From Switzerland with Love with Laurent De Martin

Do we still have to present Laurent De Martin? Laurent has already been in the game for quite some time now… If you’ve never heard of him, let’s make it short and say that he’s an amazing rider with some of the smoothest style. If you’ve seen the Level 1 movies, then you already know what we’re talking about. This winter he decided to take it to the next level and make his own movie. We were curious about his motivations and his choice of crowdfunding, so we hit him up with some questions…

Hey Laurent, we heard that you are planning to do a whole From Switzerland with Love movie!
Can you tell us a little bit more about the project?
That’s right. I’m not alone fortunately. Titouan Bessire will film the movie and has helped a lot for production and creative ideas already. It’s his project as much as mine and we see things the same way, so that’s really helpful.

We already started last year with some webisodes. It was kind of hard to plan everything as I was still filming a part with Level 1. But the idea was to start something and then start thinking about a bigger project for the next season. We didn’t really know what it was going to be or even where we wanted to film it. But after a lot of thought, we decided to do a short movie. There is a lot of stuff on social media right now. But Titouan and I are on the same page about that. We are way happier working hard on a longer project that hopefully will stay in the minds of people longer than some instaclips.

The movie will be filmed 100% in the French speaking part of Switzerland and mainly in my home resort, Région Dents du Midi. We want to show all kinds of freesking – from urban skiing to freeride with international and local guests. We will film during the upcoming winter and the movie will be released for free in December 2020 after a lot of premieres.

Laurent dropping cliffs © Ahriel

This project seems like an amazing way to promote our local community and industry.
Why did you choose this direction?

Exactly, that’s our main goal. Obviously, Switzerland is amazing for skiing, but it really is for every kind of skiing. Not only Freeride or slopes. We have crazy terrain for backcountry and street as well.

I grew up watching a lot of movies and there were a lot of local ones. I got a lot of inspiration from that, but I feel like right now, there are only a few movies with people traveling around to the best places with the best conditions.

What we want to show to the younger Swiss ski community, is that we have everything in Switzerland to have fun. You can do the kind of skiing you like here and also get really good shots.

Switzerland is fun! © Christophe Voisin

It’s interesting that you’ve travelled all around the globe, and now you’ve decided to come back home for this project.
What makes our country so special in your opinion?
Yeah I travelled a lot and I’m so thankful for that. But it made me realize as well that we live in such a crazy area, and I feel like I didn’t spend enough time exploring and getting shots at home.

Switzerland is also where all my childhood friend are. The people I started skiing with. That’s why I want to integrate local riders in there as well. I may be a little nostalgic, but I want to find the vibes I had when I started filming with my friends from Awone Films back in the day.

Oh man… those Awone Flims were so rad!
What’s the difference between filming a web series and a full movie? Is a new challenge?

Oh yes for sure. First you need to work on the idea and concept of the movie. We want to show more than just action, so you need to find a storyline.

You also need more support because you’re filming 100% all winter and you spend a lot of time editing it, so it’s for sure a bigger cost than webisodes.

After that, you have to plan with local and international riders about when and where you’re going to film. You can’t really lose time during the winter, so if there’s something you can do in advance, you do it. For example, right now, I’m listing all the spots for street, BC, and freeride. So you know where to go when the conditions are good.

Last but not least, you need to work on promotion, which is just as important as the movie. That will be my job for next summer: social media, classic media, premieres etc..

Finding the right spot © Ahriel

Apparently, “Romance” is going to be Level 1’s last movie.
What was your reaction when you heard this? Is it the reason why you want to produce your own full movie?

First I want to thank Level 1 Productions, Josh Berman and Freedle Coty. I’m here, mainly thanks to them. It was such a huge experience, and gave me a lot of visibility over the last 4 years.

Last summer I already knew that it was the final full-length movie. Of course, I was a bit sad because I grew up watching those movies, and I can say that I’m a passionate skier thanks to Level 1. But then I started thinking about what I wanted to do. Naturally, it came back to thinking more locally. Since I traveled so much these last 4 seasons, I really want to give back to the community in my area now, and I think that this project is my way to do it.

Filming with Level 1 © François Marclay

How does it feel to go from filming with a big international production to producing an independent “homemade” movie?
Way more work ahah. But such a great experience, with a lot of ups and downs.

With Level 1, I only had to take care of my personal sponsors, but now I need to find the budget for a full movie. And like I said before, there is a lot more work of planing, promotion, ideas etc. The stuff that Level 1 was taking care of in the past.

But I think it’s a good time in my “career” for that. Personally, I’m really interested in that part of movie production.

You chose to fund your project through crowdfunding.
Why do you think this method is the best for your project and what’s your opinion on crowd funding in general?

Titouan and I are personally not huge fans of crowdfunding. Honestly, we feel bad about asking for money to go film skiing, even if we know we work hard.

But it came to the point that we want to do our movie with sponsors that only come from skiing or local businesses. If we want do that, we need a bit of support from the community. I really want to thank the people that have already helped us!

Is there anything you would like to add before we finish this little interview?
Thanks to TWIN for the interview & everyone that has helped or will help us!!!!

Don’t hesitate to help Laurent and Titouan through their crowdfunding, we really want to see this project happen! 

The kind of smile you get if you help Laurent & Titouan © François Marclay

Thanks to Laurent for this nice interview and to François MarclayAhriel Povich and Christophe Voisin for these sick pictures.