LOS AMIGOS: Behind The Film

Introducing the 2019 WSSF Intersection winners, Los Amigos! Impressed by this playful film showcasing some serious talent both in front and behind the lens we were itching to catch up with the crew. Los Amigos started a few years back when brothers Dylan Runner, Axel Runner, and roomie Connor Martin were attending their first year of university at UBC. Mistaken as film students, the posse really only has one proper film student (Kate Smith) with the rest of the crew being passionately self-taught.

Dylan shares Los Amigos intention, “We wanted to start making edits as a group that showcased who we are, what we do and tried to push the boundaries of what could be done inbounds at Whistler Blackcomb. Since then, Los Amigos has grown into the group of UBC students and Whistler locals that I call my closest friends, but we still have the same goals in mind.”

INTERVIEW WITH DYLAN RUNNER

Amigo flying above Black Tusk shot on Whistler Mountain by the talented Craig Barker.

SBC: Is this your first stab at a ski movie?

DR: Yes, to an extent. In the past, we would gather shots throughout a season and then find songs to put it all together. This is the first time have ever put this much planning prior to shooting; we had our whole idea, script and song choices dialed before the week began.

SBC: Who played what roles?

DR: Cobo was in charge of editing and did an incredible job. We had almost a terabyte of footage to go through, and we spent hours every day going through everything. Rather than having fun sledding with friends, Cobo stayed home some of the days putting it all together. Kate was in charge of all camera equipment and was a huge help when it came to shadowing the crew and capturing the candid moments that our video relied on. Most of the filming in the video was captured by the athletes, notably Henry. Most days our crew would split up, most of us filming on resort or in Brandywine, and Henry would go to other snowmobile accessed locations with Jacob and Friends. Cobo and Dylan filmed the park segment with additional footage from Connor, but overall, capturing all the footage really was a team effort.

Dylan’s brother Axel Runner, dishes on his role, “Dylan was the man with the plan. He coordinated athletes, shooting dates and locations, chose music, skied, filmed, and oversaw the majority of the editing process. It was key that he communicated his vision to everyone involved and he assembled the perfect team for the job.

Team work makes dream work. Photo by Craig Barker.

SBC: What was the biggest challenge?

DR: By far the biggest challenge was managing variability under a strict time limit, and the lack of sleep that resulted. We had mapped out a plan for every day of the week, trying to fit in everything while dealing with variable light, higher than expected avalanche risk, and unexpected setbacks. The first two days went perfectly, capturing most of the footage for two out of our three segments, in addition to our intro skit. Every day, we were then left with an overwhelming amount of footage that left us working into the early morning, all to wake up at 6 am to do it all again. We had 99% of the filming done by day 5 and were left grinding out the rest of the editing process for the next two days. The final night, Tim was a huge help in finalizing sound and color, and with the support of Cobo and Kate, stayed up until 7 am finalizing the finishing touches.

SBC: What are you most proud of in the project?

DR: What really stands out to me are the shots with multiple riders shredding at the same time, which I think really showcases who we are and what we do. We had guys, girls, teleskiers, and high school students, all having the best time. The level of coordination needed to pull these off was something that had worried me before shooting started, but everything came together better than I could have hoped.

My favourite moment was on the last day of shooting, we had wrapped up our backcountry booter session and all skied down together under the moonlight. Stoke was at an all-time high and it was a perfect end to an intense 5 days of shooting.

“The opening line with 3 skiers in an absolute no fall zone is one to remember. Dylan Hardenberg (first in line) is the only telemark skier to have ever skied that line and Carlene Loughlin (2nd in line) may be the only girl to have skied it too. I could be wrong, but still, I was super impressed by their level of skiing.”

SBC: Any funny mishaps?

DR: So we rented two Fujifilm XT3s from a camera house in Vancouver called Inspired Image, and none of us had worked with these cameras before so we spend a night fiddling with them and figuring out all the settings before shooting began. The next morning was the kickoff for our week of filming and we had gathered a big crew to shoot inbounds at Whistler Blackcomb. We were lining up the first shot, all the skiers were in position, and that’s when we realized that we didn’t know how to make the cameras start recording. It took us 10 minutes of googling on our phones to finally figure out that we had to switch the camera into video mode and then press the shutter button, what a great way to kick off the week!

One of the rowdiest Blackcomb lines. If you know, you know. Photo by Craig Barker.

SBC: Tell us about the injury that occurred and how that amigo is doing?

DR: My brother Axel and I have done this line at the top of Peak chair called “Chopsticks” which is a huge slab of rock that you have straight-line before entering Whistler bowl. We thought it would be cool to have three people doing this at the same time, and Morgan stepped up to join us. Unfortunately, Morgan clipped a rock near the bottom which sent him tumbling into the hard packed moguls below. The result: a shattered clavicle, broken tibia, two broken toes on his left foot and a partial ACL tear. Morgan says. “I’m doing quite well, life on campus can be challenging at times, but we’re almost finished with finals! Looking forward to starting PT in the next few weeks and extremely stoked for next season.”

Considering the circumstances, we’re mindful that this freak accident could have ended much worse, and glad to hear that he will be back in a few months. A huge thank you to Ryan Proctor and Mallory from WSSF for organising the ramp so that Morgan could make it onto the stage and celebrate with us.

SBC: Would you do the whole Intersection thing again?

DR: Oh absolutely! This year was a huge learning experience and we can’t wait to show everyone what we have in store for next year. Keep your eyes peeled for our behind the scenes from this year’s Intersection to see what really goes into making one of these.

Los Amigos Crew. Photo by Craig Barker.

SBC: Anything else?

DR: A huge thank you to everyone who was involved: athletes, skiers, anyone who gave us a place to stay. Also, to WSSF, POW and CLIF for putting on this event and everyone behind the scenes who worked so hard to make this happen!

CREW: Dylan Runner, Axel Runner, Cobo Alvarez de Toledo, Kate Smith, Henry Eckert, Connor Martin, Tim Saylor, Jacob Boyd, and Morgan Tien.

Read more on Protect Our Winters Canada, a proud supporter of WSSF 2019 Intersection here.