A Free Art Form

Absinthe Films’ AfterForever Carries the Torch for Independent Snowboard Media

“We spent the first few months of the season at my house in Nelson, just driving around in Austen’s truck,” Justin Hostynek said.

He was on the stage and on the mic at the Siff Cinema Uptown for the Seattle premiere of Absinthe Films’ new release “AfterForever.” Most of the seats were filled. But the fact that he was up there was a testament to his love for snowboarding—to his strength of will and belief that independent media must carry the torch forward, lest we get sucked into the advertorial world of the marketing machine.

“We made it work. It was a bit different, but we found the support we needed and made our way to Alaska,” Hostynek continued.

Hostynek is 47 years old now. He could have thrown in the towel and moved on to shooting car commercials years ago. No doubt he has the skills. But dude is psyched on boarding. Always has been, and it seems he always will be. He knows how to apply the DIY approach when needed. Same goes for his crew—from Austen Sweetin to Jaeger Bailey to Manuel Diaz and Kimmy Fasani, Garrett Warnick to Max Buri to Mark Sollors and Brandon Cocard, these are riders who believe in snowboarding. Who aren’t afraid to make it happen by any means necessary. And it shows in their riding.

Jerome Tanon’s self-produced documentary “The Eternal Beauty of Snowboarding” had already played and dropped some highly entertaining insight into that question of why—why chase around the world on a shoestring budget to self-indulge in distant snow-sliding locales? Why keep pushing for days, weeks, months for a three-minute clip? But more on that in a few weeks. In the meantime, the stage had been set for the 45-minutes or so of proof.

Cocard opened the show with a diverse approach, from street to the backcountry. Then Manuel Diaz charged AK. Warnick and Sollors added a bit of both, Jaeger Bailey flipped off everything, and Fasani held it down for the ladies in AK. Max Buri brought a new wave of Swiss style into the mix, and Brendan Gerard crashed, stomped and bled. It was good—really good. And Austen Sweetin showed that those months of grinding were worth it. His closer segment made me think he’d popped right out of the Mikey Leblanc meets Gigi Rüf school for kids who snowboard well. Weird contortionist airs off impossibly poppy jumps, airs to flat in urban environs, a bit of AK par 4 action—Sweetin ripped it all with style.

And that’s why Hostynek keeps doing it after all these years: to showcase snowboarding as a free art form. He isn’t trying to sell you anything beyond a love for a sport, a vision into its future that’ll hopefully get you stoked to strap in and try something new this year. AfterForever does that. It’s worth supporting. Like the Absinthe classics of years past, it’ll have staying power long beyond that branded clip that comes and goes in a flicker of your web browser.


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