Jess Kimura “The Uninvited” Teaser & Interview
One of the hardest working riders out there, Jess Kimura, is making a snowboard movie and everyone is invited to watch. The two-year project will feature some amazing boarding by an all female crew including Maria Thomsen, Darrah Reid-McLean and Madison Blackley. The Uninvited official teaser already has us hyped for the full-length feature dropping next year. We caught up with Kimura to get some insight into this project and why she felt the need to create an all-girls video. Check out the interview below and stay tuned for more from The Uninvited.
Interview by Ruby Woodruff
SBC: We hear you’re making an all-girls snowboard film–The Uninvited—can you tell us a bit about it?
Jess: I hurt my ankle pretty badly the season before last. I fought my way through filming that year but found out after that I had to get ankle surgery and was gonna have to sit out the next season. I wanted to put my energy into something positive that I normally wouldn’t have time to do, and I’ve always thought about making a girls snowboard movie…ever since the Peep Show days with June and Estée. So, I bought a camera and hit up some girls who I thought had the most potential and who also needed a project to film for. Then I started going out with the girls, scoping spots, building setups, coordinating photographers, and filming them. Soccer mom style, rolling around in my truck.
S: What made you decide to take on this project and how long have you been working on it?
J: I really saw a need for another platform for girls whose goal it is to film video parts. I’m always trying to do my best to give advice and mentor the girls who are coming up and it always seemed to come down to not having a project to film for. Having to take the season off freed up time and energy to do something to give back.
S: Who else is involved?
J: The rider list is Maria Thomsen, Ivika Jurgenson, Miyon Yamaguchi, Darrah Reid, Kennedi Deck, Kaleah Opal, Hiromi Takahashi, Madison Blackley, Alexa McCarty and Taylor Elliot.
S: Will this film be mainly street riding?
J: Yep mostly. It’s the most affordable option for riders who don’t have a travel budget, truck or snowmobile. One of our riders from Japan hikes sick sidecountry zones and rips in pow though, Hiromi Takahashi. She is also really sick in the streets.
S: Where are you planning on filming? Do you have some traveling in mind?
J: We did two major trips last season, one to Quebec and one to Salt Lake. I wanted to give the girls a jump on filming and get the project going. This coming season we will have to play it by ear. The girls all have to save up their own money working in the summer so if the snow is there locally, they will mostly film around their own zones and hope to do a couple trips if they can afford it.
S: How did you choose the name? Is there one instance in particular that it’s alluding to or is it referring to multiple experiences?
J: The Uninvited came from Krush of Snowboy Productions. We were sitting and bullshitting on what it’s like to feel like an outsider, or too often feel excluded from the crew, the scene, etc. After that I was thinking about how girls are never invited. It’s so hard to get on a dude’s film crew, or even back when we were kids and nobody wanted to bring the little sister to the skate sessions or neighbourhood hangouts. We’re girls, we are never invited, hahaha. It’s kind of a joke but there’s definitely some truth to it.
S: We know that you recently had ankle surgery. Are there any other injuries or challenges that you (or any of the riders) have had to deal with?
J: We did have quite a few injuries. These girls aren’t trying beginner stuff when they are out filming. The risk and consequences are real and many of them paid the price. Watching and trying to help them navigate the medical system was frustrating though. They needed immediate specialist care and in some cases, surgery and they were just shuffled around and not taken seriously. On that note, yes, I just had ankle surgery and I had to pay for it out of pocket or I would have had to wait two years to get through the system. Unfortunately, these girls don’t have that option.
S: All female crews definitely have a harder time getting funding and recognition in snowboarding. How do you work through this added pressure?
J: For funding this past year I knew it would be nearly impossible to get sponsor money so I just paid for shit myself. I won’t be able to do that again this year but I’m positive we can be creative and resourceful and figure it out…we will do it anyway regardless of the recognition or attention the industry pays to it.
S: Have people been supportive towards The Uninvited so far?
J: Before releasing the teaser, we hadn’t really officially spoken about what it is besides having an Instagram account that not too many people know about. We haven’t been promoting it or anything. I’m really flying by the seat of my pants with this thing so creating hype before we had the product would have added pressure to an already stressful situation. If you mean sponsors, we don’t have any right now. I wanted to take a different approach and not make our first step to ask for money from companies. I’ve been advocating for the girls, to their sponsors just asking them to help the riders out with getting onto filming trips, but we aren’t taking any money or trying to make any profit from this. It’s straight up hand to mouth, maybe send us some boards we can trade to filmers for shots or whatever.
For those who know about it, people have been generally supportive. Crazy people will always say crazy things, but most feedback has been positive. I didn’t really start this to hear what people think about it. I’m not trying to make the best snowboard movie ever or an epic cinematic masterpiece. It was never “here, I’m doing this thing do you like it? Do you approve?” No, it just needs to happen. For these girls, for girls in general. Regardless of people’s opinions or reactions. The underdogs especially, male or female, who know what it’s like to be uninvited; they are backing it hard.
S: You’ve always been a very strong and inspirational rider, challenging what females can do and what crews they can ride with. What advice would you give to others who want to follow the same path?
J: Just don’t give up, don’t worry about looking like an idiot. Take the first step, then the second. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do it. Tell yourself you can, then show everyone with your actions, not your words.
S: When can we expect The Uninvited to drop?
J: We have a four-part series premiering this Fall and then a two-year full video dropping Fall 2018.
S: Shout outs/Last words?
J: Thanks to everyone who helped us. Big shout outs to Jake, Ben, and Troy Erickson who is an amazing filmer and editor. Thanks to the girls for pouring their heart into this thing.