Originally in the Jan. ’17 issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine.
Cocooned in a shell created by those who wanted to label her "just a female filmer filming only female riders", Amanda Hankison has spent the past couple years freeing herself from those bonds and breaking down barriers to carry snowboarding where she believes it should go. Armed with a couple cameras, her own company (Jetpack), and a large group of friends spanning the country she is set to undergo her next metamorphosis into one of snowboarding's brightest filmers/visionaries .
How did you decide to get into filming?
I got a miniDV camera in 6th grade for Christmas and would film my friends at Raging Buffalo, right outside of Chicago, after school. We had no idea what we were doing but it was so much fun.
Was it all business right away? Or did your focus on it as a career occur gradually?
Filming, to me, is a way of remembering where you've been and the people you were with in that place. The memories are number one in my book. Photography and filming have always been a big part of my life regardless of monetary compensation so I'd call it more of a glorified hobby at this point rather than a career.
You and JetPack are intertwined for better or for worse. Describe what JetPack is to you.
JetPack is everything to me. Snowboarding naturally provides a vast network of good friends and crazy characters to any individual willing to dedicate the time to their snowboard. Through JetPack, I have sought to build strength within that community through spreading the power of positivity. It's amazing what can happen when you believe in all your friends and they believe in you. Positivity is a hell of a drug. I'd highly recommend it.
Did Jetpack come into existence as a product of your desire to film? Or do you think it would have come about either way?
We started JetPack out of a desire to create something new, which is also a huge draw to filming. If we don't constantly keep growing and creating why are we even here?
Once filming became work and not pleasure, did you go through any hard times trying to cope with that?
Hell yes I did.
Though you don't strictly film female riders you do film them quite a lot. Do you think it has been more difficult to achieve what you want personally and for the riders because you are in a predominantly male industry?
All I want to achieve at this point is to be surrounded with like-minded people doing something we all love. I felt the sting of being a female in a male dominated area when I was younger, that's for sure. You should have seen looks the filmers at events like Superpark would give me in the beginning. But your skin grows thick from experiences like that and you learn to appreciate good friends and good snowboarding when you find them.
Where does your inspiration come from to continue to pick up the camera and make stuff?
The people of snowboarding inspire me. Jon Stark, Desiree Melancon, Jake Durham, Pat Bridges and Sean Genovese off the top of my head. People with real commitment to snowboarding, who want to see it grow. People who push themselves not only creatively but also physically toss themselves across the country for months on end to keep our community connected. We're all in this together, after all.
Do you prefer the more documentary/overall narrative films in snowboarding? Or the straight action "here is what went down" films?
I think a mix of the two is best. When I was a kid I obsessed over Afterlame because they gave you enough of the rider through informal interviews that you could feel like you were homies with Bobby Meeks and laughed with him at the booty call line. You felt like you were giggling with Hampus [Mosesson] at Smiley Creek. That movie connected you to the riders as people, not just stunt jockies. It's a surreal experience for a kid from the midwest to feel that connection, especially before the internet and Facebook were a thing.
What is important to you as a filmer in snowboarding? Where do you want to see change and growth?
The kids needs to calm the fuck down. I'd like to see people focusing on portraying snowboarding in a new way, make something that's meaningful to you and your friends. I want to see projects filled with memories, projects that go deeper than "these are the tricks I landed this year." Reckless Abandon was a great example of what I'm talking about. That movie rules.
Quick hits. Long lens or fisheye?
Color or black and white?
Super 8 or RED?
Afterbang or Lame?
Back 3 or front 3?
Travis Parker or Scott E Wittlake?
"How's the park boys?"
What's on the horizon for Amanda Hankison and JetPack?
Second star to the right and straight on 'till morning.
Last words for the world?
Stay true to yourself and stay true to snowboarding. And learn to ask for help because teamwork makes the dream work! DS4L.