The Tales of Vienna / Interview Mike Henitiuk

Within the Seeking Nirvana family nests the crow Mike Henitiuk. We asked him to shed some light on the behind-the-scenes and the dynamics of their second season. He gracefully ran along with it in this interview.

Black crows : Lets start from the start, why this title ?

Mike : The title comes from the name of the boat, Vienna. Rileys’ dad bought the boat a few years ago and keeps it on an a small island of the coast of Vancouver. It was named by the previous owner. We liked the name and how the French accordion score sounded. So we rolled with it.

Black crows : Was there an experienced skipper on the boat ?

Mike : Riley is the most experienced for sure. The rest of us didn’t really know what we were doing. We made it work and luckily stayed safe. We had a few close calls while sailing in heavy gusting winds, but managed to keep the boat straight and upright…barley.

Black crows : After the success of the first series, how did you want to evolve ?

Mike : We wanted to stick with a similar formula because it worked so well for us last year. But at the same time we didn’t want to keep putting out the same thing. So we found a happy medium. Everything seemed to click so easy last year. This year was a different story. Its been a ton of work and we have all taken on new roles as both skiers, directors, producers, set designers etc.. We could take a step back and let other people do those tasks but seeking nirvana is our baby, and we want it to be exactly how we see it in our minds. So thats what we do.

Black crows : Your first series had some cinematographic influences, like Wes Anderson, would you say there are some new influences on this new series ?

Mike : Yes, we like to take influence from some of our favourite movies/directors. This go around we went with a Guy Ritchie, Snatch theme. Its been a fun learning experience taking influence from these directors but also adding our own flavour to it.

Black crows : In this project, how many persons are involved apart from the skiers ? Can you name them and explain their role please ?

Mike : Our team apart from the skiers is our editor, Leigh Powis and our Cine Taylor Loughran. We also work with a graphic designer Alex Vaui, he does our titles and logos. My Dad, Jay writes the voice over and our good friend Colby West does the voice. We also work with a drone pilot Dylan Ross as well as Jamie Tanner. We really appreciate our team and how quickly they are able to turn things around for us. Its a group effort always and never as easy as we think. But the extra effort we have put into this is why people appreciate our series as skiers or just plain old outdoor enthusiasts.

Black crows : Josh Bibby is new on board if i am correct, why did you embark him ?

Mike : Bibby has been a friend of ours since we were kids. It just seemed right to have him get on board. He fits in perfect with our crew and thats the most important thing when you are out in the backcountry or on a sail boat. We are a team thats has a common goal and thats why this whole series is possible.

Black crows : How did the first episode of The Tales of Vienna go ? Was it in the Olympic mountains ? It seems pretty wet weather.

Mike : Our original plan was to head to Japan for our first film. Conditions didn’t pan -out, so we ending up last minute bailing and with far less time to plan the sailing mission than expected. So that being said we added a bit of fiction to our story. But this ended up being a blessing and has now given us some new inspiration moving forward with our films. The filming was done in a few different locations including the coastal mountains of the sea to sky and Vancouver island. We somewhat lucked out with weather while we were sailing and had mostly cold clear days on the boat. We weren’t wet, but -10 degrees cellsus on the open ocean was extremely cold and bone chilling to say the least.

Black crows : What’s next ?

Mike : We currently wrapping up shooting for our second film. To be released in the April.3. We still have to shoot the intro, which usually takes us a day or two and then string everything together. Music, edit, titles, voice over… Its a lot of work in a very tight timeline. There’s always a lot of factors involved that makes these films play the way they do. It takes hard work and dedication. Especially when your sitting in an editing room and its a blue bird pow day up in Whistler. But if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Black crows : How do you finance all this ?

Mike : We are able to finance this through our sponsors, Norrøna, MEC, Tyrolia and our producers at Edge TV network. Without them it wouldn’t be possible. It also takes out of our personal budgets/sponsor dollars. These films we create cost a lot of money and time to come to life.

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