Empress: Babes in Boyland

A.S.R. San DiegoFriday, September 10, 1999. When you’re a chick it’s hard not to whine at little when it comes to movie time at ASR. Other than the token girl who happens to have been in the right place at the right time, basically there’s no one for us to hoot and holler for in the premiers. Well that all changed this year thanks to Misty Productions’ Sky Rondenet, Tiffany Sabol, and Dana Mackie.

Using a combination of their own footage and film grabbed from the editing room floor of Standard, Mack Dawg, Billy Goat Productions, TGR, and a handful of other videographers, the girls created a pretty awesome film for their first foray into the wide world of action sports video.

Empress runs the gamut of action sports, showing off the best of the best in snowboarding, surfing, skating, skiing, and kayaking. The film has an insane soundtrack and cool soundbites from the women in the film. Sarah Gerhardt talks about what it’s like to drop in at Maverick’s and how she deals with guys tripping on her being in the line up. Rochelle Ballard talks about her love of surfing and getting barreled. Jamie Burge stomps a backflip off a sick cliff in Tahoe and gloats about it since few guys were even willing to drop it. You can even hear a male voice behind the camera freaking out about the fact that she stomped the drop. We saw chicks sliding down steep waterfalls in kayaks and little girls in Hawaii surfing longboards before they could even walk.

There was so much going on in the film at times I was overwhelmed, which is one of the few criticisizms I would have. Because the women involved with this film wanted to pack it with all the best stuff there are times when the film jumps from sport to sport and you lose track of who is on screen. All of the women featured are top athletes in their field and the Misty crew did an excellent job pulling only the best. It’s funny that none of this stuff made the rockstar films (and I won’t mention any names here) because a lot of it was definitely footage that should have made it into the bro films. No problem though, I was glad to see it in Empress.

The filming and editing of Empress was solid in some sections and rough in others. For example the Cara-Beth Burnside segment was one of the best edits of the whole film showing identical skate and snowboard tricks done back to back.

It’s hard to criticize Empress because the only thing it can be compared to is early surf videos in its style, and those are still revered by many now because there were no standards when action sports videos first started coming out, just like there are really few examples for us to compare this video to.

Beyond the incredible amount of footage gathered Empress had the best soundtrack I have ever heard in a “snowboard” film. There was no cheezy 80s butt rock, instead there was lots of acid jazz, DJ music like Crystal Method and DJ Mark Farina, groovy surf music from Ziggins and a handful of other catchy beats to keep the film rolling.

Even the most skeptical people watching Empress (like the guys I was sitting next Freeze associate publisher Mike Jaquet and skier Johnny Mosely) would have to agree that there are some pretty amazing women. Films like Empress are opening doors for girls to push it even further in the future and no one can knock this because what guy doesn’t want his girlfriend to rip harder than anyone?

Shanti Sosienski is the managing editor of Indygirl.com.