Premiere: Zabardast. Jerome Tanon’s new snowboarding epic

French photographer Jerome Tanon has been a part of The Reason family since we first came across his work – his analogue images capture the essence of snowboarding and convey the joy, trials, fun and beauty of the sport in a way that we feel fits perfectly with the ethos of our magazine. In 2014 he decided to strap a small video camera to the top of his camera when he shot and two years after that he compiled the footage into the move The Eternal Beauty of Snowboarding, a snowboard movie that managed to capture all the best parts of his photo work into a moving documentary – and it was as funny as hell. His latest project is Zabardast, a combined snowboard movie and photographic journey to Pakistan, one of the world’s least snowboarded countries.

How did you hear about the idea for this expedition?

While flipping through the book, “Les Plus Belles Montagnes du Monde” – The World’s Most Beautiful Mountains, Thomas came across this amazing location. He told me about the insane project and right away I said ‘I’m in!’. A faraway country and an incredible adventure? I am always ready and willing. Picture Organic Clothing were stoked and offered their full support to the project.

What made this trip so unique?

The remoteness of it all ­- I have never been so far from civilization. When we crossed Skam La Pass at 5660m elevation, it felt like we were the only people on the planet. If I had to summarise our  three week, completely self-sufficient experience in just a few words, I would say remoteness, adventure, and camaraderie. Never in my life have I experienced anything like it. It was really hard physically for me, after having recovered from an ACL tear. I lost 10 kilos in three weeks. Meeting with such warm and friendly people, the culture, the language, the entire experience was simply fantastic! It was also great learning how to ride a motorcycle (without a helmet of course).

A particularly memorable moment that stands out?

The day the team started climbing Biacherahi Tower’s legendary face is a day that I will never forget. From sunrise to sunset, time seemed to stand still; our eyes remained fixated on this near vertical, seemingly impossible-to-climb face.

Can you describe the feel of the film a little?

I was inspired by war films, especially “The Thin Red Line”, which I showed to cameramen Pierre Frechou and Julien Nadiras. It would be impossible, of course, to come even close to Terrence Malick’s masterpiece, but Zabardast does offer the uniquely poetic atmosphere of a war film. I think you feel scared for the riders. These guys filmed in extreme conditions, and wore themselves out in order to bring back incredible footage. The technical challenges associated with filming in that environment prevented us from doing everything that we had initially planned and we sometimes had to improvise with the footage we had. I asked everyone on the team to keep a personal travel diary throughout the expedition and the film’s narration is based on their very personal thoughts and musings. The landscapes and music – composed by Jonathan Saguez – play a key role in telling the story. I hope that the film will be true to the experience and reach people on a deeper level.

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