Photo credits: Aaron Jamieson

Dr. Ruth Farrar from Shextreme Film Festival recently chatted to Lena Stoffel and Aline Boch about their upcoming film WAY EAST: a snow and surf adventure filmed in Japan. Excited it’s making its UK film premiere at Shextreme Film Festival on Friday 21st October.

Equipped with skis and boards for all kinds of waves and snow, Lena and Aline set off in search of the famous Japanese powder snow and perfect waves but also to discover the reality of life in Japan, post-Fukushima. Ruth was eager to find out more…

Ruth: After your amazing first cold water surf film together WAY NORTH, what inspired you to travel east and choose Japan as your next filming location?

Aline & Lena: We’ve been to Japan a year before and we both love Japan. The powder; the people and country. It is something magical to me. We met Aaron Jamieson, our photographer of WAY EAST, in this year and he already talked about an idea for a trip he had and that Hokkaido is also good for surfing. So him and our impression of Japan inspired us to plan WAY EAST. A really, really special journey for us! It was amazing.

What useful lessons did you learn from creating WAY NORTH that helped your latest production WAY EAST?

We learned that you need to have a really good idea of what you want to achieve with the film! Like a goal of what the film should show. And then you build your story and pictures around that. After that, you just have to go with the flow and let the journey happen because there are so many factors you can not change like weather and snow or wave conditions. You have to be really flexible and make the most out of every day.


Why do you think so few adventure and extreme sports films feature women? How can we encourage more women to get out there and share their adventures on the big screen? 

I think all big productions are focusing more on the big action or big adventure and there are more men doing big adventures and big action. There are more and more women productions coming. But I think as we do it ourselves, it works out. We only have our sponsors in the background who help and support. I think it’s harder for women to get support and the budgets of sponsors to make projects like this happen. It’s not easy to do it but it just needs to be shown that it’s possible also with small budgets and we hope to inspire women to go out on adventures.

Great to see you are both working with filmmaker Mathias Koegel again for this production. The relationship between the filmmaker and their subjects is pivotal in documentary filmmaking. As experienced pro freestyle skiers and snowboarders, what advice would you give to documentary filmmakers starting out filming athletes for the first time? 

It’s important that you know each other and that you have the same idea of the project you want to do. You have to have the same goal what the movie should show to the audience. And then it’s always important that the filmmaker is also good on the mountain and in the nature. Mathias for example is a really good skier and used to be on the mountain hiking and skiing. He knows the mountain well and he also know where he has to be to get the good angle of us skiing or snowboarding.


Here at Shextreme HQ, we’re already getting excited for fresh powder this Winter. What’s next for you both? Any more awesome adventures coming up?

We are also getting excited for the new season. At the moment we are quite busy promoting WAY EAST so we haven’t started planning another adventure just yet. We have ideas…many ideas as always. We are gonna do something in the future for sure.

Watch the UK film premiere of WAY EAST and many more female adventure films such as FULL MOON and enjoy inspiring panel speakers like Jenny Jones and live surf art from Chanti Mai at Shextreme Film Festival 2016. After last year sold out, advance tickets are recommended: