Why Marie-France Roy wanted to make The Little Things movie

MFR has delivered some of the most progressive women's backcountry and street riding through appearances in Rome's No Correct Way, The Shred Remains, and Absinthe's NowHere. Two years ago, she decided to get progressive in a different way and pushed herself to confront her own struggles with environmentalism. The result is The Little Things movie, which released this fall and earned Marie multiple TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders’ Poll awards including Women’s Rider Of The Year and Women’s Video Part Of The Year. The film blends snowboarding with stories of sustainably-minded people as diverse as David Suzuki, ex-pro snowboarder Jonaven Moore, and Gretchen Bleiler.

Watch Marie’s movie, The Little Things, free for 24 hours at protectourwinters.org here.

Why? Days like this for start. Marie on some not-so-little things. Photo: Jussi Grznar

Why? Days like this for start. Marie on some not-so-little things. Photo: Jussi Grznar

Why did you want to make The Little Things?

I wanted to do something to give back and use snowboarding as a platform to get more exposure for the environmental cause. I just feel so blessed that I can snowboard for a living, and that I can stay connected to nature.

It seems like snowboard filmmaking is starting to change a bit, but the standard for most pros is to make a full part, or at least an action-based movie. The Little Things steps outside of the traditional approach. Were you nervous about that?

So nervous. I'm still so terrified. I feel like people are coming up to say good things to me but I'm like, "What do they really think?" I've heard people talk shit about snowboard movies before and if there's no legit action, people seem disappointed. I knew that forever, so maybe that's why I was scared, on top of feeling guilty about my own impact. But I just decided to say, "You know what? Nothing will ever change if you don't step out of your comfort bubble."

Well, it's not like there's no action. You have a pretty sick part that would be considered a full part in any other movie.

With two years to make the film, I wanted my full part in there. I knew that if it didn't have legit action shots that the movie wouldn't get legit recognition. We always want to see progression, so that totally makes sense. If I wanted to bring this message about the environment, I had to make sure I had a part so it would get taken seriously.

Did you have a hard time speaking out about the environment at first? How did you deal with your feelings of guilt?

My whole career I never thought I could speak about the environment because I represent sponsors, I represent consumption through promotion, I travel all over the world. It would be hypocritical. That's what everybody said—"So hypocritical." But I came to the realization that this is totally a problem. If we have to be perfect in order to speak, it's going to be game over for the planet. I realized that people are scared to act, because other people are going to hate on you. Yes, I ride for Red Bull. Yes, my impact is major, but I'm trying to do what I can, the best way I can. I'm trying to use the assets I have, even though some of them may seem negative, and turn them into positive ones. The hate's got to stop. The critics are stopping our evolution towards solutions.

You used Kickstarter to help fund the movie, on top of sponsors. What was that like?

I was terrified of Kickstarter, too. Seriously, I'm not a fan of social media and self-promotion. I've always had a hard time with it. I really had to put myself out there for Kickstarter and my name had to be on it because it was my project. That was really tough. I've never spent so much time on the computer. Just shipping all the rewards is a lot of work. People donated, so that was the least I could do. If it wasn't for that, Darcy [Turenne] and me would have made the movie for free. Some riders also donated a lot, as much as some of our main sponsors. Jamie Anderson fully pitched in—she saved the whole campaign pretty much. Spencer O'Brien, Hana Beaman, Leanne Pelosi, so many people in the industry. It made me realize how strong we are as community.

How did you choose the people in the film?

We didn't want to make a movie like, "Here's how you can save the environment: unplug your appliances, change your lightbulbs." That's cool, but I just thought it was more inspiring to see what these people were doing and what makes them truly happy. Like hey, "Jonaven doesn't need a big house, he has a really good life. He just lives in the woods and snowboards and that's awesome." And then you have someone like Gretchen who's totally different but she's using her own experiences to give back. We tried to choose the riders for their inspiration level and not for whom they're sponsored by.

What's next for you?

There are a few ideas that we're talking about, but I'm not really sure what it's going to be. Snowboarding, that's for sure. I hope to keep doing things that are meaningful, getting involved with Protect Our Winters, and any way I can to keep it positive. I've had a really good experience doing this so far. If it inspires even one person in the right direction, I think it will be worth it.

See how Marie thinks we start with the little things and move toward the big things to tackle climate change here