The guys at North 40 Productions have shown the conflict over local mountain biking trails, and told the story behind Wenatchee Follies and its director. Now, they turn the cameras to Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort for its 50th anniversary in 2016. But will there be an audience for it?
“We want to make sure this is a film that the community wants to see,” said Executive Producer Jeff Ostenson. “We think it’s a pretty good setup. People show support for the movie up front and then we make the movie.”
The Wenatchee video company launched a campaign last week to find 1,000 people committed to buying a digital copy of the film or a ticket to the premiere for $15. They’re halfway there. Nearly 500 people have already pledged support on North 40’s website north40productions.com/mr50.
The idea is to shoot a feature-length documentary that will be part Warren Miller, with footage of daring powder hounds flying down the mountain on skis and boards, and part historical perspective with interviews from the folks who built the resort in the ’60s.
“We want to talk to the interesting characters that helped establish it, because some of those guys are still alive,” Ostenson said. “Like Gordon West, he’s worked there since 1966 and he still rips at age 80.”
A lifelong skier, Ostenson said the staff first started talking about the idea of a documentary during the resort’s 40th-year celebration in 2006. He believes the film will take two years to finish.
“This is absolutely a personal mission to make this movie,” he said. “Every one of our staff members have been involved with Mission Ridge for most of their lives. It’s part of why we all chose to live here. It’s important that we do this one correctly.”
Next month, they plan to set up a page on Kickstarter, an online crowd-funding site, to raise money for the film. If that’s a success, they’ll start filming when the snow flies. Their budget will depend on how much money is raised through community support and sponsorships.
Documentaries make very little profit, if any, after the film is released, Ostenson said, which is why North 40 hopes to fund the project up front with community support. Mission Ridge was one of North 40’s first clients and occasionally pays them to produce marketing videos, but this project will be different, Ostenson said.
“We want to go find these stories ourselves,” he said. “Simply put, we want editorial control over this piece. If Mission Ridge had editorial control, then it’s not a documentary. They’re not paying for it, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”