It’s not the Winter Film Festival without a film from Warren Miller (or to be more specific, Warren Miller Entertainment). Today’s treat–the full length feature “Live Like There’s No Tomorrow”–has all of the highlights we’ve come to expect from a Warren Miller film. Terrific camerawork. amazing skiing, big air, exotic locations, laconic athletes who only come alive when facing huge risks, and a running audio commentary that sounds as if you’re in an auditorium in some mountain town while Miller’s film is running through the A/V department’s projector and he’s reading off a crumpled up typewritten script. Perfect, in other words.
Warren Miller’s ski films are the frosty descendants/brothers of the surfing films of years ago (our first annual Summer Film Festival now in prep at the Media Bunker). In fact, in the beginning–which for Miller was 1946–he and a friend , Ward Baker, would film each other skiing in the winter and surfing in the summer.
The format for both skiing and surfing films was basically the same: get some great athletes, film them in exotic locations doing amazing things, edit everything down to a tight one hour and change presentation, and play the footage while doing live narration that was partly written and partly ad lib. Miller was one of the original developers of this style of presentation and he also brought a relaxed but enthusiastic attitude to his movies, leaving in mistakes, big falls, little details that otherwise might have been edited out. Miller’s approach and production found an audience and after initially showing his movies (with comments) to friends, he realized that it was possible to make a business of it and formed Warren Miller Entertainment in 1949. His corporate goal was to produce one feature length film a year; that gave him time to do it right, to tour the world, and to fine tune the finished production. In the beginning, he rented out auditoriums and gyms to show the films; at one point he was doing 130 live presentations a year, showing his films in venues around ski resorts by night and shooting skiing scenes at the resort by day (typically efficient Miller style).
It evolved and it got bigger and it provided Miller with a career and a business. He did it long enough to earn the term “legendary” in front of his name producing one full length film a year from 1950 to 2004, when the last film with his personal involvement was released. As the business grew, it became more complex (and valuable) and Miller sold his company first to his son who ran eventually sold again. After a series of owners, Warren Miller Entertainment, the firm Miller started, is now owned by Active Interest Media (2013). The film presented here, then, is a descendent of Miller’s earlier work but not a precise clone.
Did the new owners of Warren Miller Entertainment enhance the legacy of the legendary adventure sports film maker? Only one way to find out: watch it.
There’s more to come as the Winter Film Festival continues.
See you at the bottom.
The Fine Print: Embed courtesy of our friends at You Tube, who have an amazingly large collection of great ski videos available for your viewing pleasure. Thanks, guys, for sharing. This post is number 955 for this site.