Last winter, Holmlands was in Revelstoke working on their film, The Revelstoke Diaries.
The Revelstoke Diaries is a short film and web series, going behind the scenes of winter in Revy.
Taking a twist on the traditional ski movie format, the film spends time with local people in our community, who reflect different aspects of Revelstoke life.
Ahead of the film release on October 4th, we caught up with Director and Producer Cameron Hall to tell us more about the project and why Revelstoke made the ideal filming location.
Tell us more about the idea behind “The Revelstoke Diaries”.
Everything Holmlands stands for is about storytelling inspired by adventure and in particular, we love ski movies! It’s how our business started.
The first thing we ever did was host a screening in London for ski film powerhouse Matchstick Productions back in 2014. Since that event, we have gone on to host screenings for Matchstick Productions throughout the UK and in Europe.
We also make content for our adventure loving clients in addition to developing our own film projects. So it was a natural step for us to create our own film within the genre.
As much as we love to see big mountain skiing action on the big screen, many of the annual ski films have a similar style – with more of a focus on epic powder shots than the people who feature in the films and the locations in which they are shot.
We wanted to turn the concept of the traditional ski movie on its head by going behind the scenes of a ski town itself, speaking with members of the local community who reflect different aspects of mountain life - on and off the mountain. We couldn’t think of a better place for the project than Revy.
Why did you choose to film Revelstoke above other destinations?
Of course, the concept can apply to any ski town, but it was always Revelstoke we had in mind for this project, the main reason being the people.
From the outside looking in, Revelstoke has always appeared to be much more than just a ski town.
It’s obviously not the most convenient place to travel to, so we felt the people who live there must have deep reasons as to why they chose to live and work in Revelstoke.
With that idea in mind, we felt there was a good chance of being able to interview some interesting characters, with the colour and dimension that would help enable that “twist” on the traditional ski movie format we were looking for.
As you can imagine, everyone who features in the film shares a passion and love for the outdoors, but they are very much real people who have something different to say and not just pro skiers who typically take the spotlight within the genre.
On a personal level, I have lived in BC in the past and skied in Revelstoke numerous times over the years, and always felt there was more to Revelstoke than just the ski hill.
Ultimately, we saw Revelstoke as a real town, with real people – which were the essential ingredients for what we wanted to create.
How do you select the people to take part?
We had an open call for participants that we posted in the local community groups on social media and were overwhelmed with the response.
Everyone we spoke to had something different to say, which was great and actually changed our initial plan.
Our original idea was to focus on three stories and go deeper into them but due to the response, we expanded this to nine.
It meant we couldn’t quite go into as much depth with each interviewee as we had intended at first, but it enabled us to shine more of a spotlight on different characters within the community reflecting more aspects of the town - which we felt ultimately served the purpose of the original concept better than only featuring three stories.
We also wanted to be as representational as we could – speaking with people of different ages, genders, backgrounds, interests – as it would have been very easy to just focus on white male skiers, which we wanted to avoid.
We also wanted to maintain a stronger local dimension by featuring Canadian Citizens only. Of course, we are aware ski towns have a lot of seasonal workers that come and go, but we wanted to keep focus on people that have roots within Revelstoke and are not simply passers-by. That was important.
With a tight filming window of just six days and lots to pack it – we could only feature people who were available during that window too. As with any project, with more time, budget and resource - the film could have gone in any number of directions – but we were more than happy with the people we had the chance to film with and feel they provide a good overview of Revelstoke life through the gaze of the local.
The film includes conversations with a local entrepreneur, environmental activists, police officer, retiree, mental health campaigner, local artist, train driver, night groomer and musicians – so whilst we couldn’t cover all bases, I think we managed to cover quite a few – all Canadians and all with strong Revelstoke connections.
What was the most surprising part of the production process?
I have to say it was the cooperation of everyone we spoke to in the community. Everyone was so accommodating and understanding in what we wanted to achieve – which is not always the case with projects in London!
From the team at Revelstoke Powder Rentals who helped equip our crew, to the hospitality of the team at The Sutton Place Hotel and permissions given for filming at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, The Revelstoke Nordic Centre, The Revelstoke Curling Club and The Railway Museum; everyone was so helpful and friendly with everything. It just validated our decision even more that Revelstoke was the right choice for this project.
Can you share any behind the scenes stories?
Our whole schedule was incredibly tight – with back to back filming, so there was little ley way.
Our first day of filming was after a long journey from London, and late-night drive from Calgary, with a shoot planned on the mountain. Somehow our crew got lost on their way down to the bottom of Stoke Chair and ended up at the Ripper instead – by the time we reconnected we’d lost a few hours of filming time on the hill, so had less ski footage than we would have liked and had to ditch a whole segment we had in mind - but managed to make things work by capturing some different types of shots.
We had also scheduled an interview with folk rock band Shred Kelly ahead of a gig they were performing at the Traverse pub on the Friday evening, part of their 10th anniversary tour. We were supposed to speak with the band in the afternoon and record an acoustic performance, but they got stuck on the highway from Golden and were delayed by several hours due to the snow.
We ended up having less than 10 minutes to sit down with the band, before their gig, so it was all a bit hectic, but we managed to capture what we needed before their show (just!).
Where and when can people watch the film?
We are also delighted the film has also been selected by several film festivals including the International Nature Film Festival in Gödöllő, Hungry and the Winter Film Festival in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, France.
We will also be holding a special preview screening in London ahead of our UK Premiere of Matchstick Productions “Huck Yeah!” at the Soho Hotel on Friday October 2nd.
“The Revelstoke Diaries” features Revelstoke residents, Chris Pawlitsky, Greg Hill, Izzy Lynch, Bill Pollock, Kelsey Adam, Mark Baron, Shred Kelly, Leah Allison, Faron Ling, Kristy Whale with a cameo appearance from Gnorm the Powder Gnome.
Holmlands would like to thank Tourism Revelstoke, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Somewon Collective, Sutton Place Hotels, Revelstoke Powder Rentals and Protect Our Winters Canada for their support of the project.
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Please refrain from visiting Revelstoke for non-essential travel at this time. If you are in Revelstoke, please ensure that you are taking precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and following provincial health guidelines. Please check current Provincial Health Orders before travelling.