewarding experience. He first followed me with a camera in 2017 to make promotional videos to share on social media for Ripping Giraffe Boardshop. We had a good time and worked really well together so decided to keep getting creative. It came quite organically out of a passion for snowboarding and maintaining a high level of stoke.
What’s the inspiration behind “Regeneration”?
To be honest the idea of Regeneration came after we started filming. We found ourselves exploring and playing around in the Sitkum Valley near Nelson which was heavily burned a few years ago. The contrast of burnt trees against the white snow was eye opening. We came to realize how devastating the natural cycle of fire and regrowth can be and how we, as creatures of consumption, exasperate the process. The fact that we both have a tree planting background ties into the story quite well: it’s our way of justifying and giving back to the environment we take so much out of.
There are a lot of scenes from various seasons: how long did it take to create this?
We filmed for 12 days in February 2019 and had all the footage on the back burner throughout the spring and summer while we both went back to work. Jon works for the BC Wildfire Service in the Kootenays and I run a tree planting crew on the coast. The editing process took much of the year and we filmed the tree planting sequence in September.
There’s definitely a climate crisis theme to this but it has to be asked: why use snowmobiles in the creation of the film? Is there carbon neutrality here?
We thought a lot about taking out that sequence, but the truth is we do use trucks and snowmobiles and other carbon emitting tools for work and recreation. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the world we live in and the infrastructure we are working with. Although not carbon neutral, there is a lot to be said about carrying yourself and 50 pounds of filming gear up a mountain. The film does go on to say how we are aware of our footprint – we know we aren’t perfect but by bringing attention to the climate crisis we can at least raise awareness until we are in a position to make better decisions on the types of tools we use for recreation. Innovative options like electric snowmobiles are a realistic possibility, so is carbon neutrality. We are excited to work towards that and inspire others to think consciously of their own impact.
What was one of the most fun moments from the filming?
We learned a lot about pushing our limits. I was attempting lines and tricks I didn’t think I could do and Jon was experimenting and developing his creative style. When it comes down to it though, we had the most fun just getting ready for each day. Jeff cooks a mean breakfast – the perfect start to a calorie-intensive day!
What was the biggest challenge?
We filmed for 12 days because that’s specifically how many days off I had to work with. Jon left his home in Revelstoke during that time, which isn’t always easy to justify for a passion project. Luckily, both of us have very supportive and understanding partners. On a more technical note, the freezing temperatures were a challenge to work around. Jon had to keep spare batteries close to his body, exposing himself to the elements every time the batteries needed changing. Also, it snowed quite heavily for 11 of the 12 days; working in the elements comes with its own sets of challenges, which I think we were able to overcome for the final product.
At one point in the movie there’s footage of you skiing up without poles. Hardcore. Intentional?
Intentional? Yes. Hardcore? No. Just lazy [laughs]. It’s my signature laid back style I guess.
What’s next for you guys?
We hope to keep making films that combine snowboarding and storytelling. We are developing storylines and project ideas for this coming winter and for the next several years. We hope to gain support from nonprofits, local board shops, and brands and share our stories and passion for winter sports. We have a lot of ideas and a lot of passion, the combination of those two things has limitless possibilities and we are just excited to see how far we can take it.