Joey Kraft’s ski film, “Water The Plants,” recently won Amateur Ski Film of the Year and Amateur Skier of the Year (thanks to Jacob Belanger’s impressive closing segment) at the iF3 Festival.
We got the chance to catch up with Joey and ask him a few questions about his killer film
Check out the full video at the bottom of the interview
First off who are you, and what is your role in the film?
My name is Joey Kraft and I’m a filmmaker living in Pemberton BC, and at the moment I basically just film skiing year round. My role in this film was filmer/editor/producer I guess I would say.
How would you describe your film?
At the beginning of last year I was chatting with everyone in the film and we wanted to make something happen. I didn’t have any specific vision in mind but I was a big fan of all their riding styles. I wanted to showcase this along with showing off a bit of personality, and group dynamic because I thought those were equally as sick as the riding. And the “Water The Plants” is what we were able to create from that.
Where does the name “Water The Plants” come from?
The name actually came from a brainstorming session for a video the year prior and I liked it but I felt like the video didn’t quite fit as it was more of just an edit of all the homies which led to the name Braj. When it came to a name for this past year’s project I thought Water The Plants would be a good fit. Shout out to Kyle Coxworth for coming up with that one.
What are some of the shooting locations in this film?
We started off filming in the street in Calgary mid November and it was actually the first time anyone had skied that year. It’s pretty funny, some of the sickest clips in the video were actually the first time that skier put on ski boots or clipped in which I have a massive respect for. The rest of the street content was filmed around Vancouver and Prince George. The pow clips were all filmed in the Sea-to-Sky area. It was my first year on the sled but luckily I had friends who knew the area and were gracious enough to take me along and help dig me out constantly. Big shout out to everyone who helped dig, especially Adam Murray and Jacob Belanger.
Can you tell us a juicy story about something that happened while making this film?
We had a lot of funny times filming this past year. It’s hard to narrow it down to one that stands out but if I had to pick, it would be the story from the 450 disaster Jacob Belanger did on the double down rail.
The rail was at a school in Calgary, and we were there on a Sunday sessioning it. Jacob had the 450 disaster in mind, but the others were trying their tricks into the late afternoon, so we lost light before Jacob had the chance to hit it. We figured we’d come back the next day at 6:30 am to get it done before school started.
We showed up at 6:30 am, set up, and started hitting it in the dark around 7. On one of Jacob’s warm-up hits, he overshot the disaster, couldn’t get his feet under him on the landing, and slammed into a rock-hard landing, knocking the wind out of himself. As Jacob was on the ground groaning trying to breathe and dry heaving, I looked up and saw the first kid showing up for school, looking absolutely puzzled and frozen by what he just saw. At this point, I thought we missed our window as the school buses started showing up, and we didn’t realize that the stair set was the only way down to the school.
Following many disapproving looks and remarks from parents, I thought this session was definitely over, and we were leaving. However, Jacob was determined to get the clip and had a discussion with the principal. The conversation consisted of the principal telling us we couldn’t be there, and Jacob responding, “I completely understand and agree with you. We don’t have any business being here, but we’re just going to hit it a couple more times.” The principal would then tell us, “No, you need to leave,” and Jacob would respond with the same answer. They got stuck in a continuous loop of saying the exact same thing to each other over and over. Finally, the principal, I think, just got confused by the conversation and gave up and gave us the go ahead to keep going.
The principal would then tell us, “No, you need to leave,” and Jacob would respond with the same answer. They got stuck in a continuous loop of saying the exact same thing to each other over and over.
I had never seen anyone deal with getting kicked out of a spot by just saying no, but I guess in Jacob’s experience growing up riding street in Quebec alongside legends he learned the art of spot negotiation. So we fired the winch back up and kept trying while some parents and kids hung back to watch and cheer us on, which was pretty great. Eventually, the school got tired of us being there and started playing some loud buzzing over the intercom into the school yard, which messed up the audio in the last couple of hits. But we were able to get the clip. We left satisfied and even had some positive feedback from some of the parents, which is always a nice change from the usual scolding you get from hitting urban spots.
What are your plans for this winter?
We would like to create something again, these skiers are only getting better and I’m continuously having so much fun filming with them so the goal is to do it all again and maybe add in some new faces this year.
Huge shout out to the riders in the video, this video wouldn’t exist without them. Shout out to the sponsors and friends who helped, to Mom and Dad, and to our friends no longer with us Jack Spettigue, Owen Hawkins, Hugo Labelle.