The 10th annual X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival rocked Salt Lake last week with action sports industry leaders, athletes, celebrities, enthusiasts, and filmmakers gathering to celebrate the culture, and view the world’s best action sports films. Audiences enjoyed Q&A’s with filmmakers and featured athletes, along with open-forum panels on cinematography, distribution and piracy issues that were streamed live on the internet.
33 features and nine short films, selected from 100s of submission, screened over five days at X-Dance Headquarters in Salt Lake. Check out the winners below and be sure click on the films to watch the trailers as these are action sports films not to be missed:
“Best Film” honors went to “Mount St. Elias,”the spectacular story of ski alpinist Axel Naglich’s attempt to climb and then complete the longest ski descent ever from the peak of Alaska’s “Mount St. Elias” had audiences spellbound with its gorgeous cinematography, gripping story, and tension-filled journey. It also won “Best Adventure Film” presented by our very own wandermelon. On hand to represent wandermelon and outfitted in full Nepalese regalia, Apa Sherpa, who’s climbed Everest a record 19 times, stirred the audience with his pleas to “clean up the mountains and take care of Mother Earth.”
“The Drifter,” a brilliant film by Taylor Steele, follows surfer Rob Machado to the far reaches of Indonesia on a soul-searching journey. The visually-stunning, moody and philosophical film mesmerized audiences. The film won “Best Soundtrack;” Steele took “Best Director; and star of “The Drifter,” Rob Machado, was honored with “Athlete of the Year.” Machado exhibited his genuine humility and laid back cool at the event and X-Dance was honored to have him there.
“Sea of Darkness” won “Best Documentary” for its modern day pirate tale about the Indies Trader ship and the men who sailed it, like legendary captain Martin Daly, who attended the festival. The compelling intense journey spotlights smugglers, adventure and the discovery of remote Indo surf spots along the way.
“Parks Bonifay Documentary”won “Best Biography” for its comprehensive and compelling tale of wakeboard master Parks Bonifay who set his first world record waterskiing at age six months. Bonifay’s colorful history and passion electrified the film and Bonifay’s enthusiastic presence enriched the overall vibe of the festival.
“Best Editing” went to “Fiberglass and Megapixels,” for its well cut film about the North Shore’s winter surfing scene and the photographers and cinematographers who compete for the perfect shot.
In 2007, X-DANCE launched their SAVE OUR PLAYGROUNDS campaign to spread the GREEN word. This year, X-Dance had three “environmentally-conscious” films competing for the Ambassador of Green Award. Props to “African Revolutions Tour,” “Generations,” and “Last Paradise” for their important messages. Winner “Last Paradise,” directed by Kiwi Clive Neeson, traces 45 years of extreme sports pioneers and hidden paradises, calling for action to save the last natural gems around the globe. The Ambassador of Green Award was presented by 6 Pillars and the 968 Green Hotel in Lake Tahoe.
“Lost Prophets” got the nod for “Best Original Score” for its moody, highly unique music that created a soulful tone for the film about nomadic surfers.
“Best Short Film” props went to “Second Nature,” a highly entertaining and uber creative film that follows Noah Sakamoto and Patrick Rizzo and J.M Duran as they fly down the mountain roads of the High Sierras on skateboards at crazy speeds in blue suits.
Newcomer to X-Dance, Nick Waggoner, won the VAS Emerging Director Award and “Best Cinematography” for his artful and mesmerizing film “Signatures” that pays homage to the beauty of winter and riding in Hokkaido, Japan. This Zen journey inspires reflection and thought with its stunning images and smart narrative.
Icon Warren Miller was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by extreme skier Scot Schmidt who starred in over a dozen Warren Miller films and X-Dance Festival Director Brian Wimmer. Following a retrospective of Miller’s 60-year career as a ski filmmaker, Miller, who took a spill skiing the week before the ceremony, sent his thanks on tape from his hospital bed in good spirits, and promised to attend X-Dance 2011. The X-Dance Warren Miller Lifetime Achievement Award has been named in Miller’s honor.
Award presenters included soul surfer Rob Machado, epic snowboarders Erin Comstock, Tina Basich, Mike Basich, and Tara Dakides, wakeboard maverick Parks Bonifay, extreme skiers Scot Schmidt and Jeremy Nobis, Mt. Everest’s Apa Sherpa, moto Hellion and star of “Mind of the Demon” Larry Linkogle, Oakland-based hip hop artists Del: tha Funkee Homosapien, A plus, and Bukue, A-list commercial director Chris Woods, the GM of VAS Entertainment Danny Grant and Hotelier Chris Minnes from 968 Green Hotel. Every winner received a GoPro camera and chest mount for their outstanding work.
For more info go to X-Dance and look for their soon-to-come store to purchase these films.