Darcy Turenne

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Dan Dakin

A former rider pro­duces fea­ture-length doc­u­men­tary on the his­tory of freeride

For Darcy Turenne, the pres­sure was im­mense. Handed the ar­chives of a leg­endary moun­tain bike film­maker, Turenne was tasked with telling the story of the birth of freerid­ing. Three years later, the re­sult of many hours of work is now com­plete. The­mo­ment, a fea­ture-length doc­u­men­tary about the birth of a new dis­ci­pline of moun­tain bik­ing on Canada’s West Coast, re­cently wrapped up a tour with stops in B.C. and Cal­i­for­nia.

“I’ve had a bit of a panic at­tack,” Turenne said in late Novem­ber, only hours af­ter the fi­nal edits on the film were sealed. “Now it’s locked. I cried tears of ‘holy shit, I hope I didn’t mess this up.’ I’m dwelling on the omis­sions I had to make and all the lit­tle bits and pieces that aren’t per­fect in my mind that no­body will prob­a­bly ever no­tice.”

What made her so ner­vous about the fi­nal prod­uct is also what made her the per­fect per­son to pro­duce it: Turenne is not only a tal­ented film­maker, but she’s a former pro­fes­sional moun­tain biker. She raced cross coun­try as a young­ster, and then switched to down­hill, where she made the Cana­dian na­tional team be­fore switch­ing to freeride and rid­ing for some of the big­gest spon­sors in the in­dus­try, such as Oak­ley, Dakine and Norco, a com­pany she also helped de­sign some women’s freeride bikes for.

When an in­jury ended her rid­ing ca­reer, Turenne used a master’s de­gree as a cat­a­lyst for her film ca­reer. She has since pro­duced a num­ber of doc­u­men­taries, com­mer­cials, mu­sic videos and short films, in­clud­ing Jack­ieland, a short movie about a B.C. woman which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. But it was the deep ar­chives of moun­tain bike film pi­o­neers Bjørn Enga and Chris­tian Bé­gin that led Turenne to pro­duce The­mo­ment.

The two felt they were too close to the story – which needed to be told so badly – to pro­duce the doc­u­men­tary prop­erly, so they turned to Turenne. “The op­por­tu­nity to tell this story was so huge,” she said. “I owe freeride moun­tain bik­ing so much. It made me who I am and al­lowed me to travel the world and have these in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ences. To be the per­son to tell the story about its begin­nings is re­ally hum­bling.”

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of skate­board­ing’s Dog­tow­nandz-boys, and rock climb­ing’s Val­leyu pris­ing, The­mo­ment is a fea­ture-length doc­u­men­tary that en­ter­tains view­ers with archival and re­cent footage, and dozens of in­ter­views with some of freeride’s found­ing fa­thers, such as Wade Simmons, Greg Stump, Richie Sch­ley, Brent Tip­pie, “Dan­ger­ous” Dan Cowan and many oth­ers. “The char­ac­ters who made up the story are all friends of mine,” Turenne said, “so the first el­e­ment of pres­sure was to rep­re­sent my friends in a pos­i­tive, yet ac­cu­rate way.”

Turenne also wanted to be his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate, while not want­ing to make a bor­ing chrono­log­i­cal record. “I wanted it to be as en­ter­tain­ing as pos­si­ble to rep­re­sent moun­tain bik­ing in a way that non-moun­tain bik­ers would still find re­ally en­gag­ing and re­spect the sport for its re­ally cool begin­nings,” she said.

Af­ter pre­mier­ing at the Whistler Film Festival in De­cem­ber, The­mo­ment toured around the West Coast of Canada and the U.S. As of Jan. 1, Turenne opened the show for screen­ings any­where around the world, which can be booked through the film’s web­site.

As for what comes next, Turenne said she’s going to take a break from tak­ing on a pro­ject as big as The­mo­ment for a while. “I would take on an­other pro­ject like this, but I need a bit of breath­ing room,” she said. “I would do it very dif­fer­ently. I’d have a much stronger team around me, be­cause this was a bit of a lonely process.”

In the mean­time, she’ll get back to her com­mer­cial work and pro­duc­ing short cre­ative projects. Turenne is also in the midst of writ­ing a fea­ture film script she in­tends to pitch to a pro­duc­tion com­pany.

“I have no idea what 2018 holds,” she said.

“The char­ac­ters who made up the story are all friends of mine.”

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