Posts Tagged ‘Daron Rahlves’

Reprint: My SportsFanLive Blog Post

March 15, 2010

On the heels of my trip to the Vancouver Olympics with the APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER “crew” (aka Seth Caplan, producer, and Mo Grosser, music sup), I was approached about writing a blog post about the experience for SportsFanLive.

So I did. Chance to gush about my film AND score free PR? Yes, please.

The post is still available here, BUT because I’m cranking out another draft of the book adaptation* today (a pass on the bad girl character… making her badder), and a shiny, new draft of LOSERS was delivered yesterday, I don’t have time to do a fresh blog post. I believe in recycling in real life and in blog life so… I’m publishing my SportsFanLive post here for those who missed it the first time and for those who were to lazy to click this time.

Bonus! I’ll include more pics from the trip than the SportsFanLive people did. Yeah, I got your back.

Director Anna Christopher was in Vancouver to follow skier Casey Puckett, the subject of her documentary, Appointment In Vancouver. The film focuses on Puckett’s life as a world-class athlete, father of two and hometown hero, who was preparing for his fifth Olympic appearance. Here is Christopher’s account Puckett’s latest Olympic experience:

The girls of team AIV got lots of attention for our gear and not being disgusting looking.

We made awesome signs. Amazing signs. Signs that deserved to be on TV. Which was exactly the intention.

After camera-tailing four-time Olympian Casey Puckett for three years and making an applauded documentary about him, my producer, music supervisor, brother (who is in the film) and I scrapped our way to the Olympic Games. With our signs in hand, we were determined to get our film,Appointment In Vancouver, and our favorite skier cross racer, Casey Puckett, some network coverage.

Appointment In Vancouver documents Casey’s dramatic/thrilling/gut-wrenching/inspiring journey to the Games. We capture the challenges Casey faces as an elite athlete competing on the world’s stage and as a father juggling gold-medal dreams while raising kids. The film offers audiences a rare, exclusive glimpse of the mental, emotional and physical trials of a retired Olympic athlete making a comeback at age 37.

Me, our tickets, Mo.

The film was born the moment I met Casey. The IOC had recently named Skier Cross as the “new” Olympic sport to debut in Vancouver. Casey said then that he “had an appointment in Vancouver.” His unwavering faith and determination to compete in the 21st Winter Olympics hooked me. He’d competed on the U.S. Ski team since he was 19, raced in Albertville, Lillehammer, Nagano and Salt Lake City. Never medaled. He retired after his final Olympics. Final? Actually, not so much. That’s one of the reasons his story is so inspiring.

Through a mix of chance, fate, and itch of “unfinished business,” Casey fell in love with the emerging sport of Skier Cross. Before he knew it, he was back on the slopes and dominating the field unlike he’d ever done as an Alpine racer. He’d found his cup of tea, and he was guzzling it down. EvenDaron Rahlves, Casey’s teammate, Alpine racing legend, and co-star of Appointment In Vancouver, admits that Casey was better at Skier Cross than he ever was in Alpine. In the film, Daron says, “My heart pumps a little harder when I line up against Casey because I know what he can do.”

"O Canada" you love red. And Chris Del Bosco.

As the Appointment In Vancouver crew climbed the million stairs to the grandstand on February 21, 2010, we wondered what Casey would do that day. The crowd seemed to be pondering the same thing of all the athletes. An excited but serious vibe emanated from the grandstand as the first heats began. Every race of four-on-four skiers was enthralling but the crashes were brutal, which I think caused the pensive energy in the stands. There was no doubt — this sport was way more electrifying than curling.

Friends have told me the TV coverage made the course appear easy. From our vantage point, it was not. The crowd gave every race its entire attention because if you looked away for a second, you may miss something unbelievable. This universal focus gave bonded all of us in the crowd without words. We were all there for the love of this new sport and the fearless racers who tried to conquer it.

Monster jump after "trouble alley" at the end of the SX course.

In the first couple heats, scary pile-ups unfolded right before our eyes in the last turn to the final obstacle — a monster jump. We started calling that toilet-bowl turn “trouble alley” and worried about how Casey would handle it. I remembered Casey’s perseverance. He fought through seven surgeries to be here. His most recent injury happened in January when on the way to his first World Cup victory. He fell a mere six seconds from the finish and separated his shoulder. In that moment, even he thought the ride was over. However, he pushed through, rehabbed the injury in six weeks, and was here in Cypress on the day Skier Cross was debuting at the Games. No matter what Casey would be a part of history.

And he was. Not with a medal or a massive crash but by laying down a solid race. Because of his

Daron, on the other hand, did crash.

injured shoulder, he came out of the gates slower than he’d like and found himself in fourth place. Despite his best efforts, he stayed in fourth for the whole race.

Casey and I texted after the event. What did I say? I’m not sure. There’s not a go-to phrase for “I’m sorry you didn’t achieve your dream and our dream for you.” I know he was disappointed. So was I. But he gave the race everything he had and that’s all you can ask. The Appointment In Vancouver team remained in the stands until the end of the event, enjoying the spectacle of the sport but without the gusto with which we began. We left our signs in the stands.

