A packed house for the start of the movie. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
Snowboard fanatics around the globe often complain that companies in our culture "don't do team videos anymore." Well, as of last night, in Denver, Colorado, iconic action sports footwear and apparel brand Vans has silenced them for quite a while. For the last two years, Vans has poured resources and marketing initiatives into their newest film, Landline., and the end result makes one realize that every dollar spent on the team's travel, the filmers' paycheck and a riders' print or digital advertisement was worth every penny. For a brief recap, I will say that the film is beautiful and stunning, the riding is some of the best I have ever seen in a snowboard film, and the editing and song selection is second-to-none. But we're not done here.
Before the film was even in production, Vans Snow Global Brand Manager Kevin Casillo had acquired one of the best filmers and editors in snowboarding today, Tanner Pendleton, to head up the gargantuan task of making Landline.. Tanner is the mastermind behind Jed Anderson's short film Crazy Loco and was a principal cinematographer for both Déjà Vu films, as well as many other edits that have circulated the internet throughout the years, and his penchant for unique editing and an artistic approach to filmmaking instilled the belief in the Vans crew that Tanner was the right man for the job. (Editor's Note: They were correct in that assumption.) On top of signing Tanner, Vans hired Hayden Rensch, Harry Hagan, Skylar Brent and Jake Price, who between them have thousands of hours behind a camera and in the editing bay. Hayden has directed Déjà Vu and Encore, two of the most memorable snowboard movies of the last twenty years while Harry worked alongside Hayden and Tanner on those movies as well. Skylar Brent played a major role in filming the last batch of Union Binding Company films, and Jake Price--a living legend among cinematographers--has worked on movies from Robot Food to Lukas Huffman's ir77 as well as directing arguably two of the best biopics of all time, Gigi Rüf's 9191 and Pat Moore's Mr. Plant. Needless to say, this is one of the only films in snowboarding history in which the filmer roster was as stacked as the rider roster.
Not only were the filmers and riders the most unique combination in recent snowboard film memory, but also, the use of 16mm film in the making of Landline. was a huge part of the production as well. By utilizing 16mm, Landline. has a very artistic feel, from start to finish. The colors, the visuals and the editing all mesh perfectly with the riding to make Landline. one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. Developing film is a very expensive endeavor, however, when done right, it's worth the money, because it looks very different from all-digital films and gives the movie a "feel" from start to finsh, and Landline. accomplished this unbelievably well.
Cole Navin, Dillon Ojo, and Jake Kuzyk. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
The film kicked off with one of the heaviest openers in recent memory by none other than SLC local and one of the hardest working riders alive, Sam Taxwood. Sam kicked off the film with a set of explosive riding in the backcountry and the streets and his slams are almost as spectacular as his stomps, proving that Sam always puts in the work for the final product and it paid off for the young gun in Landline. as he catapulted himself to the next level with this video part.
Sam's segment transitions into a dream-like part featuring Jackson Hole legend Bryan Iguchi. Accessing terrain by Zodiac dinghy, Guch effortlessly navigates powder fields set on the ocean and in an almost alien environment. From there, it segues directly into another Jackson-raised rider, Blake Paul. Blake has long been under the tutelage of riders like Guch and Travis Rice and you can see that in his riding. He's light on his feet and confident in his approach. Blake is leading the forefront of the new vanguard of powder riders and his offering in Landline. blends creativity with technicality in a big mountain setting that sets him apart from other riders his age.
Following Blake was Danimals and mark my words: Dan Liedahl put out the part that we all wanted to see from him. Full-throttle, hell-for-leather snowboarding with an ease about it that screams Dan's signature. It's hard to put into words but Dan's video part in Landline. is absolutely fucking mental. That's about the best way to describe it.
Mike Rav and Danimals. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
Wolle Nyvelt was injured for much of the filming of Landline. but what his part may lack in quantity, it surely makes up for in quality. Wolle is one of the most powerful riders alive and you can see it when he charges down a pillow line or points it into a backside turn. The dude moves a metric shit ton of snow and it's only accomplished by decades of fine-tuning his craft to near perfection.
Mike Rav's up next and it's a full-on footage factory. Rav stakes his claim in snowboarding by making anything a spot. He can literally clip up on a red curb if he needed to, and his relatable approach to riding a snowboard has made him one of the most popular riders on earth, and it's perfectly portrayed in this film. Rav's enthusiasm exudes through the screen and caps off his best video part to date.
Darrell Mathes has been in the game for a long time and it's evident in everything he puts into his video parts. In order to have longevity in snowboarding, you've got to have equal parts skill and work ethic and Darrell's Landline. offering is an opus to a career well-led. He has always been one of my favorite snowboarders because of his unique ability to blend gigantic spots with technical tricks. Darrell is a perfect balance of old school street riding with new age spots and his part is absolutely unreal.
Dillon Ojo can make any spot work. So much so, in fact, that the majority of "spots" that he hits seem impossible until he greases them. It's absolutely absurd what this kid can do on a snowboard. From ledge transfers to rails and rail transfers to ledges, the kid is on an absolute tear in the streets and he put out an edge-of-your-seat part that will blow minds once this film gets in the hands of the general public. That's a fact.
Jamie Lynn has been on Vans for longer than most of us have been riding and he has solidified himself as one of snowboarding's backbone riders, helping shape our culture through his riding, his art and his overall vision. His power and prowess on a snowboard are unmatched and right before Pat Moore's part kicks off, Jamie demonstrates exactly why he is every snowboarder's favorite snowboarder.
Zak Marben, Jamie Lynn, and Jake Price. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
Pat's part kicks the film into high gear. It's loud, it's fast, it's energetic and one of his strongest video parts to date and capping off over a decade of dominance in the video part realm.
Cole Navin burst onto the scene a few years back by putting out a mind-melter in Jon Stark's classic Rendered Useless which earned him a spot in that year's Real Snow. In Landline., Cole takes his unique approach to riding a snowboard to new heights with massive rail tricks and intermittent coffin slides. Cole's riding is spontaneous but detailed in every aspect, making him one of the most interesting and exciting young riders to watch. His part has it all. Huge tricks and relatable riding that is sure to stoke out every genre of rider who watches Landline..
Next up is Arthur Longo. The former halfpipe Olympian has since transitioned into the backcountry and is arguably more dominant out of bounds than inside a superpipe. His ability to remain calm and comfortable at terminal velocity speeds is what comes across most in his segment, as he fucks up everything in his path en route to the valley floor. Arthur's part is unreal and principal cinematographer adds to his riding with lucid 16mm follow cams that would put even the most expensive drone to shame.
Power couple Pat Moore and Chelsie Stegemiller. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
Finally, the ender goes to none other than Jake Kuzyk. Kuzyk put together--in my opinion--the closest thing I've ever seen to a perfect video part. His riding is precise and explosive and everything is done to absolute perfection and he caps off one of my favorite snowboard videos of all time. I loved Landline. and I can't wait to watch it again.
To put it into one word, Tanner Pendleton and the Vans crew made an effortless film. It was easy, beautiful and awe-inspiring. The riding, the 16mm film and the personalities of the Vans snowboard team intertwine to make what many are sure to consider the movie of the year. Do yourself a favor and buy Landline. as soon as humanly possible and watch it over and over again, because it won't be recreated any time soon and it's arguable that you will never see a snowboard film quite like this again. Kudos, boys. You blew minds.