After three years in Montreal, Canada, the renowned IF3 Freeski Film Festival is invading Europe. Held for the first time in a European country, the festival is currently underway in Annecy, France from now until October 2nd. The international event promotes freeskiing by creating a gathering place for manufacturers, professional skiers, film producers, photographers and specialized media players.
Annecy is also among the three candidates in the running to host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2018, and organizers are hoping events such as IF3 Europe will only work to boost their Olympic chances.
Xavier Bertoni, winner of the X-Games in 2009 said, “I would say that Annecy is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, perhaps the most beautiful! Annecy is also a freeski capital because it is close to a number of resorts where several well-known riders come from, like Candide Thovex and Laurent Favre.”
In the same vein as the Cannes Film Festival, the Freeski Film Festival draws in international and European production companies, as well as pro and amateur freeskiers, to unveil the top freeskiing films of 2010-2011. Also on the agenda: an exhibition of ski manufacturers and other industry players, as well as meetings, autograph signings with international skiers, and a host of other events. For this first ever European edition, in Annecy, numerous freeski champions will make the trip, including Frenchman Kevin Rolland – world half-pipe champion and winner of both the U.S. and European Winter X Games 2010; Canadian J.P. Auclair, freeski pioneer; Tanner Hall, a living legend of freestyle skiing; and Henrik Windstedt from Sweden, former Freeride World Tour champion.
“France has always been at the forefront of freeskiing – a sport characterized by freedom, creativity and modernity. As an Olympic Champion of mogul skiing, I’m delighted to see this freeski festival come to Annecy,” says Edgar Grospiron, who is also the CEO of the Annecy 2018 Olympic bid – a partner of the event. “The festival promotes both the sport itself and the best skiers around the world. It also puts the spotlight on the men and women who usually remain off-camera: the producers, directors, technicians – all those who help make these films and magazines possible.”
Free outdoor viewings are planned for the thousands of viewers expected at the Festival’s opening ceremony held at the Pâquier – the proposed venue of the opening and closing ceremonies in the Annecy 2018 Olympic bid. Stalls held by the industry’s brand-names, a cultural area and photo exhibition, evening events and ceremonies are just some of the live sites planned over the weekend in the center of Annecy to bring the “Venice of the Alps” to life with skiing and winter sports.
Full festival details including schedules, screenings, and tickets are available at http://www.if3.ca