Ahead of our exclusive UK screening of Fade to Winter, our Founder Cameron Hall took some time out to talk to the team from Seasonnaire Web... Read what he had to say here:
What made you want to set up Holmlands Events?
Several years ago I was on a road trip in Canada having just skied a powder day in Revelstoke, BC. I had been catching up with an old friend of mine I used to teach with in Whistler back in 2005. After skiing we headed into town for a few drinks and a bite at the Village Idiot pub.
There were ski movies playing in the bar and my friend told me he hosted screening nights in Kelowna each season and I should think about doing the same in the UK. At the time I thought, “I’m too busy for that” but the idea prayed on my mind and a few years later I went for it.
For me, it’s a real passion project. I love film, I love skiing and in my full time job I work as a PR Director, so I enjoy organising and promoting events. When you combine the three, it seemed a natural step to bring my worlds together.
The name Holmlands comes from the street where my father grew up in the North East of England and every house I have lived in as a kid, was called “Holmlands,” and I often thought if I ever set up my own business, that would be a perfect name.
What sort of work goes into setting up a film screening?
The shorter response would be to answer what doesn’t go into setting up a film screening! The first step is to secure a license to host a film. Once the license has been acquired, you need have to source a suitable venue that’s available on an appropriate date. As soon as those two aspects are taken care of you can start promoting the night and the fun begins! I’m a very proactive person and I’m involved in everything from building a website, setting up ticketing channels, sourcing sponsors and prizes, marketing, PR, copy writing, social media promotion, video editing, logistics and hosting!
There’s an awful lot of work involved – especially on top of having a full time job – but that’s all part of the fun. It’s great to build relationships with people who share the same passions as you do and to make new connections too. I love the excitement of securing a new partnership or receiving a notification when a ticket is sold. I’m also really pleased that organising an event allows me to raise awareness and help raise funds for my chosen charity, Disability Snowsport UK – who do some incredible work from the grass roots of the sport, right up to Paralympic level.
In your opinion what makes a good a ski movie?
I really enjoy the cinematography of a film. There’s been so many ski movies over the year’s but if you can find a new way to frame a scene or shoot skiers from a slightly different perspective, I think there’s a great art in that. I really enjoy films that take skiers off the beaten track too and explore different locations around the world, not just the North American resorts. I like a good narrative to my ski movies too, so it’s not just a collection of cool lines and powder shots.
Movies like Valhalla and Days of My Youth are great examples of where story telling plays a great role. I also think the ski movies that tell a story don’t take themselves too seriously – which is also important.
Of course, a great sound track thrown into the mix helps as to the impact of a film. When I see a ski movie I want to come out of the screening feeling excited about winter and looking forward to the season ahead. I’m not going to lie, I do love a bit of the 80’s ski movie classics like Hot Dog and Ski School too! They all seem to have the same plot of the new schoolers wanting to have fun versus the Ski School who are old fashioned, stuffy and serious. As an instructor I find that quite entertaining!
Aren’t there only so many ways you can film your self sliding gracefully (or not) down a mountain?
I think there’s always new ways to tell stories and it’s all about thinking creatively. The more technology develops; the more visually stunning ski movies will become too. If you look at this year’s MSP Films installment, Fade to Winter, it’s filmed in 4K Ultra HD, which looks truly sensational on the big screen and is something more akin to an IMAX movie experience than anything I’ve previously seen at a ski movie night.
Do you work solely with MSP?
At the moment we host one event per year and this year we are the exclusive license holders for MSP Films in the UK. I’m a huge fan of their high quality productions and stunning cinematography. When I first had the idea of staging a ski movie screening in London, they were the first production company I contacted.
At the time, there were several other screenings taking place in London that year, so I came to the party a little late in the day. However, I’m really proud of what was achieved, as we managed to pull off a great event, within just eight weeks from acquiring the license until the screening itself. If anything, I proved to myself that with hard work and plenty of energy, anything is possible and it’s laid a great ground work for this year’s event in having already built up a network, database and of course, goodwill.
So, Skier or Snowboarder?
100% skier. I do love a bit of telemark too!
Have you worked a ski season yourself?
I’ve worked several! Having left University in 2005, I went to Whistler where I became qualified as a CSIA Level 2 instructor, working my first season teaching Whistler Kids on Blackcomb mountain. What started out as one season quickly spiraled and I went on to teach in Austria, Italy, New Zealand and even Dubai – working in the indoor ski centre!
What’s your favourite travel story?
I was working as a ski instructor in Dubai. I turned up to work on Christmas Day and was asked if I could take a private lesson for Raul, the Spanish footballer who played for Real Madrid at the time. I of course said yes and thought what a great story that would make.
However, knowing full well he shouldn’t be skiing for risk of injury and his club finding out, he decided to back out of the lesson and with it went my story. Then a few weeks later I was informed there was another VIP requiring a private lesson and could I take them. Being the consummate professional I said yes without asking who it was. I heard a few whispers in the hallway and when I got to slope it was NBA Basketball legend Michael Jordan and his girlfriend! I took them both for a two-hour private lesson and thought wow, this beats Raul every day of the week!
Things like teaching Michael Jordan how to ski just simply won’t happen if you don’t get out there and travel!