2020 Long Film of the Year

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Story telling through long films that capture our attention.

Golden Era: A Film by Liam Fournier

“In the mid-’80s the Kern River was considered to be one of the best sections of paddling in the world. Over the years as the snowpack thinned the season became shorter and shorter and paddlers sought rivers further north and higher into the Sierra Nevada and the Kern was almost all but forgotten. Until 2017, California received record-breaking snowpacks and a handful of paddlers came down to experience its power. That season Evan Moore, a native to the Kern River Valley put the Cataracts back on the map by pushing the limits of what can be run in a kayak and solidified this river at the pinnacle of our sport. Again over the course of the 2019 Winter, California was bombarded by snow, setting the stage for what is sure to be another record-setting runoff in California.”

Whitewater Awards: Where do you live, and where you from?
Liam Fournier
: I live in Squamish BC but I grew up in the Canadian Rockies in Canmore, AB

WA: Nickname.. and why is that your nickname?
Oh, Geez…. Haha at this point Agent Stryder is more of a lifestyle than a nickname. But the name originally derived from some of the looser times of my life when I was younger on a road trip throughout South America with my good mates Sandy MacEwan & Chris McTaggart and the Bolivar Expedition Crew. The inspiration for my nickname involved a handsome amount of cervezas, a hair cut, my favorite Hawaiian T-shirt, and wild night out on the streets of Ecuador. 

WA: How did you get into film making?
Growing up my mom made me learn how to play the piano and at the time I HATED it. Early on into my rebellious years, I refused to keep playing any longer. She gave me an ultimatum saying that if I played piano for one more year she would buy me my first video camera and so I committed to one last year of Piano. The bottom line is she always pushed me to pursue my artistic side, regardless of the medium. Much love mom, I owe it to you <3

WA: What inspired you to make this video?
After Road To 100 went live last year, Evan Moore hit me up about doing a project with him on the Kern River. He kept bugging me until I pulled the trigger last minute on a flight down to Cali. There is so much history in California Whitewater so Evan and I were really stoked on the idea of having Scott involved in the film as his knowledge and insight are unreal. Then having Aniol come into the picture is when the premise of the film became clear to me. 3 Generations, Past, Present, and Future and their insights into the World of Whitewater and the Kern River

WA: Why these riders showcased?
Why not these riders? In my opinion, they are some of the most dominant athletes of the sport and I am so grateful to have worked with them!

WA: Why this river showcased?
The Kern is one BADASS piece of whitewater. I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

WA: Dude.. 2X Winner Long Film of the Year.. WTF short films seem to be the jam right now but what inspires you to make the longer ones..?!
It’s WILD I can’t believe I am at where I am in my life right now. For me, kayak content and other sports content are so saturated right now with social media being the driving force. Not that, that is a bad thing I love it. But I find motivation from creating content that stands out from the rest and for me, that is story-driven content.

To win my second LFOTY amongst such a stacked crew of filmmakers that inspired me to tell stories in the first place is such an honour!

WA: Do you just shoot mostly adventure, or you supplement with commercial?
For the most part, I shoot adventure, it’s what I love! And I am fortunate to have a handful of athletes and brands that I am so stoked to work with and vice versa.

I also work in the film industry in Vancouver as a Camera Operator for a Drone Unit as-well-as Marine Stunt Rigging for Crosby Marine. I have a healthy balance of jobs that keep me STOKED.

WA: Do you shoot photos as well, or mostly video?
My photo hustle is grim haha but I respect those who can do it! I guess I shoot photos when I’m shooting time-lapses.

WA: Favorite project to date.
They all have their silver lining, but the one I still hold closest is Road to 100. At the time I still doubted my abilities as a filmmaker during that process and to have that project become as successful as it did is still surreal. Not to mention that project was shot with all of my favorite people involved and I owe it to them for helping make it happen!

WA: Favorite rider / s to film?
Edward, Shred, Shredbull however you know him. He’s one of my best friends as well as my roommate. We both have the same vision and end goal in mind and I am stoked to see where we take it!

I have also been shooting a lot with Nouria these past 6 months around the world and I have so much fun traveling and filming with her.

WA: Favorite Camera to use? Favorite / most common lens?
I just recently bought the new Zcam E2 S6 that paired with my 70-200mm or 24-70mm is the cat’s meow!

WA: Who has inspired you in the kayaking world of film and outside kayaking?
Rush Sturges and River Roots 100%. Rush has always been super supportive of my work. Whether it is teaching me how to shoot on a RED when I was a youngin or lending me a camera for a shoot when mine shits the bed. I owe him many thanks for all his help!

Outside of that Sherpas Cinema has always been super inspiring for me. The way they tell stories is on another level!

WA: One thing you NEVER forget for a shoot other than your camera equipment.
A sturdy pair of shoes is ESSENTIAL. Never know where you’re gonna end up.

WA: One place you’ve got plans to film after this COVID 19 clears up?!
I am stoked to keep it a bit more local this summer on focus on some BC projects with the homies. 

WA: Other than your content who would you recommend watching  or following on the ol’ insta for film work?!
Scrap Creative is coming out with some mind-bending shit!.  Some others would be Blank Collective, Parallel Sea and Revel Co.

WA: Favorite person / page you follow on insta?!
: @follow_the_river @torryd

WA: Where is a place we can see more of your work?! Website, gallery etc?
: Ooooofffff hate to say it but Website and Showreel are in the works as we speak! But most of my work can be found on Vimeo or typing in my name on the old google.

WA: Words of wisdom to those wanting to make it in the film game?
Just get out there and shoot shoot shoot. Don’t be afraid to take risks and trying something that is out of your comfort zone. It usually pans out!

WA: Something not many people know about you?
I like smooth Jazz baby.

Golden Era WWA Banner

James Byrd

1 thought on “2020 Long Film of the Year”

  1. ellen fournier

    Hello Liam. Congratulations! You did it again, winning the Long Film award for the second time!
    I just loved your comments in the interview, You are a very good storyteller too.Your film is absolutely exciting to watch and the word “extreme” certainly fits watching the kayakers in action. It takes my breath away.
    So proud of your efforts,Liam and your amazing talent. Brilliant!
    Aunty Ellen

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