Richard Permin on why his new ski film is breaking all the rules

The hard-charging French rider talks to Mary Creighton about teaming up with Sean Pettit for his groundbreaking new film project

Richard Permin surveys his line before the Red Bull Line Catcher in Les Arcs, 2013 | Elina Sirparanta/Red Bull Content Pool

Richard Permin surveys his line before the Red Bull Line Catcher in Les Arcs, 2013 | Elina Sirparanta/Red Bull Content Pool

MC: Last year you won a Powder video award for Best Natural Air
[for a segment in Matchstick Productions’ Days of My Youth]. How did that feel? Were you expecting it?

RP: It was a big challenge for me, to win a Powder award. I’ve been working in ski films for seven years, and it means a lot to me. It’s pretty cool for a European rider to win as well, normally it’s the North Americans who win these things, so it felt cool to head back to France as a winner!

MC: Seven years – wow! How did you get started?

RP: My background was always contests and judging, but I was always into filming. Any free time I had I’d go out and film. It wasn’t long before I got invited to join MSP [Matchstick Productions]. I love filming, because it’s the best way to show to people outside of the ski industry what I’m doing.

MC: It must be hard work though? Take Days of My Youth – that took two years to film, right?

RP: Yeah, that was tough because we had two really bad snow years. And we had such a big team, such big logistics to deal with, moving all our gear around. It could be kind of a pain in the arse! Last winter I decided to do my own project with Sean Pettit, Mark Abma and some others, and that was so much easier because we were such a small crew. We could just jump on a plane and follow the snow.

Richard Permin does a 360 off a rock for Matchstick Productions' Days Of My Youth | Alain Sleigher / Red Bull Content Pool

Richard Permin does a 360 off a rock for Matchstick Productions’ Days Of My Youth | Alain Sleigher / Red Bull Content Pool

MC: Tell us more about this new project…

RP: It’s called The Masquerade and it’s out this autumn. The whole movie is pretty new and unique in that it’s not just a ski movie – it’s an actual movie, like a thriller. There’s a whole storyline in there, and skiing is part of that. We’ve got a super-talented editor based out in Canada called Leigh Powis – his editing is just awesome, super-dark. I really think it’s going to refresh the whole ski film industry.

MC: Sounds very intriguing. Whose idea was it?

RP: It was Leigh’s, Sean’s and mine. We drove the whole project. Sean and I used to film together quite a bit for MSP, though he stopped about three years ago. I carried on for longer, but started to think, what’s next? The thing with MSP is that I was skiing in some of the biggest ski movies around, but I had no control over what I did, no clue about what was going on. Nor could I use the footage – it belonged to them. But now I have my own project I can do whatever I want with my footage; give it to the media, give it to my brands and just do so much more in production.

MC: And what have you got planned next?

RP: I’ve already got two pretty cool projects that I want to do. Two short films, one on an expedition and one with Red Bull, but I can’t really talk about those yet!

This is an extract from an interview with Richard Permin in issue 135 of Fall-Line, out now. 

Permin’s sponsors include Atomic, Oakley, Red Bull and Swatch. 

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