POW Creative Alliance Members, Sara Robbins and Iz La Motte, connect on a new film: Advice For Girls
POW Creative Alliance Members, Sara Robbins and Iz La Motte, are talented photographers and videographers in the outdoor space and POW community. Iz has joined us on DC lobby trips, photographing the fast-paced days of being on The Hill, while we advocate for climate policy and public land protection. Sara has been a videographer / photographer at various POW events, working closely with us to share our stories from her POV.
Recently, they connected on a new project: Advice For Girls. What was Initially a nugget of an idea blossomed into something very special – an all-women ski film, from everyone in front of the camera to everyone behind. With queer women, disabled women and women of color all having a presence in A4G, they have set out to inspire all women to take up space in the industry.
A4G has taken cities by storm, selling out shows from Burlington to Bellingham since their film tour started in October.
**The tour is slowly coming to a close, but you can still watch from the comfort of your own home. Get the digital copy on their site here: https://www.adviceforgirlsfilm.com/shop/p/digital-copy-of-the-film.**
Iz and Sara had previously not known each other before starting A4G earlier last year. Fast forward to now, they seem to interact like old friends. This feels like a small testament to how special this project has been for everyone involved in the filming process.
POW is honored to be a sponsor of A4G and play a role in connecting Iz and Sara. We sat down with them both to dig more into the details of how they got this project up and running.
POW: First, can you both tell us a bit about yourselves and your specific involvement in Advice For Girls?
Sara: I live in Crested Butte, Colorado. I am a filmmaker and co-owner of The Road West Traveled, which is a full-service production company. I do a lot of work in the ski space, but also a lot of commercial work in bikes. Outside of the film, I have been competing in the Freeride World Qualifiers, which is how I met Addy Jacobsend. We had known each other from the qualifier circuit, and she came to me last November and was like, “Hey, I have a film idea and would love to work with you on it.”
I’m the director of the film. I’m also the producer, cinematographer and editor.
Iz: I was the cinematographer and editor on the film. I split my time… so winter in Salt Lake and then summer and fall in Vermont. I got brought onto the project last December-ish. Sara and Addy had this idea, and then brought Sierra Schlag on, and then they started building out their team. I own my own photo and video company, and Sara heard of me through… actually POW was our connection!
POW: So, I remember you mentioning at one of the shows that getting sponsorship for the film was fairly difficult. What was your experience with that?
Sara: I think a lot of people don’t know the back end and the inner workings of what it takes to make a ski film. We didn’t want to be tied to one particular brand, per se. We wanted to be able to tell women’s stories how we felt. So, we had to get a little creative in that sense.
We went to multiple different brands to start to fill our budget, including Storyteller Overland. And POW approached us, asking if they could help out, despite it not being a climate film. Donny O’neill (POW Sr. Content Manager) was like, “but you’re challenging the norm, and you’re trying to change the narrative, and that’s what POW is all about.”
We also went to Kickstarter, and we had over 400 Kickstarter backers. We had a goal of raising $40,000, and we surpassed that by $7,000. We’re also using the tour to fund the film as well, so that’s why we’ve been really pushing it out. Not only to just get it in front of people, but also to help us go back and pay the creatives and the crew and the athletes.
POW: The crew has sold out numerous shows and have even added more tour dates. Were you all expecting this? What does it feel like?
Iz: I think we hoped that it would be big because, I don’t know, obviously we wanted it to be. But I think personally, I never imagined it would be this big, and I think it really shows that these stories are valued. Storytelling, period, is valued, but also sharing the stories of women in this space.
I think that’s conversations we had with brands .. okay, what’s the value here? We’ve sold out over 30 stops, and it shows this is what people have been waiting for.
POW: What was your favorite part of filming? Are there any major takeaways from being on an all-female set and how that felt for you all?
Sara: From the beginning, we were like, okay, filmmaking is stressful, and skiing can be stressful. A lot of these things are really heightened experiences. And so, we can’t then make our team that way too. This needs to be the place we can all retreat back to and feel like that’s where we can feel safe.
It was a place where creativity could blossom. I didn’t want to squander the creative process at all. For the athletes too… because at the end of the day, athletes are creatives as well, the way that they interact with the mountains.
I’ve gone off and done other shoots while I’ve also been in post-production on this, and every single time I come back, and I’m like, “I just want to go back into the little Advice for Girls bubble.” That’s my safe space.
POW: Being women in the industry, are there any specific experiences you’ve had, either positive or negative, that fuel you now to do what you do?
Iz: When I came into this space, I didn’t see gender being a part of my story. I just wanted to make things in the mountains.
And I think pretty quickly, both in positive and negative ways, my gender became a really big part of my story … in positive ways of female athletes coming up to me. I worked at Alta Ski Area. That was how I started my career as a photographer in their marketing department. And in the first meeting we had with our entire team, which was all the athletes and photographers … some of the female athletes came up to me and were like, “Oh my god. I can’t believe there’s a female photographer on staff. We get to shoot with you all the time. This is incredible.”
And then, also negative gender experiences.
There was a line in our film that didn’t quite make it in. Being a female in this space you need to be exceptional. I think all of us carry this weight of – if what I’m doing isn’t perfect and the best it can possibly be, I’m not going to be able to prove that I’m worthy of being here. And that’s just obviously a very large weight to carry.
POW: So, of course, we have to ask – what is your advice for girls?
Iz: My advice is to know that you can be whoever and whatever you want to be. I think this is more from the creative side, but I so often see folks waiting around for someone ranked above them to give them permission to take on whatever role they want to take on. Create projects. Don’t wait for a project to come to you. Create the art that you want to see.
Sara: Know your value and don’t shy away from that. Know your worth, add tax, and if somebody tells you that you’re not worth what you’re saying that you’re worth, then that’s not the right opportunity. Because one no just means a bigger yes later on, and that just is going to open the doors for so many more opportunities.
Haven’t seen Advice 4 Girls? Go to their page for a digital copy of the film: https://www.adviceforgirlsfilm.com/shop/p/digital-copy-of-the-film.
Author: Mandy Karako
Mandy grew up in the hill country of Austin, Texas where she spent many of her weekends outside on the lake, wakeboarding, water skiing and finding any and all high cliffs to jump off of. She attended University of Colorado Boulder where she earned a degree in Environmental Studies and interned for various environmental nonprofits, […]