Prayer Focus

First Descent

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language and a momentary drug reference
not reviewed
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Documentary, Sports
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 2, 2005 (wide)
DVD: February 21, 2006
Featuring: Shawn Farmer, Nick Perata, Terje Haakonsen, Shaun White, Hannah Teter
Director: Kemp Curly, Kevin Harrison
Producer: Kemp Curley, Kevin Harrison
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures
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“The story of the snowboarding revolution.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “The docu-drama First Descent chronicles the rebellious, inspiring and sometimes controversial rise of snowboarding—as seen through the eyes of the snowboarders setting the standards and breaking the boundaries of this worldwide phenomenon. First Descent spotlights a handful of snowboarding’s early pioneers (including Shawn Farmer, Nick Perata and Terje Haakonsen) and some of the ultra-sponsored superstar phenoms at snowboarding’s current cutting edge (Shaun White and Hannah Teter) and literally takes them to the edge—the snow blanketed mountains of Alaska—where these five icons face some of the most challenging and hard-core natural terrain on the planet. The five come for different reasons—Perata and Farmer to see if they still have what it takes, Haakonsen to add another credit to his Big Mountain resume, and White and Teter to undertake their first Big Mountain ride ever—and yet all seek to challenge themselves to accomplish the best snowboarding feat of their lives down peaks of powder no rider has ever descended.

Leading up to their first descent, the crew of five share their stories, comparing viewpoints, individual lifestyles, and unedited opinions on the evolution of snowboarding that began as a delinquent child of skiing and now stands as an international cultural movement that has permanently changed the face of winter sports.

Intercutting footage from the snowboarding revolution of the ’80s and ’90s, real-life accounts from both notorious and famed riders, and dramatic, newly-filmed scenes from the biggest winter contests and experiences these riders undergo on their way to and in Alaska, First Descent creates a fast-paced portrait of a snowsport that has quickly evolved from a fringe hobby to a full-fledged global event.”

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Movie Critics
…boring, repetitive and maddening about a subject you’d think would be fairly interesting: snowboarding down a mountain…
Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert
…The problem with “First Descent” is the incessant yap, yap, yadda, yadda yakking. The hyped-up narration rarely shuts up except for the spectacular crash scenes…
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Barry Paris
…while the snowboarding flick “First Descent” sometimes feels like parody, most of the laughs are unintentional…
L.A. Weekly, James C. Taylor
…Visually, this is one of the most arresting sports documentaries in years…
Chicago Tribune, Jessica Reaves
…Snowboarders are given their Dew in this nicely shot but lengthy exercise in corporate branding. …
The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Rechtshaffen
…adheres to the same storytelling trajectory as documentary predecessors on surfing and skateboarding …a satisfying ride …
USA Today, Mike Clark