Justin Hostynek is one of snowboarding’s most prolific and experienced filmmakers. As a founder of Absinthe Films, he has worked for over a decade to elevate the creativity and craft of making snowboarding movies. Along the way he and his crew have delivered straight up classics, exposed some of the world’s best riders and made the culture of snowboarding richer for their efforts. If you’ve seen an Absinthe Film, you know. Justin Hostynek is inspired and inspiring. He is currently on the North American Premier Tour for their latest shred epic, Now/Here, hitting theaters across the country and into Canada. He took some time to talk to TransWorld and answer some questions about the movie.
How did you come up with the name Now/Here? It’s better not to talk about—it gives people something to think about. We just put it out there. The first few years it was harder to come up with the names, but we’ve been at this a long time. It’s almost more like waiting for the right time for the name to be used. We come up with the name early—December or January and then see how it fits …
What are some new spots you hit this winter? One of the new spots I didn’t go to—Brusti and TimManning went—was Kamchatka in Russia. They went with JP [Solberg], Terje and Freddie [Kalbermatten]. That turned out to be one of my favorite sections of the movie for sure. Some really unique flavor; some really sick riding but also just some really unique stuff going down.
You’ve got Kalbermatten back in the mix! Yeah, we’re stoked to have him back on the crew; it’s been a few years. He in Tribal way back—the first movie Brusti and I worked on together. He was in Transcendence and Vivid … He filmed in Kamchatka, Saas Fee, and he came over to B.C., too.
How did Alaska work out for you this year? I posted up there for seven weeks. There were some of the heaviest waits I’ve had to go through up there. One stretch was like three weeks of rain.
How do you keep from going crazy? It’s pretty easy for me to stay mellow, but the riders start to freak out and pull the plug and then I have to find people—the right people—to fill their seats. That can be kinda stressful for me. But, I read. Read good books.
Any recommendations? The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. That was an important book to read. It’s crazy—it’s got so much crucial information in there.
What about some street highlights from the movie? This was definitely Cale’s [Zima] best moment in shooting with us over the past few years. He’s got a full segment—super creative stuff. Just really fun to watch him ride. He has that creative spark; he doesn’t have to go out searching for spots forever, he just finds something wherever he’s at. Bode Merrill was injured for most of the season, so he only got five weeks of filming with us and he pulled together a full section in those five weeks that’s super rad. That guys is just unreal—how good he is.
This was his first year going to Alaska, right? Yeah, he came to Alaska with us. He had gone through knee surgery in the fall and had ongoing problems with it, had to get it scoped … He did really well though. He also picked out his own song—one of the best ones in the movie by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. It’s solid.
Any other soundtrack highlights? Well, I like Bode’s song, but this may be my favorite soundtrack we’ve had. I really like the music in Optimistic a lot, too. This one may be better. We have some really good Gorillaz, Toots & The Maytals …
In Nicolas Müller and Jake Blauvelt’s section together? Yeah it’s basically all interior B.C. riding.
You guys are still shooting lots of film, mixing it with Digi? Yeah, four out of five of our filmers are still shooting Super 16 film, so there’s still a ton of it in there. I’m personally not a huge fan of the digital, but in the urban situations, it makes a lot more sense to shoot digi. Making it all blend together worked out really well. I’m happy with the film, with how it came out.
How has theater response been? It’s always hard to judge. I always hear, “Best one ever!” but you know, people are stoked when they walk out of the theater. I need to wait for the dust to settle and hear some criticisms. Every year you have some criticism and I’m really looking forward to hearing what those are. That’s important.
What is this, 11 movies for Absinthe? What keep you inspired? It’s the eleventh movie I’ve done with Brusti, but it’s the 18th movie that I’ve done. What inspires me is just the snowboarding, for one. Just being with people who love to snowboard and are down to do it just for the fun. Luckily, I get a lot of those guys on our crew—they enjoy their life, and it’s just really fun to be around. For me to have a job where I can be out in nature is the ultimate. And I get to snowboard, even if I have to carry a big backpack, that’s my burden, but it’s mellow.
So are you already thinking about the next season, the next movie? Yeah, we started thinking about that in the spring, so we’re already pretty well into the next round. Otherwise, there’s not a lot of time to get going. The tour comes hot on the heels of finishing the movie, movies just in stores now, the tour is gonna last for another month and then there’s only another few months before the snow starts to fall, so we have to have a lot of stuff lined up by then.
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Watch the Trailer for NowHere