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 . world ski news
29 September 2010 - 21:13
World premiere of the Rene Eckert's documentary AT EQUILIBRIUM will be on October 8 in Sofia
German filmmaker taps the passion of Eastern European snowboarding
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CINEMATOGRAPHY. We are happy to announce that the teaser of René Eckert's newest snowboard documentary "AT EQUILIBRIUM" is online. "AT EQUILIBRIUM" presented by RIPZONE EUROPE and BIGAIRBAG is the newest treasure of Blickinsfreie´s eastern European snowboard documentaries.

After „Poland – A snowboard documentary“, „Slovaki A true movie about snowboarding“ and last years highlight „From Romania with Love“, "AT EQUILIBRIUM" deals with the passionate people developing snowboarding in Bulgaria. Each one of those movies has it's own direction, it's own heroes who may not necessarily be known to a larger audience but that all creates our common history. "AT EQUILIBRIUM" makes clear that we are all one big family with every little part worth to get to know.

Already the movie title says everything. The people representing the local scene are just unbelievable balanced and real which makes this movie undoubtful to the highlight of the series.

This years flick is featuring riders from more than 7 different countries including big names like Marc Swoboda, Darek Bergmann, Gigi Rьf, Thomas Franc or Danny Larsen. Merging that many different cultures, languages as well as riding levels has never been more interesting before. Western professionalism meets eastern passion – the perfect mixture for a unique story.

"AT EQUILIBRIUM" will be premiered throughout Europe between October and December before it will be available as High Definition download by the end of December 2010 – Don´t miss getting your own High Definition copy on

Furthermore we are still looking for one more sponsor for the project "AT EQUILIBRIUM" as well as the European premiere tour. If this seems to be interesting to you and your company wants to get involved please get in touch with us.

If you are in the media business we would like to ask you if you could publish the news about this movie on your website.

Thanks so much for your help and interest in the project and stay tuned for the premiere tour and High Definition download.

All the best,

René Eckert


Bulgarian Blowout: "At Equilibrium" -- German filmmaker taps the passion of Eastern European snowboarding
Interview with Blickinsfreie owner René Eckert about the new documentary "AT EQUILIBRIUM" on ESPN

The American invention of snowboarding has been exported to nearly every snowy locale around the globe. But unlike the odd pop can or recycled pop culture t-shirt, snowboarding is a lifestyle that comes with a much higher price tag. The gear, the lift access, and the snowboard parks that Westerners take for granted are in many places either unreachable commodities, or have only just now started trickling in.

Pre-1990, access to snowboarding in most former Communist countries didn't even formally exist: all you could get were black market decks, bindings and magazine scraps smuggled in from "free" European countries. Having visited Romania myself on a whirlwind snowboard tour in 2008, I can attest that the residue of economic and cultural isolation still lingers after generations of Communist rule. At the same time, the contemporary snowboard scene in Eastern Europe is strong. In many ways it's more real there than it was decades ago here in America. Snowboarding in Eastern Europe is not a counter-culture symbol like it is in the playgrounds of the affluent -- it is about as robust an outlet of personal expression and freedom as you can get. They don't just "get it," they truly live it.

Rene Eckert of the German film and photo production company Blickinsfreie is quite familiar with this, having produced documentaries on Poland, Slovakia, Romania. His new film about the Bulgarian snowboard scene, "At Equilibrium" as about to be release, so caught up with Eckert to talk to him about his drive to document Eastern snowboarding, the love for the sport, and the future of European snowboarding.

Behind Blickinsfreie's AT EQUILIBRIUM: Mario Benio (left) is from Sofia and rides for Burton Bulgaria. He was Bulgaria's first big talent, became FIS freestyle coach of the Bulgarian team, and is part of the Flipmode Club which organized events after the ISF collapsed. Jakub Honcz is Krakow, Poland. This was his first time in Bulgaria. (Photo: Alexander Atanasov/Blickinsfreie)

ESPN: What's your own history with snowboarding? How did you get into snowboard film making?
Rene Eckert: Basically, snowboarding got me into filming and my passion for images. I think everyone remembers the time when they took the parent's video camera up to the mountain to film your friends hitting a jump. For me it was quite hard to get in touch with snowboarding, as I come from the former GDR [Eastern Germany, pre-wall falling], a communist country itself, where there were no snowboards available.

In 1999 a friend hooked me up with his old board and took me to the Hintertux glacier in Austria. At 3,250 meters above sea level he just said, 'I'll wait for you at the bottom station.' Somehow I made it down and fell in love. Since then it's been all snowboarding, driving the 500 kilometers every second weekend to the Alps. Still, I enjoy riding in the little mountains close to the Czech border back home with elevations of 1,200 meters. This is basically where I grew up, in a town called Auerbach in the forests of Erzgebirge and Vogtland.

What are some of your other major snowboard world film credits?
I used to do, filmed a bit for Absinthe, the Pirates, TTR and much more, but I want to stay free. Making movies gives me the freedom in life that I was looking for a long time. I mean, being free in what you love to do, that's my highest goal in life.

Did your own background draw you to documenting the snowboard scene in Eastern Europe? What story drew you there that you don't find in the rest of Europe, or the US?
Yes, as I'm coming from a former communist country myself. I was always wondering how is the level over there. Why did I never hear about Eastern European riders during my time at Method. I thought, there must be a scene -- there are the mountains, and for sure the people over there deserve to be known outside of their countries. So in 2006, I jumped on a train and went to Poland to see what was up. All I had was one phone number of a photographer, but the whole thing turned out so good that before coming back I'd made the decision to continue with these adventures.

With these projects I want to help the people over there -- the young riders that have potential but don't have money to travel to get known outside of their country. I want to bring the locals into the international media, and help them realizing their dream. Furthermore I think people in Eastern Europe are more real and not as spoiled as I find it in Western Europe. I really appreciate the attitude of the people over there, doing everything to help you out, to make this project a reality.

Why should riders from the rest of the world be paying attention to the story of these particular countries?
I think bringing international riders from other countries to these places can be good for them [the international riders] because they see how people over there do the best they can with the bad conditions they have. Also that it helps the inter-human qualities to bring people from the western and eastern world together. In terms of riding, I think those guys (in Eastern Europe) will catch up soon. For example Wojtek Pawlusiak that I met 2006 in Poland became one of the best rail riders in Europe, and there is more to come.

What did you find to be the biggest hurdle riders in Bulgaria have to get over, in order to just ride?
I think it's the same in Bulgaria as in the other countries I've visited, the ski resorts need to start to invest more in snowboarding. Unfortunately it's still not the case. I mean some resorts start to understand that investing in snowboarding is a good thing and pays off also for them in the near future. But so far there is just one consistent snow park in Bulgaria, which is nothing if you see the mountains and endless opportunities you have over there.

The guys over there have the talent to kick ass if they have the training facilities. If you see what they are capable off without the structure, I don't want to know what happens if they get the consistent parks...

What did you find to be the best things about Bulgarian snowboarding, versus more developed and modernized scenes in the rest of Europe?
I think it's the people that make the scene. They are so real and balanced in Bulgaria, it just feels so good to work with them. No stress, everyone helps you without thinking about his own benefit. Everyone does snowboarding for the pure love about the sport. No professional rider is making money with riding over there.

Who are some of the main characters in "At Equilibrium"? What's their story, and how did you come to choose them to tell the Bulgarian story?
There are no main characters in "At Equilibrium," everyone being involved is as much as important as the other. There is no difference between Marc Swoboda or a local from Bulgaria -- all of them make the whole project. Every year I take the most interesting guys from each country I visit to the next country to get them involved in the new movie. So basically, it's a growing group of people, getting bigger with each project. That's the special thing, working with nine different nationalities, different languages, and different experiences but for one goal: to make a good and real movie.

