An official of Outside Inc., the Boulder-based company which owns Warren Miller films, has refuted reports speculating the brand will no longer feature fresh content shot in exotic locales and that it plans to rely instead on archival footage.
“What caused the confusion or consternation in the marketplace was this incorrect idea that was introduced, I think on Instagram initially, that we weren’t making a feature film this year and that it would be simply a collection of archival footage that had already run, which is about 13% true,” said Jon Dorn, Outside’s senior vice president for strategy and studios.
“The real story is that we are absolutely making a feature film this year, and that we are starting right now the process of making two feature films to run back-to-back this coming winter and the following winter as a way of celebrating the 75th anniversary of Warren Miller,” he said.
Miller, who died in 2018, created the ski film genre in 1950 with the release of “Deep and Light.” His films became an annual celebration of the skiing lifestyle and came to be seen as the unofficial start of ski season. Miller sold the company to his son, Kurt, in 1988. After additional changes in ownership, Outside acquired the brand in 2020.
“Knowing the 75th anniversary was coming up, we wanted to make a big deal out of it, so rather an making just one film we’re making two,” Dorn said. “The first film, which the team is working on now, is going to be a celebration of Warren’s legacy and the 73 films that have come to theaters to date. You could think about it as a look back to celebrate everywhere we’ve been.
“The following year, the winter of ’24-’25, that film will be the bookend looking forward, celebrating the future,” Dorn continued. “The second film is going to be focused on the new athletes, filmmakers, brands and places that are paving a road to the future of what skiing and snowboarding will look like for the next generation.”
Dorn said Outside is “fully and eternally committed to inspirational filmmaking around snow sports” within the traditional structure of 60- to 90-minute films with six to eight segments.
“The approach of going to different locations to highlight different mountains, different backcountry, different athletes, different styles of skiing, that will continue,” Dorn said. “The impression out there that we’re not committed to Warren Miller, and continuing to invest in it, is totally erroneous as well. We’re taking it to just as many theaters this fall, so there’s no lack of commitment to the theater experience. We are actually adding new elements to the theater experience.”
Dorn said the decision to incorporate lots of archival footage in the film that will be released in theaters this fall was driven by an “internal process of creative stimulation” to celebrate Miller’s legacy. It will be a “blend,” he said, of new and archival footage, some of it in black-and-white. As usual, former Olympic moguls champion Jonny Moseley will narrate.
“The film that we’re making this year — because it looks to the past — will use a lot of the footage that Warren shot and that other members of the team shot over the years and will bring that back to life as a way of celebration,” Dorn said. “Much of that footage has never been seen before. Some of it will be images and scenes that have gotten great response in the theaters. We constantly push ourselves to be imaginative and to think about how we can surprise and delight our audience in new ways.”