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Bode Miller Flying Downhill

Interview with Bill Rogers (continued)

Flying Downhill web site
You went to Austria? Where else did you travel to get this footage?

There have been about 25 trips across the world for this film. Next stop is X-Dance in Park City, Utah.
And you’ve had to fund raise for each trip? Can you tell us who has been supporting all the work? It’s okay to stroke a few sponsors here.

Our first real sponsor was Bretton Woods, which subsequently became a direct sponsor of Bode , making him the director of skiing at the ski area.

We also had the support of a generous group of individuals including Brad Williams and Paul Fremont-Smith, who are also executive producers who led us to other funding and helped us to shape the business venture. Other supporters are Sumner Winebaum of York who provided some of the first funds that brought us to the 2001 World Championships where Bode was poised to win, but instead was headed to surgery.

We added Lahout’s Property development and Jim Hamblin as supporters.As I said above we then began finding investor’s in the project have now assembled a group of people who have supported the project.
Can you give us an idea what the scope of the production was like? Was there a big budget? How long was the shooting and post production? How much work was involved?

We shot for SEVEN YEARS, not all the time, but at pivotal times in Bode’s career. We edited along the way. We brought in great musicians like Bob Lord of Red Fez Records, Temple and his band Beastwith2Backs, and Boston musician and composer FLYNN. We brought in graphic artists. All that equals a BIG PROJECT, with 400 hours of footage and a multi-year edit. And the budget is what might be expected. I’m not going to pin numbers to it, but it is relative to a multi-year project.

One of the significant costs is that of licensing race images around the world. The Olympic brand is international and those who hold the rights to it are aware of the market they hold. A small, passionate film holds no sway. So we get the same rates as NBC (ouch!). It’s a mojor part of our budget.
And now the biggest hurdle, or should we say slalom. How about distributing of Flying Downhill?

We’ve got a film that shows an intimate journey and that also touches the heart of international sport competition. It’s also, at a heart, a family story and how one individual embodies the place and people he comes from as he moves to the center of international attention. So we are looking at a wide audience as we go for a qualified core of ski enthusiasts and fans. We are working the place as we speak and see forums like -- and other web-based information and audience-based settings -- as central to getting people to know what we’ve got. We’re therefore selling directly on our web site

We hope from this humble beginning we will reach a much wider audience. We have had a good deal of television exposure with clips on NBC Nightly News, ESPN, OLN, ABC and a five-minute preview broadcast last year on European television during race coverage.
Are you presenting a reckless character as a hero here, or is Bode Miller really an American icon as you present him?

I believe Bode is responsible, not recklesss. He knows you've got to fall to push how fast you can go. Usually he plays that out on the ski hill, and not on the road. But he lives fast and full, sucking the marrow out of life.

Bob Simon of "60 Minutes" asked about risk-taking. Bode responded that he doesn’t see himself as a big risk-taker, but rather as a guy doing what is needed to get where he wants and needs to go. Bode follows his convictions and is in this sense definitely a hero.

But the convictions are not a written code. They are an attitude towards life played out in LIVING LIFE. Life has contradictions and conflicts. One of those is between the desire to have fun and society that dictates what’s acceptable and what’s not. It is interesting that Bode has chosen ski racing -- and ski racing has chosen Bode -- because it is a world full of both written and unwritten rules.

One example is the unwritten rule of physics that says if your weight is not in the correct place over your edge, your edge will not hold and you will fall off the mountain. Another example is the written rule that racers must see both skis pass around each and every gate. The other day Bode was disqualified because he passed a fraction of an inch too close to the gate and one of his skis did not legally pass the gate. He ran the gate down and thus straddled, the center of his ski passing just inside as opposed to around the gate. Bode broke a rule and the run that would have won the race by more than a second was instead an official DQ, with no time registered.

The ski races are real events with winners and losers. But the races are also measures of character outside of results. Bode’s pursuit of great results is admirable, but it leads to many failures. One measure of greatness is the results. It is clearly not the only measure.
As the director, producer, writer, editor, cameraman – what do you hope we will take away from this film?

As I mentioned, there are many measures of success. Character is defined in the process of conflict, of life happening. I hope people will take away a sense of deep connection of Bode to his place and time, and therefore, one’s own place and time. Bode risks short term results for long-term gain. That is like what his family did before him. The path each of us takes can and will have a profound effect on those who walk with us and after us. Character is formed in each of our journeys, by the path we follow. Bode’s story embodies that idea.
What’s next for Coruway?

I don’t really know what is next. My own path is now trying to create the best opportunity for people to see and know Bode’s story. I have hired myself to market the film and am embracing that job as much as I did the creation of the film. Until somebody else can do a better job at it I will follow this path.
Good luck with this one, Bill – and Bode – wherever you are.


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