Movie Premiere | Warren Miller
In a genre aimed at core legitimacy, the Warren Miller films go in for mainstream appeal, with obvious success. For years the early June film screenings in the east coast cities have formed part of a winter kick-off tradition, an integral marker in the pre-season weeks reminding the snow community winter is on the doorstep.
On Friday, 3 June Warren Miller’s Wintervention premiered in Sydney and as expected the State Theatre played host to an enthusiastic crowd of skiers and some snowboarders who came a much for the chance to mingle as to see the latest offering from the genre’s most commercially successful production company. With display booths, a competition and numerous other draw cards the theatre’s foyer welcomed the mostly post-work crowd who packed in tightly and spilled out onto Market Street. There were plenty of chance meetings, everyone it seems, goes to Warren Miller.
As to the film itself, it began with Antarctica and finished with Svalbard, a global journey, though it did not progress from South to North, jumping between Georgia, North America, Austria, New Zealand and of course Alaska, tying everything together was the Wintervention concept with Johnny Moseley, the new narrator, cast as the host of a call-in radio show offering support to snow-addicts. Did this propel the film even further down that cheesiness road the Warren Miller films have been travelling for several years? Most certainly, but it also made it light-hearted and offered an easy-to-take entree into the action, not for nothing is Warren Miller so commercially successful.
As for the skiing itself, it was all glorious powder shots and I-want-to-be-there mountain vistas. Antarctica, Svalbard, Georgia and Idaho’s Sun valley provided unique and spectacular backdrops to spectacular skiing but everything stayed within the realm of possibility for the audience’s imagining. With just a little more training and a bit more experience, you too could do this the film asserted. and you’d certainly want to. The Sun Valley segment looked as though someone had filled the Grand Canyon with snow, a stranger contrast between desert topography and perfect powder is hard to imagine, it was stunning. The Antarctica and Svalbard segments featured a host of undeniably cute wildlife including a couple of mischievous polar bear cubs that had the whole audience saying ‘awwwwwww’. While the Southern Ocean crossing to Antarctica and the snow-camping in Svalbard, not to mention the mountaineering aspects of both trips, most likely pushed them off the ‘must-do’ list of the average skier they were balanced by segments showcasing Telluride and the Vail Resorts properties Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Heavenly.
Warren Miller himself, now 87, sold the Warren Miller production company in the eighties and hasn’t been involved in the making of the Warren Miller films since 2004, without his dry-wit narration and incredible vision the more recent films have a different feel to them, however their popularity has undoubtedly remained steady and in Australia at least the annual Warren Miller film tour remains one of the key traditions of a new winter season.