Remember the annual Warren Miller films showcasing snow skiing, surfing or snowboarding? How could you, as sports enthusiast, forget Miller's film events? They were the catalyst that got ones adrenaline going to hit the slopes every winter season or the ocean waves in the summer. Warren Miller's legendary heroics in extreme sports filmmaking is told in the documentary celebrating his life Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story.
The documentary directed by Patrick Creadon is a collaboration with O'Malley Creadon Productions, Lorton Entertainment and BoBCat Studios and Warren Miller Entertainment. Together they include Warren's notable works, unearthed never-before seen archival footage, in-depth on camera interviews with members of the Miller family as well as Warren Miller himself along with recordings with him shortly before he died in 2018 at the age of ninety-three.
Famous athletes and skiers like Scott Schmidt, Jonny Moseley, Colby James, to name a few, share the impact Miller had on their lives and the ski industry for over 60 years.
A Southern California boy born on October 15, 1924, Warren A. Miller could have never guessed his boyhood hobbies of skiing, surfing and photography would win him world acclaim in years to come among modern day extreme sports. But, it did!
The U.S. was ten months into World War II. Miller was 18 years old and decided to enlist in the US Navy. He served in the South Pacific and while home on Christmas leave in 1944 Miller borrowed a camera and filmed snow skiing in Yosemite. He was hooked. He bought his first 8mm movie camera after being discharged from the military in 1946.
His filming career began when he and his friend, Ward Baker, moved to Sun Valley, Idaho where they lived in a tiny little trailer parked in the parking lot of the Sun Valley ski resort and worked as ski instructors. In their free time they filmed each other skiing to critique and improve their ski techniques. In the summers they were back in Southern California and filmed each other surfing.
Miller started to show his skiing and surfing films to friends and giving the most enlightening commentary which landed him invitations to show and narrate them at parties. In 1949, he founded Warren Miller Entertainment and began producing one feature-length ski film per year. Money is always an object in the film industry and so it was for Miller in those early days. He'd borrow money to rent spaces to show his films and charge admission. His preference was to book places near ski resorts so that he could film the next year's footage during the day while showing the current film at night. He was soon screening his films in over 130 cities a year.
Miller's challenging journey is delightfully told in Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story that engages the audience with laughter, fright or pure wonderment. You will walk out of the theater in silence, a huge smile on your face and wish you could have known him personally. What a guy! (Karen Pecota)
For further reading: In September 2016, Miller self-published his autobiography, "Freedom Found: My Life Story."