More and more action sports athletes these days seem to be deviating from the traditional film model of spending a season working with an existing movie company for a short segment in their annual film. Instead, athletes like freeskier Sammy Carlson, skateboarder Nyjah Huston, and snowboarder Travis Rice have chosen to focus on solo film projects.
Freeskier Tom Wallisch will be joining the ranks of athletes branching out on their own to make a movie. Next summer, he'll debut a solo film part tentatively called The Wallisch Project. It's not a full-length film, but rather an extensive segment filled with quality shots that will be downloadable on iTunes next summer. Wallisch, who has filmed with Level 1 Productions and 4bi9 Media in the past, won't be filming with any other movie company this winter. The crew began shooting for the project in November around Salt Lake City, Utah.
"I've filmed with movie companies for a few years and it's a ton of fun and I've had some good segments, but none have been award winning or that amazing because I'm so spread out," says Wallisch. "I wanted to focus all of my efforts on filming into one project. This year, it's a great opportunity to put together something I'm truly proud of."
Kyle Decker, a cinematographer from Level 1, will be the filmer, director and editor of The Wallisch Project. Decker is taking a leave from Level 1 to focus on filming with Wallisch. "Taking a step back from Level 1 was a very difficult decision to make," Decker says. "But taking on this type of project is a good refresher and it's exciting to mix up the formula. I've been shooting with Wallisch since his first full Level 1 segment in 'Turbo' and he's a good friend of mine and throughout the years it's tried and true that we work well together."
Adds Wallisch, "Kyle is someone I know I can count on. He was motivated and excited to try something new and he was willing to take a risk. It's awesome to have him take a leap of faith with me."
Wallisch says he's looking forward to being more involved in the planning of the film, including choosing locations, features, trips, and more. "It'll be awesome to base the filming around my schedule and the opportunities I have to film between contests," says Wallisch, the 2012 X Games Aspen Ski Slopestyle gold medalist. "Our inspiration for this project is to show the competition world the other side of skiing. It's not just about doing double flips, it's also about getting into the streets."
As for the rising number of athletes creating solo projects? Says Decker, "I don't think this model is going to change or replace ski films, it's simply just a different outlet available."