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Niseko, Japan - Signatures, the new ski and snowboard film from Colorado's Sweetgrass Productions, comes from deep in the coastal mountains of Niseko on the Japanese island of Hokkaido on the heels of their break-out film, Hand Cut, a rugged, hand-hewn homage to frontier life released to great acclaim in 2008. The new Signatures backcountry documentary is full of remote freeride lines, deep powder, and mountain culture set amongst Japan's northern hardwoods along a misty coastline.Signatures tells a story of seasonal shifts and the snowy brushstrokes of renowned alpine athletes.
After a chaotic fall in the wilds of the American West, spreading the gospel of Hand Cut in their 1987 Dodge Colt, Sweetgrass founders Nick Waggoner and Ben Sturgelewski settled in the town of Niseko for the winter. Through conversations with local athletes and artists, and in the visual exploration of fall, winter, and spring in the mountains, Signatures delves into the cultural connection to seasonal rhythms, exploring the influence of the physical and cyclical world on artistic and physical expression.Signatures documents the relationships of local snowsurfers, photographers, and riders to mountain, sea, and season. Shot in HD, with breathtaking cinematography, Signatures is human-powered riding in all snow-sliding styles: board, noboard, ski, and drop-knee.
The film features atrociously deep, mind-numbing snow from the Niseko backcountry in January and February, along with hand-carved "yukita" bindingless, ropeless noboarding from Atsushi Gomyo, deep winter freestyle and night shots in the Niseko backcountry with Matt Philippi, the art of the snowsurf turn with Taro Tamai and the Gentemstick crew, cold water surfing off the the Hokkaido shores, and pillow lines in Tokachidake with Jess McMillan, Sonja Lercher, and MC Larivee. Telemark specialists Nick Devore, Will Cardamone, Jacqui Edgerly and Lorenzo Worster drop 50-degree spines and massive sloughs in early spring and ski golden corn as the sun sets over the Sea of Japan. Taro Tamai carves solid wood into Gentemstick boards, and fly fishing takes place on Hokkaido through fall and winter.
Signatures premieres September 19 at the IF3 freeskiing film festival in Montreal as well as in Aspen, Colo. and will be available on DVD this fall. Catch the film on tour this fall in the United States, Canada, and Japan. For more information, visit www.sweetgrass-productions.com.
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