Last night the world tour of the Art of Flight arrived in London for the UK premiere at the BFI IMAX, Europe's largest HD screen. Though the film has been available to buy for a few weeks now, the vast majority of people in the room had waited so they could watch the Art of Flight on the big screen, and none of them, me included, were disappointed.
The event started as soon as you arrived at the IMAX, where the girls greeting you on the door, checking your tickets and generally being helpful, were all dressed in Red Bull flight attendant gear. Once through to the big screen itself, Tim Warwood, introduced us to the film, while looking like a WW1 pilot, before introducing and interviewing Travis Rice, the man behind the film. On discovering the fact that most people had waited to watch his film the excitement built up and culminated when a fan (our Invoice & Ticketing Manager) donated a beer to Rice, which he finished in one to applause and cheer from the crowd.
The room then went dark and the film started...
The Art of Flight opens with Travis Rice discussing the digital age that we now live in and the world of second hand information we are a part of, going on to say that sometimes you need to experience things for yourself. The opening sequence is him going through the airport and the production team giving us a glimpse of the amazing HD filming we were about to experience.
Then bang — the crew are in Alaska, with Rice being dropped at the top of a ridge and the helicopter takes off, shown in an incredible showcase of HD slow-mo, with the heli flipping itself over 90°, before vertically heading down the cliff face. The room was silent... the crowd was already in awe of what we would spend the next hour watching.
This film is truly incredible, and rather than ruin it for you I'm going to leave it for you to watch, but here are a couple of highlights to enjoy.
The team's first trip Canada is incredible, showing how dangerous the mountain is, how every snowboarder, however famous and skilled, has to respect their surroundings. The section shows them testing the conditions and setting off avalanche after avalanche, before finally finding a line they think is safe, only for Mark Landvik to be swept down the mountain by another avalanche. Though he was okay, he was both upset with being swept down the mountain and that they'd put themselves there in the first place.
The section where Travis Rice heads to Patagonia will have you on the edge of your seat, as they push the level of safety beyond the realms of normality, to get one, insane line in an area the locals describe as: "where the devil lives."
The film isn't all about beyond the realms of safety. The sections where the team head to Jackson Hole and Revelstoke are the most fun, with the guys clipping trees in mid air, throwing down huge tricks and hitting lines that make the sport look fun — with some sections in Revelstoke looking rideable by mere mortals like us.
The Art of Flight pushes snowboarding to another limit and though it lacks the story-style feel of That's It, That's All, it truly is a masterpiece. The cameraman turns to Jeremy Jones in his section at the end and Jeremy perfectly sums up how this film will make you feel: "Travis is the future of snowboarding, and the future is now." If you don't own this film, then get onto iTunes and download or fork out for a Blu-ray player, as this is what HD was made for.
I doubt there'll ever be a film that makes me want to strap on my snowboard more.