By Dana Michell January 10, 2003
Adrenaline and adventure junkies, it’s time to get your head out of those snow flake-filled clouds and back into the school room. If you’re interested in making a movie or even just starring in one, local award-winning extreme film-maker, Peter Chrzanowski, a.k.a Peter Peru, is your new snow-capped svengali.
The movie-making veteran with 25 years experience and more than 15 films under his belt decided it’s time to head up his own Extreme Film and Expedition School, called Explorex, based right here in B.C. This school is like no other. Courses last for one week, the classroom is some of the best backcountry terrain in North America, tutorials are at apres ski and fellow classmates are some of the best skiers and snowboarders as yet undiscovered.
Chrzanowski said the school is a culmination of everything he’s ever learned.
"I want to wake people up to the reality of making films. Films are difficult to fund, are a lot more work than you imagine and a real labour of love. You can’t go into it half-hearted."
Chrzanowski said his course will help budding film enthusiasts turn their dream into reality.
"If you have a digital video camera, are an expert skier, snowboarder or free heel enthusiast, willing to do some hiking for your turns and wish the know-how to make adventure movies, this school is for you," he said.
The intensive one week workshops will start mid-February, with the first sessions based in the town of Golden, the gateway to ski resorts like Kickinghorse, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise and accessing some of the best virgin snow in North America. The plan is to eventually base workshops closer to home around Whistler.
"I wouldn’t have a chance to teach here at the moment but when the holiday hoopla is gone after April we’ll move here for the spring," Chrzanowski said.
He’s also hoping to offer a custom heli ski workshop in Bella Coola and strike a deal with Whistler Cable to air some finished assignments.
Safety and story-telling are the key fundamentals in learning about film-making, according to Chrzanowski. By day, students will hone camera skills, act as directors, work with action talent and learn how to keep safe on location. By night students will learn basic filmmaking theory, scripting, story line procedures and editing. The close-knit crew will view and critique other films, listen to guest industry experts and learn the entire business from pre-production through to marketing and distribution.
Whether your interest lies in training for larger second unit shoots on feature films, becoming an outdoor DOP, writing, producing or directing your own films or even just learning the ropes in becoming an action model, Chrzanowski knows what he’s talking about.
"Just being talent takes a lot of patience and protocol. You can’t just wait for the call either, no matter how good you are, you still need to learn how to play the game," he said.
Chrzanowski’s own production company, Extreme Explorations, helped popularize "extreme skiing" in North America. His films involve climbing and skiing all over the world, from mountains in Peru, to volcanoes in Mexico and B.C.'s deepest backcountry.
A one week extreme film-making workshop including six nights accommodation, all meals and lift passes starts at $2,150. See the Extreme Exploration’s program at www.explorex.net for a full description or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 604-813-2200. The Golden sessions start mid-February and run until April 1, 2003. Whistler’s spring sessions start mid-April until the mountains close. Space is limited.