What It’s Like Full Movie + Interview

Robin Gillon’s long awaited second movie just dropped and you should absolutely watch it. We took the occasion to do a little interview so after watching it be sure to keep scrolling to find out more about “What It’s Like” to walk a mile in Bino’s shoes…
Hey Bino, can you introduce yourself to any of our readers who don’t know you?
My name is Robin “Bino” Gillon, I’m from a Dutch Mother and half British half Swiss Father. I was born severely deaf with 90% hearing loss on my left ear and 70% on my right ear, averaging an 80% hearing loss. I was raised in Switzerland and left the house in 2011 at 17 to fully pursue my skiing career around the world to represent The Netherlands in World Cups and World Championships. 11 years later, I currently live in the Wasatch Range (the Rockies) in Utah, USA. I focus my time filming backcountry/park skiing, performing in private events, snowmobiling and riding moto (MX) in the summer. We’ve left Europe and the beautiful Alps… After all these years traveling, it led to developing a tight circle that I didn’t really have growing up and the US offers the kind of lifestyle that me and my partner in crime, Nicole, have always wanted for ourselves.
How’re you feeling about the release of your second film?
I’m feeling excited and nervous. Nervous because it never gets easier to openly talk about something that I was extremely insecure about for years. However, the amazing response that we’ve had from the premieres was really encouraging. We raised some funds for kids that do not have the resources to access hearing aids around the world. This is priceless for me. I have also started a brand called “Deaf Jam” where part of the proceeds will go to the non-profit, “Hear the World”. You can see some of the stuff we’ve made on my website: www.robingillon.com.

I really loved your first movie. Why did you feel like it was important to go a little deeper with this follow up?
Thank you for the love, it truly means a lot. The first film was an absolute wild ride. It was a healing journey as everyday that we were on set to shoot this documentary, I was overcoming some of my biggest fears and finally accepting my true self. I’ll let you imagine the emotions when we showed it to the public for the first time. Fortunately people were stoked on the documentary and many have asked me what it’s like to hear what I hear? So it made sense to dive deeper into this to answer the question. Now after the, “Sound of Silence” we wanted to come back with, “What It’s Like”.
I guess a lot of the production happened during Covid. Did you have to change some of your plans?
Yes, this film was supposed to be finished almost 2 years ago… Initially, we were going to shoot a few parks shots at one of my home resorts back in Switzerland, but that definitely was not going to happen since I’m not a US citizen and leaving the country meant that I was for sure not allowed back in the US, where all of my life is now. I couldn’t even attend my sister’s wedding in September 2021 because the US borders were still closed for non-US citizens. Furthermore, my hearing dog and most amazing pet, Kobe, died unexpectedly at a young age from a terrible disease that took him away from us in less than 48 hours. I was and still am grieving from his sudden passing. On top of that, the snow that winter was not good and we had only 14 days to shoot backcountry, snowmobiling and park. Then, right before we were supposed to do the moto shoot in the summer, I tore my ACL/Meniscus at Mt. Hood. That’s just a taste of the stress and emotions that we went through to make this movie happen.
In the end, we filmed the entire film in my new home in Utah. I thought it would also go well with the vibe of the movie as many of my European peers have been wondering what my life is like in the US. I learned so much from the past 3 years. It has been an insane roller coaster, but this is life and we all carry a bag full of crap. It is all about how we carry that bag.
Your story is really inspirational. What’s the main message that you’d like people to take from “What It’s Like”?
I want to fight the stigma around hearing loss. Growing up, I never understood why people were making fun of my hearing aids. Kids would literally wear fake Raybans optic glasses to look cooler and smarter but hearing aids are a big no no. What? Why? If you were to choose between waking up deaf or blind tomorrow morning, what would you choose? I guarantee after a little bit of reflection, you will choose deaf. It is the difference between going to the Olympics and going to the Paralympics. My point is, why is it cool and fashionable to wear optic glasses but hearing aids aren’t?
My whole youth, I never had anybody to look up to. There were no such things as a famous deaf athlete, deaf singer, deaf astronauts or whatever it may be. The only things I saw were old people wearing ugly hearing aids or people categorizing me and young deaf folks as “disabled” and “handicapped” individuals. Now, that was extremely uninspiring and I had no idea what my future would look like. If you would have told me when I was 10 years old that I was going to travel the world, be the best athlete my country had to offer, ride skis for a living and play with powersports for fun (snowmobiles/dirt bikes), let alone ever have a girlfriend, I would have never believed you — not one bit. I really wished I had someone that I could relate and identify myself with. It was a lonely ride but that all changed thanks to skiing and the people around it since I didn’t have to talk too much. The skiing does the talking for you. I’m not saying that I’m cool or someone to look up to, but if I can help a kid that is walking a similar path than I have growing up, then this means we’re contributing to breaking the stigma and changing the perception around individuals facing any kind of challenges in life.
Do not, ever, let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. Anything is possible. I’m severely deaf and I speak 4 languages, have seen over 40 countries with my skis, made amazing friends, found the love of my life, recently graduated university with a double major in finance and management in my fourth language, won multiple titles in skiing and want to become a pilot. Nothing will stop me anymore. Shoutout to the haters for doubting me growing up, you were all dead wrong.
Ha! So true… that must feel good! So what’s next? Do you already have ideas for a third film or are you moving on to other projects?
Yes, however, I no longer want to focus an entire film just on my ears, as I feel that we covered that subject. But I will continue to be an advocate for this mission for the remainder of my life. I will proudly embrace my deafness in my future projects, showcase my true persona and communicate about my deafness.
We are currently filming a snowmobile project called “2 minus 1” with Nick Goepper, Ryan McElmon, Nate Miceli and Nicole Berra. We all come from the skiing background and share the passion of snowmobiling. This time, we will put the focus on our snow machines and of course, do some lines and hit booters on skis as well. The reason for this title is that we all firmly believe that calling the last run is bad luck. I’ve only done it once and it resulted to a torn ACL and meniscus… never again — oops — never say never! Well, you get it. 😉
Sounds amazing! Thanks for your time Bino… Anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap this up?
I want to give a massive shoutout to my family back home for always having my back, it was a rough ride for them as well to figure out what the hell we were gonna do with me to find my path in life as we had no examples or inspirations. Of course, mad love to skiing and the ski community for accepting me for who I am. Skiing has given me everything I know and have today. Last but not least, mad love to Nicole, my life partner, for being the best thing I could have ever dreamt of. I love you.
If any of the ski homies want to stop by Utah, hit me up on socials, I would love to show you around, especially in the backcountry. It is quite a magical world out here.