Planks Athlete Kieran Nikula heads deep into the backcountry for his new film Frames. Created by Eddie Foster of 2Deep media, the film compares the stark differences of his own city life in Hong Kong and Kieran's life in the mountains. Find out what Kieran & Eddie had to say about the film when we asked them a few questions and watch the full film below.
What’s the main concept of the film and how did you both come up with it?
Kieran: Eddie and I pushed around many different ideas for a short film this year. It was difficult to decide which direction we should take the film at first, but Eddie is so talented and hardworking we felt we could try and do something different. For me, I have always felt that the people creating these films and edits we all love so much are just these mysterious guys behind the scenes that nobody knows anything about. So to pull the story back behind the camera and frame it through the perspective of the filmmaker was a story that I have been interested in seeing for years.
Eddie: As well as being a professional Skier, Kieran is also a creative. He has a passion for visual mediums and it is his drive that really pushed us to produce this unique narrative. I initially wanted to focus on his story and produce content around his lifestyle as it's so fascinating to me, that’s where the idea started to form. We began comparing our lifestyles, listing down every word that best described our contextual surroundings. It was this simple process that led to development of this film; we had formed our main idea, the juxtaposition between our lives. As Kieran mentioned, he wanted to focus on the BTS (Behind the Scenes) to tell my story as a 19-year-old filmmaker and how I perceive the world through my lens. Together we formed this image of a buzzing, kaleidoscopic 24-hour city visually contrasted with a place that holds natural eloquence. These two juxtaposing forces formed the perfect narrative in our eyes.
Where was the film shot and how did you find and decide on the locations?
Kieran: We filmed in Revelstoke, Blue River the home of Legendary Mike Weigele's Heli Skiing, Pemberton near Whistler, Clearwater and a few secret spots at Sun Peaks Resort. The finding of locations was mostly experimental and were just stumbled upon or guided by The Acres crew out of Revelstoke or Monster Energy Snowmobile athlete Brett Turcotte.
Photo: Zuzy Rocka
How much of an impact did the locations have on the overall style of the film?
Eddie: This was my first season exploring interior British Columbia; so following Kieran into these beautiful zones had a huge impact on my perspective of our contextual surroundings. As it was my first time exploring these locations, it added authenticity to my narrative, further helping me develop my understanding. Every location we visited would impact the style of the film, as I constantly came up with new ways to visually contrast the landscape with that of Hong Kong.
What are the challenges of working in such remote locations and what happens if you get into trouble?
Kieran: The access to many of the areas we filmed in were by snowmobile, and from there often ski touring or boot packing. Making this film was the first time Eddie had been on either touring equipment or a snowmobile and he took to it very quickly. But like anyone who goes out there it is easy to get your sled stuck or get snow on the sticky side of your skins so we definitely had some mishaps. The final day of filming we had wrapped up and headed back on our sleds to the small cabin we were staying in. We loaded up our sleds and headed off for the 45 minute ride out to the trucks. I had my truck loaded up with 2 pairs of skis, a large Cooler for our food, a small generator to charge batteries for the cameras and drones and my camp gear. We headed off and within a few minutes I became separated from the group as the generator jammed on the accelerator of my sled and whiskey throttled it upside down wedged in between 4 trees. I had managed to jump off and watched helplessly as my sled became entangled while fully loaded. I quickly cut the straps that held the generator on to the seat of my sled as the remaining gas was leaking out of the top of it all over the place. The cooler came off next and then digging of snow and cutting of trees ensued as I was left alone to get my sled unstuck and reloaded up for nearly an hour. You just have to come up with solutions to the problems as they arise.
How dependent are you on the kit you use when your out in the backcountry?
Kieran: The kit you bring out is everything. Each piece or item is critical. We both had extensive amounts of kit with us and I was extremely impressed at what Eddie would manage; a full camera set up with multiple lenses and batteries, tripod or glidecam, touring gear, full avalanche gear, Spare gloves, clothing, food and drink. His bag must have been 60-70 pounds at the lightest. For me the outerwear was extremely important, often times waiting out in the elements for extended periods of time, wet with sweat. The cold was never much of an issue, Planks base layers and a good wool sweater would create the perfect environment inside of the very light weight Yeti Hunter outerwear that I would wear. Getting Eddie in Planks outerwear was an important move for us this year. The 3L Good Times jacket with its warm insulation, numerous pockets for supplies, and great water proofing I know kept him out in the elements longer.
Photo: Zuzy Rocka
What are the challenges of working with mainly just one rider as opposed to an entire crew?
Kieran: Working with such a small crew has it's pros and cons. I really like working with Eddie. He has a very strong work ethic and it was easy for us to motivate each other to develop ideas, or get up and go ski touring hours before the sun rises or even stay out late long after the camera batteries have died just to keep scoping more terrain for the next time we can get to the area. A con was that 4 days a week I was working so that felt like we lost a lot of time we could have spent filming.
What was your favourite day / shot from the filming?
Kieran: My favourite shot is probably the hand-drag to switch. I was amazed seeing it afterwards how Eddie was able to keep me so perfectly in Frame being that close and hand held! Favourite day might have been the ski touring mission we went on with my dog Rowdy. We really wanted to get some footage of him shredding pow but he was still pretty awkward as my lady and I had only adopted him a few months before. But it was sick to take him out and cruise around in a snow storm with him. He was so gassed at the end of a few hours.
Eddie: My favourite day was when Kieran and I went ski touring at 5 am at Sun Peaks. We decided to wake up early to catch sunrise powder slashes. As the sun began to rise the weather quickly became stormy, shortly after that it started puking. We decided to ski back down to pick up some plastic bags in order to create a custom waterproof housing for my camera. I put my camera onto my glide cam, we caught first chair up and I had one of the best filming days of the season. My favourite shot from Frames would have to be Kieran’s double back flip in Blue River. I bugged Kieran all season saying, “do a double, the old you would’ve done it”. I was filming with Brett Turcotte when Kieran disappeared for a few hours. After finishing up Shooting with Brett, I began to look for Kieran but couldn’t spot him, when suddenly I see this figure tumbling down a huge face. Immediately I knew the double was happening!