It's pretty safe to say that of all the snowboard filmers who spent part of their childhood in Miami, Florida, Antony Vitale is far and away the most talented.
I first became aware of Anthony Vitale when he was a cameraman and I was a bit player for the High Voltage/SNOWBOARDER flick "1999." The movie was a collaboration between Jamie "Mouse" Mosberg and Justin Hostynek and was arguably the most ambitious snowboard film of the 90's. Mosberg had just made Birdhouse's "The End" so I was pretty stoked to be a part of the whole deal and would do anything he asked. My part of the project began with Mouse handing me a pair of tights so I could play a referee and ended with Mouse calling me an "East Coast asshole who ruined his movie."
Anthony and I had crossed paths a few times over the last decade but never really hung out. That all changed two years ago when we drove across Pennsylvania sharing a car as the only two smokers in a DC team caravan. We shot the shit and Anthony's stories made the three-hour trek fly. Had I known he was a part of "Whiskey" and "20/20" I probably would have sought out the scenic route just to keep his tales of snowboarding in the 90s coming. Ultimately, it wasn't the stories or smokes that endeared Anthony to me as much as it was the fact that he was a genuine and solid dude. That, combined with his cinematic skills, makes him the complete package behind the camera.
Age : 43
Home Mountain: Whistler, BC
Works For: DC Films
Gear: HVX 200, Canon 5D, Red Scarlet, Cartoni Gamma, Ford F 350, Ski Doo Etec 800 154
Movies Filmed For:
1998: "Golden Circle," High Voltage Productions
1999: "1999," High Voltage Productions
2000: "True Life," Mack Dawg Productions
2001: "Stand and Deliver," Mack Dawg Productions
2002: "Pulse," Mack Dawg Productions
2002: "Nixon Jib Fest," Mack Dawg Productions
2003: "Shakedown," Mack Dawg Productions
2004: "Positron," Whiteout Films,
2005: "Big Blind," Whiteout Films
2006: "Wear It Well," Whiteout Films
2007: "Season 4," Whiteout Films
2008: "It's Always Snowing Somewhere," Burton Snowboards
2009: "Shredisodes," DC
2011: "Polar Opposites," DC
2012: "Must Be Nice," DC
How was working on the full-length DC Snowboarding release "Must Be Nice" different than last season's "Polar Opposites" with Iikka Backstrom and Devun Walsh?
"Must Be Nice" was more fun because we didn’t have to produce any edits during the season. We were able to concentrate on shooting for a final edit that was going to be put together once the season was finished. "Polar Opposites" was much harder to produce because dates were set and so we had to get an edit out even if we where short footage. We didn’t want to just put out a B-roll web edit, so we were under a lot of pressure to get A-grade footage into those edits and as we all know, the weather is what dictates what you can shoot. I was happy with the way they turned out. It's funny how that worked. The first one was my favorite and we had less bangers and more early-season storm footage.
What was the experience like filming Devun for X Games Real Snow Backcountry?
I didn’t really like shooting for X Games Real Snow. It completely changed the vibe of being out in the mountains and it seemed like the riders and filmers were really stressed. It created awkward moments for everybody. It probably felt more like this in Whistler because there was no snow in North America and there were five X games riders all in the same area. There's always some degree of competitiveness, but this was different. In the end it was more about the tricks than the cinematography, so it was pretty much like any other contest. I think for the riders and their sponsors it was really beneficial. It was good exposure and I’m sure there were a lot of views, but for me it wasn’t that much fun.
Do you have any nightmare border stories?
Not really, as I’ve got dual citizenship. Tell the truth and you’ll be fine, because those guys can tell when you are lying.
Of all of the projects you have worked on which one are you most proud of?
I don’t really have one project that I can say that I’m the most proud of. "True Life," "Big Blind," and "Must Be Nice" are probably my top three.
What happened with Whiteout Films?
There were a lot of factors that played into the demise of Whiteout Films. We were having trouble raising money from sponsors and DVD sales were starting to slip. We were also losing riders to bigger projects. Some of our top guys were being pressured by their sponsors to film for projects that sold more DVDs than us. We probably could have continued making films, but not having key riders was only going to make it harder, so we pulled the pin.
Can you tell us a behind-the-scenes story that nobody knows from the making of Forum’s "True Life? "
It’s been a long time, so I’m not sure if it was the year that we made "True Life," but Devun knocked his front teeth out and had a serious concussion. When [Sean] Kearns got to the hospital Devun was running around the doctor's office naked and toothless. I guess he was so concussed that he thought he didn’t need to wear clothes!
Why do a lot of filmers smoke cigs?
Ha ha. Why do a lot filmers smoke cigs? I’m not sure, but a lot of us do smoke. Maybe because it can be a pretty stressful job. It sucks because it’s so fucking bad for you. It’s easy to become a heavy smoker when you work outside and no one can tell you that you can’t smoke. P.S. I’m reading Allen Carr’s book on quitting, so we’ll see how it goes.
Is there an editor you feel best handing your footage off to?
I’ve always liked working with Mikee HK, but this year I got to work with Justin Smith who I hope to be working on more projects with in the future. He’s an amazing editor and not only cuts well, but he understands the music side of editing. He made putting "Must Be Nice" together so much fun for me and it's a pleasure to watch him do his thing.
What was it like to work with Jamie Mosberg, aka Mouse?
Amazing. Jamie taught me not to be afraid to take chances, as he was always experimenting with different cameras and mediums. I learned so much. He’s a pretty harsh critic, so if he told you that you did something wrong, you didn’t forget.
Do you have a favorite section of "Must Be Nice?"
The intro was really fun to work on, but Devun’s is my favorite part. It's inspiring to see him at his age and still be one of the best in the world at what he does.
Has the accessibility of online viewer metrics caused a change in how projects are getting made and their direction?
Having so much accessibility has in some ways cheapened the products. That said, there are still ways to produce quality content. You’re just competing against so much more content. Anyone can post a video now.
How many times have you been landed on while filming?
Ha Ha. Just that once at Superpark. I still can’t believe when I look at that footage that I didn’t get seriously injured. I’m lucky I didn’t lose my scalp.
[Ed Note: Anthony wasn't landed on at Superpark. It was Mt Hood. So he really got nailed!]
What is one piece of advice you would give riders heading out to the backcountry to film for the first time?
Go out with experienced riders and filmers, because if the shit hits the fan, you gotta trust that they well do everything in their power to save your life.