Q&A with Extreme Sports Documentary Director, Sébastien Montaz
OutdoorHub Reporters 06.12.12
One Step Beyond is a documentary film created by award-winning director Sébastien Montaz-Rosset. It follows the experiences of Géraldine Fasnacht and a handful of other extreme athletes. Géraldine is a world-renowned snowboarder and base jumper. One Step Beyond dives into the close-knit community of wingsuit flyers, sky divers and base jumpers. It is Géraldine’s chance to tell her story of running the spectrum of human emotions, from “total euphoria to devastating loss,” and a chance for viewers to understand the actions of those who lead extraordinary lives.
Watch the behind-the-scenes footage taken from the film with interviews from crew members. *Note, half of the short video is in French, the other half in English. Then, read the Q&A from the film maker and the two main protagonists of the feature film.
What technical difficulties were there with the filming for this project, in particular the basejumping and balloon sequences?
The main difficulty is in the speed of the action and the need to respect the athletes. We’re dealing with radical disciplines where mistakes have very serious consequences. I had to make sure I didn’t interfere with the wingsuiters concentration before a jump and had to film in the most discreet way possible. 2 hours walk to film a shot from a distance for 5 seconds of footage… you have to know how to frame the shot and time it to the split second.
What would you like people to take away from seeing the film? What reaction would you hope to get?
At first glance this could seem like an action extreme sports film, but its the pyschological aspect of Géraldine’s personality that interests me. The action scenes are really a vehicule to explore the mental aspects of doing extreme sports. The main theme is reslilience. It’s a subject that’s important to me: why are some people able to get back on their feet after going through tragedy or drama? Where do they get the energy? What is it that keeps them going? It’s a tough subject for the film, but there’s a positive message that comes out of it all – it’s a hymn to life. Géraldine wanted it to be like that, not sad but very optimistic.
Which part of producing a film do you get most excited about?
This project is self financed, like the last film I Believe I Can Fly. There are no constraints that you can sometimes have with a client or distribution agent. The whole thing is a pleasure from start to finish, from filming to post production.
What would be your ultimate dream film project?
The next one – wait and see!
Below is a short tutorial from a series of tutorials by Sébastien Montaz-Rosset on how to capture the best adventure films.
Do you prefer riding (snowboard) or flying (wingsuit & base) and do you get different things from them?
I love the mountains and the seasons. Winter and spring when there’s great powder, I prefer snowboarding. In summer and autumn when the temperature is warmer, I love basejumping and wingsuit.
How do you stay motivated to keep jumping in new places and going on new trips?
I love my sports and I love nature. As soon as the seasons and colours change or the first snow falls, I have to be in the mountains. I like going to faraway places – far from people and noise. That’s when I feel free and can really express myself.
What would you like people to take away from seeing the film? Is there a message in it for people who aren’t especially interested in extreme sports or the mountain environment?
That the sports I do aren’t adrenaline activities, but sports lived in the mountains with respect for the seasons and the conditions in the same way as mountaineering. They are passions that have helped me through some tough times.
Was it difficult to take the decision to stop basejumping and does it make it more difficult watching Géraldine continue jumping?
Yes it was a difficult decision but when your fear has overtaken your motivation, it’s time to find other ways to fly. Of course watching Géraldine jump can be a bit frustrating, but seeing the person you love fly is about the best compensation you can get.
Are there times you advise Géraldine not to do something but she does it anyway? Or does she listen to your advice ?
She takes my advice MOST of the time!
Is there somewhere you still dream of going or something you still dream of doing?
Yes of course – otherwise life doesn’t mean anything.