Felt Soul Media teamed up with Nick Waggoner and Yuki Miyazaki of Sweetgrass Productions in January 2012 to hunt the mythical Hokkaido Unicorn. The creature proved difficult to capture on film, so we just decided to do a little skiing.
Lots of love and high fives to Patagonia and the 5Point Film Festival for helping make this short possible.
[Camera work] Ben Knight, Travis Rummel and Nick Waggoner [Editor] Ben Knight [Producer] Yuki Miyazaki [Color] Ansol Fogel of Forge Motion Pictures [music] Christopher Bissonnette, In Accordance | Joji Hirota & Hiten Ryu Daiko, Kin No Mai | Wa Dai Ko Matsuri Za, Kabuki Gomen-Jyo!
Huge Thanks: Keith Danis & The Niseko Company, Niseko United, Karl Thompson, Mark Zitelli, Mark Fischer, Melissa Rummel, Herve Bizot, Makoto Takeishi, Shinya Nakagawa, Takaya Maeda, Ryu Okawa, Taro Tamai & Gentemstick
A couple seasons ago I swapped fly rod for camera and followed my friend, Rich Zellman as he cast for winter-run steelhead. Over countless days, eye traced rod's path, over and over again. And over again. This is what came of that effort.
So to date I’ve spent about 20 days skating dry flies for summer-run steelhead on the North Umpqua River. In June of 2007 I rose one fish. That’s all the action I’ve had. For all my non-steelhead fishing friends, you should know that while this may sound like a masochistic endeavor, it isn’t. Or maybe it is…I don’t know. Anyway, there is something incredibly important hidden in a fishless day spent on the North Umpqua.
Now, if you’re a river ace like “North” guide, Rich Zellman, however, you sorta defy the norm. Go hang out with him and sooner rather than later you will see an Umpqua steelhead up close.
To raise a steelhead on a dry is one thing, but to get footage of it is kind of a big deal. Look closely at the seemingly blank swings in the last half. On three separate casts fish visibly dart to the fly and turn away without breaking the surface. If I hadn’t had the vertical perspective, we never would have noticed.
Getting to see this behaviour provides no extra clue as to what the steelhead is thinking.
From the orange and gold of fall to the pink cherry blossoms of spring, Signatures follows an entire winter deep in the hardwoods of Hokkaido, Japan. Deliciously deep January blower to April corn, we bring you a film about expression, and the art of riding on snow. Every turn has a personality, and every personality has it's own unique style: the air, the smear, the spin, the grab, the laid-out cutback carve. Shot in HD, Signatures is 100% human powered backcountry skiing in all snow-sliding styles: board, noboard, ski, and drop-knee.