Three years after blowing his knee and spending a winter filming his friends hit jumps, Montana State University film student, Justin Brodin is set to release the second feature length film, “Set Your Sights,” from his production company, Toy Soldier Productions. And though his own graduation status hovers someplace between “technically” and “almost,” he and his homegrown crew of riders plan on being a big part of the ski movie scene, if not now, sometime very soon.
Why did you decide to start your own film company?
In the Spring of ’07, I went to the Cold Smoke Awards, a Bozeman, Montana, ski film fest for local filmmakers, and noticed there was no love for the freestylers, everything was big mountain. The next year, I blew my knee, filmed my friends, and made an edit. For the ’09-’10 season, I called up every rider I knew and asked them if they wanted to make a movie about Montana called “Come Find Us.” The idea was to just let it snow and see what happened, not necessarily to start a production company. But we dropped a preseason teaser, and other people were so excited that “Come Find Us” became “Come Find Us” presented by Toy Soldier Productions, and TSP was born.
What have been the biggest stumbling blocks?
Money is always a stumbling block. But honestly, the biggest challenge is having a team. The first movie we wanted anyone that could throw down. We had 55 riders. Going into this year it was hard. Some riders graduated, got jobs, wanted to focus on school. It was a big hurdle to find riders that were available and could ski at a level that would one up last year. We’re moving towards making a list and towards a TSP crew of dedicated amateurs and aspiring pros to represent us. It took us half a season to figure that out, but by the time we got to the Moonlight Resort park shoot, it was clear. We all got together, we had fun, and we knew we had a crew.
What’s the trickiest part about being based in Bozeman, Montana?
Flying would be but we don’t have the money to fly. It’s actually a perfect place. If we don’t want to travel, we have everything in our backyard. If we do, nothing really exceeds 15 hours. The trickiest part is getting the support of our local resorts. It’s hard for our riders to progress when they don’t have big parks to practice on.
What is the biggest change for this year’s release, “Set Your Sights?”
Leaving Montana. We had a dream to shoot at Pyramid Gap so we went. We had all seen it for like 10 years in the movies so it was sweet actually being on the ground there. At least 50 percent is still in Montana though. It’s really good here and mostly undiscovered. But traveling symbolizes growth for us, now that we can finally afford it. We went to Utah, Tahoe, Alaska, Wyoming, Washington, BC, and Rapid City, South Dakota.
Moving forward, what are you most excited about?
The best part about the new film is showing how we’ve grown and showing what we are capable of. We developed a solid crew and logged a lot of amazing shots. But we aspire to some pretty big things and “Set Your Sights” really encapsulates what our riders and filmmakers want to do. With this movie, we realized we might be able to make this work and continue.
For more info on Toy Soldiers Productions check out their website here.