The funny thing is that when I returned to Los Angeles, I screened Appointment In Vancouver for a few friends. The film ends just before Casey goes to the Olympics. My friends knew the outcome of the Games, yet they loved the film. Even I still loved it. I realized that Casey didn’t win a medal on February 21, 2010, but the journey that got him to that historic day, his Appointment In Vancouver,was pure gold.


*When am I going to announce the book and the subsequent project news!?!?!?! I’m waiting on a few possible press opps to either play out or to die a cold, ignored death to determine when I sing the news from the blogsphere mountain tops.

AIV @ Birds of Prey This Weekend

December 1, 2009

The APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER trailer and an exclusive clip will be shown during Audi’s Birds of Prey World Cup Race Week in Beaver Creek/Vail Colorado! The BoP is the only men’s stop on the World Cup  circuit in the United States.  Race spectators, fans and athletes will catch the special AIV preview from the Finish Stadium on Friday, December 4 and Sunday, December 6, airing between races on the Super Combined and Giant Slalom race days.  It’s kinda like we’re the half-time show.

AND, Casey will do a Q&A after the Friday screening; the USSA is selling the DVD from their trailer on vendor row, and I and our editor Cindy T. will be there promoting the film. We’ll also be taking advantage of being glamorous documentary filmmakers treated to a free hotel room and ski passes.  Our first run of the ski season couldn’t be at a more meaningful event.

When I told my brother in early October that we might be showing APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER at Birds of Prey, I said it with it a big question mark not because of the uncertainty of the event but because I had no clue of what “Birds of Prey” was.  I was just repeating what my producer had put in my ear during the last weeks while we hurried to finish a cut of the film for interested TV people.  Birds of Prey” were words uttered while my brain was in the edit, which meant that because they were not related to cutting and making our deadline, I kept on thinking about editing while I nodded about the possibility of us going to some race for hawks.

Later when I relayed the news of the BoP opportunity, I was on a mini-trip home, clear-headed and happily eating mozzarella sticks with my parents and my brother at Denny’s after being picked up at the airport.  Not only did my brother freak out (he’s a former ski racer) but my parents kinda freaked too.  They knew of this mysterious “Birds of Prey,” and surprise, surprise, it’s kinda-sorta-totally a big deal.  It’s the most popular and most attended (100os of spectators) world cup race in the U.S.  It kicks off the season and is a mainline to Casey’s fans and Daron Rahlves fans (aka people interested in buying AIV for the holidays).  I love Birds of Prey!

This AIV + BoP synergy has happened because of the Vail Valley Foundation’s enthusiasm for our film.  We’re sprinting to the finish line after a marathon, so it’s been inspiring to already have the attention and excitement of our target audience.  Knowing people are really excited for this film even before it’s released has been an extra boost for me in the last weeks. Thanks, Jen and the rest of the Vail Valley Foundation!

From Blue to Black Diamond

November 30, 2009

It’s official if you write a press release about it.

Daron Rahlves

May 14, 2009

Today we interviewed Daron Rahlves for Appointment in Vancouver.  The U.S. Ski Cross team has two members — Daron and Casey (the hero of AIV) — so it was critical to nab some time with Daron.  He’s both a teammate and a competitor of Casey’s.

Preview of Feb. 2010: Daron and Casey battle it out on the slopes.

Preview of Feb. 2010: Daron and Casey battle for the lead.

Daron is widely considered the most successful U.S. downhill racer of all time.  He’s got a gazillion podium finishes to his name, including being the only American to win the famed Hahnenkamm Downhill (2003).  At the 2010 games, he’ll be chasing the same gold medal Casey claims is his.

I found Daron to be warm, articulate, inspired and inspiring.  His keen insight and ego-free honesty will be exciting additions to our film.

Big thanks to Lowell who reps both Daron and Casey and loaned us his hotel room for the taping.  Another big thanks to Dominique Martinez for lighting and shooting the interview with her usual professional awesomeness.

Bonus Interview?

May 11, 2009

Waiting for word back on whether I get to interview Daron Rahlves** on Saturday for “Appointment in Vancouver.”  

Puh-leeze, ski documentary gods, let it be so.  Let. It. Be. So.

**The most decorated American Downhill and Super G skier in history. Daron won 12 World Cup races, had 28 World Cup podiums, 7 US National Titles, is the 2001 World Champion in Super G, Silver medal at the 2005 Worlds in DH and Bronze medal in GS. He was the winner of the legendary Hahnenkamm Downhill in 2003 and SG in 2004 along with 7 podium finishes in Kitzbuhel over 5 years. Now ski cross is the competition of his choice. In 2008 Daron took the win in Skier X at Winter X Games 12 and finished 3rd overall on the Jeep Skiing/48 Straight Tour.

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