Film starring NZ No.1 female freeskier Janina Kuzma premieres in Wanaka

The New Zealand premiere of an extreme action sports film starring the world’s best female talent – including Kiwi No.1 free skier Janina Kuzma – screens in Wanaka this week.

Shades of Winter: Between will be unveiled to NZ’s snow sports elite and industry VIPs at a screening in Kuzma’s hometown on Friday, November 25.

In the full-length feature film, Kuzma stars alongside Olympic gold medallist Julia Mancuso (USA), two-time Freeride World Tour champion Nadine Wallner (Austria), Evelina Nilsson (Sweden), pro skier and Between filmmaker Sandra Lahnsteiner, and the late Matilda Rapaport (Sweden). Three-time world surf champion Carissa Moore also features in two major surfing segments in the film.

A two-year project, Between features the women travelling the globe to conquer some of the most exotic and challenging slopes in the world, including Alaska, Hawaii, Norway, Canada, the European Alps and the Southern Alps of NZ.

“Between is about capturing the ‘between’ moments throughout the action – in between the adrenaline-fuelled highs and our lasting memories and friendships,” Kuzma explains.

It’s also a tribute to Rapaport, who tragically died in an avalanche post-filming, in July.

Between is the third film in the Shades of Winter series. Kuzma has featured in all three films, and she initiated the NZ segment.

“It was a dream of mine to one day get the SOW crew to NZ to film a segment. New Zealand has some of the best terrain in the world available by helicopter and I wanted to showcase that. When Sandra proposed the movie Between to me I said she had to film in NZ, and we made it happen.”

NZ footage includes heli-skiing on the Mount Larkins Range near Glenorchy, as well as in and around Wanaka. “The girls had never been down to NZ so they didn’t know what it would be like. They were blown away,” she says.

Kuzma, a Winter Olympian in halfpipe and current world No.4, returns to her roots of big mountain skiing in Between. “Even though I started out as a free rider, a lot of people know me as a halfpipe skier. It’s nice to be able to show people the other side of what I do, and that I still freeride.”

On Friday night, some of the country’s snowsports elite will join Kuzma at Cinema Paradiso to watch the film, including Beau-James Wells, Sam Smoothy, Nicola Campbell, Anna Smoothy, Sam Lee, Craig Murray and Fraser McDougall – before they all embark on their northern hemisphere season.

“I hope I can make everyone proud with the movie showing how amazing the landscape is and how good our terrain is in NZ. I also hope to inspire young Kiwi girls that making a career out of skiing, or any other sport, is possible if you set your mind to it. I want people to feel stoked on following their passions, whatever they may be,” Kuzma adds.

The NZ premiere, and a special public screening in Wanaka on November 26, will act as a fundraiser for a foundation currently being set up in memory of Matilda Rapaport. The film won’t be released for wider distribution till the worldwide tour is completed. Screenings are taking place in the countries where the movie was filmed, as well as at some major international film festivals. Between is expected to be available on iTunes by March 2017.

Kuzma leaves NZ on December 1 for the northern hemisphere season. Focusing on qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics, she has competitions in North America, Europe and Korea. She’ll also be filming for the fourth Shades of Winter film in between training and competitions.

Details:
Shades of Winter: Between
Directed by: Sandra Lahnsteiner
Director of Photography: Mathias Bergmann and Sandra Lahnsteiner
Film editor: Thomas Kohler
Duration: 90 minutes

Janina Kuzma in shades of winter - screen shot from trailer

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