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‘Tamashii’ the Movie Dropping Soon

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It’s almost January Japow time folks! And with that in mind we caught up with filmmaker and Hemlock Creative film company owner Ross Reid to talk about the upcoming release of his Japan-based social documentary Tamashii (which means spirit in Japanese).

Rather than just make another ski porn movie, Ross says:

“Tamashii explores the our current cultural habit of showing off on social media by creating an experiment where each of the skiers in the movie (reliant on social media for their sponsors, exposure, job and all) have to switch offline and live in the moment on a ski trip to Japan. 

I wanted to make a movie that wasn’t just another ski movie with no real message and tap in to the issue of people needing social media to prove all the cool things that they are doing in their lives. I wanted to explore particularly how people seem to need to post what they’re skiing more importantly than just going out and skiing it. So we all travelled to Japan for five weeks to unplug completely, cease posting, and make a movie about it.”

Annaliese: But wait I thought if it’s not on Instagram it didn’t happen? 

Ross: (Laughs) Yeah something like that, right.

IMG_8653

This is Ross

Annaliese: Ok so more seriously, your movie observes the irony in social media being used as a medium to promote outdoor activities like skiing while actually preventing people from going outside and actually going skiing type thing? The whole dependence on external validation and social currency that is facilitated through mediums like Facebook and Instagram etc.?

Ross: Exactly! I wanted to get everyone thinking about the impact of social media on their lives, on how it impacts their enjoyment and passion for skiing, and how they feel about what they’ve achieved in light of it or without it. I worked for a big ski company for long time and I saw so much of the sport focussed on recording things rather than doing it. It was all about likes, followers, posting at certain times of the day, and manipulating shit to look amazing or to be something it wasn’t really.

I wanted to test what would happen if people who were in this world of constantly recording and promoting stopped doing that. I wanted to see if they could actually do it and to find out how addicted they all really are.

Annaliese: What was the outcome?

Ross: You’ll have to watch the movie to find out!

Photo: Shannon Skouras

Photo: Shannon Skouras, Skier: Andy Mahre

 

Anna Segal

Photo: Shannon Skouras, Skier: Anna Segal

Annaliese: Touché. And tell us about why and how you picked your cast?

Ross: The movie features Andy Mahre, Karl Forstvedt, and Anna Segal. They’re three prominent and very different types of skiers in their own right. I wanted to create an intimate and rounded perspective of the issue.

Andy is a live-in-the-moment, not fussed about social media pow skier, well known regardless and a seasoned industry pro. Karl is the antithesis to that being a newer kid on the block with a big underground following through Instagram and Newschoolers for his urban and park skiing. And Anna offers the female perspective of a big name freeskier in the industry, with a fourth in the Sochi Olympics and at an interesting time in her career as she transitions to full time big mountain skier.  I had to call each of them up and pitch the Japan trip but I actually kept the whole experiment of completely switching offline quiet, until they were on the trip where I Andy to ask them. I wasn’t sure they would go for it otherwise!

Annaliese: Yeah I’m not sure I would’ve have but then, I mean going to Japan. Actually why Japan?

Ross: Well it’s the ultimate playground of powder, pillows, and aesthetics to defy posting about for them.

Annaliese: That’s cool and kind of evil ha.

Ross: Trust me they got a few good turns.

Photo: Shannon Skouras, Skier: Karl Forstvedt

Photo: Shannon Skouras, Skier: Karl Forstvedt

Annaliese: So tell me are there any breakdowns or tantrums?

Ross: Hey that’s what you watch the movie for! But ok, what I will tell you is the result was really interesting and unexpected. I think each of them found it harder than they thought they would. Some people didn’t realise how much they cared about posting on social media, some had problems with their sponsors about not, people got busted caving. It was a pretty interesting process to commit to and I don’t think any of us realised the protrusion of social media on our lives, either for good or bad. For myself, I liked switching off. I decided to delete Facebook after our trip.

Annaliese: I think I could do it. Well maybe not for emails.

Ross: Try it. I dare you.

Annaliese: Maybe I will. And so when and where can we expect to see this piece of anthropological evidence about skier addictions and attitudes?

Ross: It drops on I-tunes just after Christmas.

Annaliese: Great, thanks Ross. I look forward to seeing it. But wait before you go I have one last question. Are you pro or anti Facebook, Instagram, the whole positing social media activity now? Is it all-bad?

Ross: I realise professional skiers need it. It’s their job and a tool they use to promote themselves and help sell product. I think if it makes you happy cool, go for it. It’s a fun way to banter with friends and keep people informed about your life and the cool stuff you do.

I think it gets weird is when people look to it for recognition of what they’re doing and as a measure of how cool they are socially. I mean it’s someone clicking a like button or tapping a screen with their thumb you know? I believe sometimes it’s better to not take a picture. What’s so wrong with enjoying a day or week or season with your buddies and the people present in the moment and having the memory etched in your brain not on a server somewhere?

I realise I had to use a fancy camera to bring people this message but I thought it was important to tell. We don’t need a daily record of everyone’s season or for an experience to only count and have meaning based on the attention it gets virtually from others now do we?

Annaliese: Deep, but I couldn’t agree more Ross! Wait before you go, I’m just quickly going to Gram about this… Ok thanks for your time!

Check out the Tamashii trailer here team and lets see what the result is. I’ll post about it on Facebook and I think Ross thinks I’m addicted.

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