Chasing the Full Moon

WHISTLER QUESTION /  Written by Vince Shuley

Local film project seeks to document timeline of women in snowboarding

Leanne Pelosi sends it for the camera in Full Moon. Photo: Jussi Crznar

Leanne Pelosi sends it for the camera in Full Moon. Photo: Jussi Crznar

Leanne Pelosi is no stranger to the action sports film industry.

An 11-year Whistler resident and seasoned professional snowboarder, she's already cut her teeth in a producer role with the films See What I See and La La Land (both in partnership with Runway Films). But for her latest film project, Full Moon, Pelosi is tightening the lens of her focus to the history - and future - of women's snowboarding.

"I wanted to showcase where we've come from and where we're going with the sport," said Pelosi. "Right now, if you tried to search and find old vintage footage of women's snowboarding in particular, it's really difficult. I think it's an important step in preserving the cultural heritage of our sport."

By seeking out some of her mentors from her early days of snowboarding, Pelosi interviewed some of the sport's female pioneers such as Tara Dakides, Barrett Christy and Tina Basich. Representing the present and future wave of female riders with action footage and interviews is Annie Boulanger, Marie France Roy, Helen Schettini, Hana Beaman, Robin Van Gyn, Jamie Anderson and Pelosi herself.

"I've always had a little bit of a dream to put something like this together," said Pelosi. "I didn't actually think it would come up so fast. But I was at coffee with all my friends last Fall discussing what we were going to do and decided to all posse up. We'd never worked together before. It was cool to see that everyone was interested in joining forces."

And so the Full Moon project was born. The plan was to gather footage over two years and complete the film for fall 2016 premiere, with the 2015/16 season showcasing a lot of the Whistler backcountry. But with the poor season of snowfall last Winter, the team needed to look outside of the Pacific Northwest.

"The (snowmobile) access to the backcountry was so horrible last year that we ended up traveling," said Pelosi. "We looked at the Snow Forecast and picked Italy. It was totally different to what we were used to in Whistler. There was a lot less base and a lot more rocks, so it was more dangerous finding cliffs to jump off. I realized there are very few places as good as the Whistler backcountry, when it's good"

The team also travelled to northern B.C. for filming at Bella Coola Heli Sports, where Pelosi said they rode the biggest couloir of their lives, with some members also getting turns in Alaska.

This season the Full Moon crew hopes to make up the footage of the Whistler backcountry that eluded them last year. To help the team has put the project on Kickstarter in an attempt to raise $25,000 to help fund the hiring of a secondary cinematographer for this season, post production costs, DVD production and licensing. At press time the total donation for Full Moon was sitting at $22,360.

Pelosi sees the project as an opportunity for women snowboarders to gain recognition through film, rather than being the one female that joins a male dominant production team.

"We wanted to be the priority, that's why we joined forces together." said Pelosi. "We own all our own footage, we're in control of the creative and we've got support from the industry. I wish there would be more women in big snowboard and ski films. It's just really hard to get in to them. There's certainly enough talent; all the women in this film are definitely talented enough to be on the big screen in any film."

For more information or to back the Kickstarter, check out Full Moon Film on Facebook.