Thousands turn out at Squaw Valley for “McConkey” premier

| October 8, 2013 | 0 Comments

Thousands turned out for the Squaw Valley premier of “McConkey.” Photo courtesy Red Bull Media House.

Written by Laney Olson

The words, “Thank you Shane” lit the sky above Squaw Valley on Saturday evening as more than 4,000 gathered in the Village at Squaw to celebrate the life of extreme skier and BASE  jumper, Shane McConkey. This marked the start of Matchstick Productions’ “McConkey” North American Tour.

The documentary follows the life of McConkey, a former Squaw resident and celebrity as he made a name for himself in the world of extreme sports and inspired those around him. McConkey’s friends and family–including his wife and daughter–and 4,500 fans set up chairs and blankets in the Village to watch the premiere.

Director and former McConkey roommate Scott Gaffney was amazed by the turnout, “I was expecting 3,000, so we got considerably more.”

David Zieff, another “McConkey” director was awed.

“It’s a rock concert. I’ve been making movies a long time, I’ve never had a crowd this big. I’m stoked.”
Nearly 1,000 hours of footage, most of which was shot from McConkey’s personal cameras, was cut down to tell his inspirational story. With the help of Zieff and Gaffney, directors and friends of McConkey, Steve Winter, Murray Wais and Rob Bruce worked through the footage, looking for the best way to tell their friend’s story.
“It is the hard work of kind of finding the needle in the haystack,” says Zieff. “In Shane’s case, he lived a pretty amazing life and he captured footage for a lot of those amazing moments but it’s the in between moments that kind of make for the telling of the story.”

“Shane acted a lot for the camera,” says Gaffney. “So I tried to find the stuff that showed his true character.”

The film was a huge success. Gaffney says he has heard nothing but wonderful things about the movie. “I’ve been getting responses from people saying, ‘I have to make more of everyday’ and I find myself saying the same thing having known Shane.”
Bridge Nelson, a Tahoe local was among the crowd. “Amazing film. J.T. [Holmes] is one of my best friends, I had never met Shane but I’d heard a lot about him.”

Zieff hoped to inspire viewers with the movie.

“Most people are not going to huck 50 foot cliffs, they aren’t going to put on a wing suit but I think it will cause people to look at themselves differently, maybe to reflect on their lives and what matters.”
The message hit home for many viewers. Another Tahoe local, Wayne Smith says,  “It’s a very well made movie. It’s something all great athletes should learn from.”

“If you find yourself wasting your day away, think ‘Shane wouldn’t have done this,'” says Gaffney. “You don’t have to do what Shane did but do something to make your day more meaningful.”

From here, the movie will travel to other 20 places in North America making full theatrical runs in New York City and Los Angeles. “We won’t have the same numbers as we did in Squaw, with it being his home but the message will stand wherever the movie goes,” says Gaffney.

You can find more information about the movie or purchase your own copy here. “McConkey” is also available for digital download from iTunes, XBOX, Playstation and other digital retailers.


Category: Arts & Culture, Outdoors, Uncategorized, Visual Arts, Winter

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