This is the latest in a series of documentaries about snowboarding in Eastern Europe -- how does the Bulgarian story stand out from Poland and Romania?
I saw a lot of similarities compared with Romania, pretty much the same situation over there. But when it comes to riding level, Bulgaria is a way higher! Especially the level on rails is really high. Bulgaria is also special because the ISF was locally represented in Bulgaria and made events. After they collapsed an interesting thing happened: the snowboarders themselves took it on, got together and started to organize their own events. Without the people, there would be no freestyle snowboarding and that one park they have now.

What have you learned since the first film?
Making these movies is an adventure. Trying to make a film in a different country you have never been to before, with people you never met, makes the whole project interesting for me. Besides that, my main goal is to help the local riders to get in the focus of media outside of their country. I never had a goal besides doing it and presenting the riders to a wider audience. I've learned that the better you organize it the less an adventure it gets, but that's part of the game. If you want to get that many people involved you need a good planning.

What's next after Bulgaria? Any other countries/themes?
This year I'm looking into Iran and/or the Czech Republic. At the end it's a question if I find the support from sponsors, but I'm optimistic. I'm starting to develop the same concept in skateboarding because through my snowboard travels I made also a lot of contacts in skateboarding. I think the classic skateboard movie needs a kind of update. That was the reason I made movies in this documentary style -- I was just over the regular 100 percent action, trick-by-trick movies. I think bringing a story in the movie combined with interviews of great personalities and action makes our sport more open to a wider crowd.

Where can US viewers get the movies?
"At Equilibrium" will be available by the end of the year, after the European premiere tour is finished. By donating three Euros per movie you can download your own high definition copy of all documentaries through my website: All you need is a Paypal account. Your donation will be straight invested in upcoming movies.

By Jesse Huffman
Sept 03, 2010



We are more than happy to announce the release of the new photo series on





For those that missed the last years highlight „From Romania with Love“ get your own High Definition copy on:

Also don´t forget to check out our latest documentary "BREATHE" as high definition download:

Please check out the following upcoming productions and help us realizing them:

"GEWOHNHEITEN"  -  the new short movie after the success of "MIRA83" which is going to be our first OPEN SOURCE PROJECT with a lot of innovative features

"IRAN"  -  our new snowboard documentary for the coming winter 2010/11

"SURFING THE WILD EAST"  -  the most unique surf trip to the Middle East

As a tightly knit and devoted team, we are currently seeking sponsorships and exploring they opportunities of crowd funding to help fund our projects. The whole concept of production will be as innovative and modern as possible. we will work with new ways of crowd funding like, or Very soon this project will be available on these platforms and visitors can start supporting our project. stay tuned for more information on this one.

To jumpstart our incentive and commitment, has released a donation fundraiser to encourage sponsorship if monetary support is preferred.

As for sponsorships, there are various levels to satisfy all needs of modern sponsoring, and agreements are negotiated individually. Just contact us and we can discuss all opportunities further.

If you are in the media business we would like to ask you if you could publish something about our new projects in order to help us realizing, especially funding these productions. If you are interested but having further questions, please get in touch with us.

Thanks for your interest in these projects,

René Eckert

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Club5+ Alpine organizers convene in Annecy – 29 September 2010 - 22:51
Ski sports in schools at focus of FIS Youth Seminar – 30 September 2010 - 16:13
Lots of ski jumping in summer 2011 – 04 October 2010 - 12:19
Hinzenbach: Ice track in summer – 04 October 2010 - 12:21
Women's World Cup is taking shape – 04 October 2010 - 12:24

Previous: Zurich 2010 – Top sports action and engaged crowd – 28 September 2010 - 19:17
Simone Paredi (ITA) wins FIS Rollerski World Cup 2010 – 28 September 2010 - 18:33
COC-M: Kamil Stoch dominates in Almaty – 26 September 2010 - 16:51
Construction works in Sochi continue – 26 September 2010 - 14:45
Daniel Albrecht first time on the Streif again – 24 September 2010 - 16:40

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