Comune Laura Austin 01

Words & Photos: Laura Austin

Who has the authority to say what a snowboard movie needs to consist of? I sure as hell don’t, and I’ll take a wild guess and assume that you probably don’t either. For as long as I can remember the “typical” snowboard movie has been cut into parts for each rider, and the rider with the best part was rewarded by having the ender in the movie. But if you happened to see any teasers for COMUNE’s new movie Black Holes and Invisible Forces Bending Time Through Particle Deformations creating Infinite Freedom in the Garden on the Moon you would know that COMUNE was not trying to make your typical snowboard movie.

Comune Laura Austin 07

One of the guest editors Ryan Scardigli and Corey Smith

On October 23rd COMUNE held the premiere for their movie(s) at their headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA. There were 7 different viewing stations where you could throw a pair of headphones on and watch each different edit of the movie. The premise behind the project was to give 7 different people the same snowboard footage and the creative freedom to allow them to do what they wanted with it. Some edits fit into the snowboard movie mold, while others were completely obscure. With this project COMUNE was forcing the viewers to step out of what might be their comfort zone and see things in a different way, without thinking about the consequences. Maybe you’re into it, maybe you’re not. The movie is free and they don’t have any corporate sponsors to please, so I have a feeling that like it or not, they don’t care. And for that, I give them credit.

Check out a few of the edits from the project at the bottom of the post, to see the rest of the videos go to COMUNE’s website.

Comune Laura Austin 08

An Interview about the project with COMUNE’s art director Corey Smith

First of all… what’s up with the name “Black Holes and Invisible Forces Bending Time Through Particle Deformation Creating Infinite Freedom in the Garden On The Moon”? Even the acronym, “BLKHLZINVZFS”is long.

We’re all 99% empty atoms, vibrating at different frequencies while searching for infinite freedom. People find infinite freedom through various channels like art, music, religion or even something as simple as snowboarding.

The whole project is pretty spontaneous and tongue in cheek. I just wanted a name that wasn’t like a normal snowboard movie name. So I thought why not annoy the shit out of people? Next year we’ll have a more traditional snowboard movie name like “Frostbite Bro” or “Delicate Seasons” ha-ha.

Comune Laura Austin 05

SNOWBOARDER photo editor Ryan Hughes and photographer Alex Mertz

What is the idea behind the film?

Infinite Freedom to create something unique and bizarre, and to have fun, and hang in Tahoe for a few months.  It’s a free video so there are no consequences if it doesn’t sell and we don’t have any corporate sponsors to please.  Each snowboarder has a different and unique style and so do the filmers and editors they work with. I wanted to experiment with that aspect of snowboard movies.

Comune Laura Austin 02

Who are the artists in the project and how did you decide who would be involved?

Well, my girl Liz Davis and I did one edit, while Hunter Longe, Ryan Scardigli, Matt Porter, Mark Wiitanen, Kevin Castanheira, and Shelby Menzel pieced the other edits together.  In total there are seven versions so it was a pretty heavy project to manage. I ultimately asked a bunch of people to do edits, thinking a couple would flake out, but everyone came through with really unique edits. It was cool to see how different people edit and interpret a collection of footage.

We were also able to use mostly music from bands that we’re down with and whom contribute to COMUNE. So that’s a whole other element that I was really hyped on.

Comune Laura Austin 03

What is the ratio of snowboard footage to non-snowboard footage in the film?

It just depends on the editor. It’s mostly snowboarding. I included some short films and video art that doesn’t have any snowboarding.

Comune Laura Austin 09

Do you have a part in the movie?

No, I wanted to snowboard more and film but it was so hectic. Getting everything together with this project combined with day-to-day operations at COMUNE and a couple art shows I did in Portland, SF, and LA it was impossible. This was the first snowboard film I’ve ever done as well as short film, video art and installation.

Comune Laura Austin 10

Clifford Lidell, Ian Perez, and Chris Friel

Is it supposed to be more of an art project or a snowboard movie?

I don’t know. I mean it’s not like an extreme sports movie. I wanted to see what it would be like to have several different editors edit their own version of the same footage.  That’s how I came up with the guest editor idea.  I had some friends that have made some amazing snowboard videos in the past and I just wanted to see if they would be down. I gave them total creative control and told them even if they wanted to do something obnoxious and bizarre they could. They didn’t have to do the standard video mill “intro and parts” they could do anything.  I kinda just did a stock edit just in case everyone else did some insane unwatchable edit. But I like them all.  I’m an artist, and snowboarding and filmmaking are part of my practices along with painting, photography, and sculpture. I like creating so that’s where I’m at. There is more to snowboarding than just the hottest new tricks. If that’s all you’re getting out of it then you’re missing out on a lot. Not just in snowboarding but in life in general. You should probably play football or hit the octagon.

Comune Laura Austin 13

Artwork by Corey Smith

So you obviously created a little stir on the comment sections of snowboard media sites when you were putting out teasers that didn’t have any snowboarding at all in them. Did you do this because you knew it would create hype or did you think the general snowboard audience would get it?

I’m not sure what the general snowboard audience would get or want to see. I just know that I’m a snowboarder and this is what I wanted to see.

Comune Laura Austin 11

Brendan Gerard and Joshua Parker

This was one of the comments on your teaser…“No. You guys at COMUNE think that you know what you’re talking about but you don’t. This is snowboarding site, and people visit it to watch snowboarding videos. Your video might be interesting, but it is not a snowboarding video, so people hate on it. Its not that the video sucks, but it is on the wrong site. Send it to a place where “artistically minded” people like you can watch it. It is not that the video is so “cool” that people don’t understand it, people dont give a shit about it.” This kid obviously thinks that snowboarders can’t be into snowboarding and be “artistically minded” as well. Have anything to say to that?

I have no idea what that person is talking about it and I won’t validate it with a response.

I don’t think message boards should exist on snowboarding magazine sites – maybe on smaller ones, or on specific topics.  Nothing but negativity, misinformation, and gossip can come out of them. A sixteen year old rich kid who’s been snowboarding for two years talking out his ass shouldn’t be given the same platform to express his thoughts as say Pat Bridges who’s dedicated his life to providing us with the best snowboard journalism.  I’m sorry but you’re not qualified to share an opinion.

I’ve dedicated the past 17 years of my life to snowboarding, I’ve lost jobs, girlfriends, career opportunities, slept in cars, lived in shitty mountain towns, postponed college, clipped tickets, hitched rides, forged season passes, lived off Ramen, worked 6 summers on Hood, all so I could follow my dream to snowboard and do it how I wanted to do it. I’m not going to listen to some message board hater who’s concept and vision of snowboarding is limited to his home mountain and is dictated by his favorite brand’s marketing department – who they themselves have probably never even snowboarded outside of So Cal. I mean when I was filming video parts, people said the kind of snowboarding I was doing wasn’t “real snowboarding” and the message boards were full of that shit. It just feeds negativity and that’s not what snowboarding is about.

Comune Laura Austin 12

Anything else you have to say to haters out there?

Shred hard, open your mind, and be yourself, maybe one day you’ll get what snowboarding is about.

Check out more of Corey work on his website CoreySmithTimeTravel.com

Comune Laura Austin 14

Liz Davis, Jason Lee Parry, and Corey Smith

Comune Laura Austin 04

Artwork by Corey Smith

Comune Laura Austin 15

Eric Messier



MENTHOL BEACH by: Ryan Scardigli

SHAPE OF CONTENT by: Corey Smith and Liz Davis

RATS by: Kevin Castanheria

To see the rest of the videos go to COMUNE’s website.