Girls Can Shred Too: Introducing A Female Snowboarding Film

Lukas Huffman has stories to tell. He worked as a professional snowboarder for over a decade, and then transitioned into video work. Huffman then became an and award-winning filmmaker, best known for his 2014 movie When the Ocean Met the Sky, and his three-part VICE documentary Lady Shredders. Now, he’s about to embark on a brand new project, a kind of movie that isn’t exactly the norm for the entertainment business.

Aeris, Huffman’s second feature film, is set to start filming February 2016. Aeris follows female pro snowboarder Terra Madley as she struggles with personal injury, and shares her journey to becoming a superstar. We got a chance to talk to the writer/director himself about the movie, and the importance of the story he dubs “too raw and too real for the Hollywood system.”

The subject matter of this movie is very similar to the VICE series you did, Lady Shredders. Why choose to tell this story through a fictional narrative, now?

I had been sitting on this script for a very long time, before I made Lady Shredders. I created the VICE series as a way for me to do research for the script that I’d already written. So, I had already written this storyline about this character, and it’s kind of based on a lot of experiences that I had—I was a professional snowboarder for ten years. It was kind of built around a lot of really cool people, places, and scenarios that I had experienced first hand.

What is it about this particular story that compels you?

Well, the script that I had written before doing the VICE series had a female lead in it—you know, now snowboarding is so mainstream, especially guy snowboarding, that it’s the female snowboarders that I’m [interested in]. I started in the late ’90s/early 2000s, when it was a little more of a fringe sport. And [still], women’s snowboarding is underrepresented…They’re still out there risking their lives.

“Women’s snowboarding is underrepresented…They’re still out there risking their lives.”

Very cool.

Yeah. The girls [featured] in Lady Shredders are friends of mine, so I had the opportunity to go on the road with them for a week. I went back, then, to my script. The plot of the script was the same, but I got to go back and rewrite all the dialogue and stuff like that.

Was that because you were finding things you weren’t expecting to find?

Yeah, for sure. There’s definitely a limit to my imagination about what it’s like to be a woman snowboarder. Just even practical stuff—what it sounds like, what they’re talking about. I got to go back and the script got, like, 50 times better.

How is the current scene in snowboarding?

What’s neat about snowboarding is that every year the actual sport is progressing. This is where it, being a sports drama, is a really fun genre to work in. We’re gonna be showing the tricks that are literally the best tricks right now. Our stunt-doubles are literally the best women snowboarders right now. It’s cool to be able to show action sequences that are incredibly relevant.

But, the more interesting theme that we’re breaking apart [in the film is]: Our lead character is kind of on the cusp of breaking through into mainstream women’s snowboarding. And, for the first time, a couple of girls that are really making a good living doing this…are becoming household names. That’s something that hasn’t existed, and still doesn’t really exist the way it does in men’s snowboarding.

Even five years ago, our lead character’s story wouldn’t have existed. Part of the story’s about her trying to balance the pressures of being a super famous snowboarder, and those pressures didn’t exist five years ago.

All photography by Adam Moran

You can help make the Aeris production a reality by donating here.

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