The Crash Reel chronicles the snowboarding accident of professional snowboarder, Kevin Pearce, and his re-ascent toward recovery.
This eye-popping film seamlessly combines twenty years of stunning action footage with new specially-shot verité footage and interviews as it follows U.S. champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce and exposes the irresistible but potentially fatal appeal of extreme sports.
Kevin Pearce Interview
SB: "The Crash Reel" opened in theaters Dec. 13th, How widely will the film be released?
KP: The film will going to be released in of select theaters. It's amazing to see how much more powerful it is to see it on a big screen, so I'm psyched for people to for it to get out on into movie theaters and for people to people to be able to see it. It's because of how much heavy stuff happens in that film and to be able to witness it on a full size screen with the real music and the real sounds, it's like, amazing how it can affect you.
SB: Especially, with the crowd dynamic and the shared emotions.
KP: Yeah, yep there's a lot of different emotions going on in that film, which I feel are positive, because you can learn a lot of good stuff about snowboarding, about family and what is possible and what can happen.
SB: Yeah definitely, especially for recreation snowboarding. I watch a lot of videos and you see kids doing big rail tricks and other crazy urban snowboarding without wearing helmets. What do you think we can do as media to get kids to wear helmets?
KP: Yeah, it's just crazy to me that kids are going to go out there and not wearing a helmet. It is easy to put on a helmet and if you wear a helmet for a couple days, they're really not that uncomfortable and they're not going to change how you snowboard. I mean, you get to the point where you feel weird when you don't have a helmet on, when you’ve worn one for long enough. I remember I would go snowboarding, and if I didn’t have a helmet, for some reason, I just wouldn't feel as confident or as comfortable. You know, helmets really help in that way, they really do help you become more confident and make you believe that your going to be able to do that trick and it's just kind of that little extra security. It is like a little a seat belt that you are throwing on you head. The snowboard tricks, in this sport come with such a high level and so dangerous now that it's just stupid for me not to. It's just stupid not to put on a helmet.
SB: It is almost like wearing a seat belt in a car. Once you get use to it, you feel like there is something missing if you’re not buckled.
KP: It is. It's like it's so dangerous to get in a car on the road, a seat belt is just the smallest little thing you can do and it's the same exact thing when you wear a snowboard helmet.
SB: Did you already have the premier where you hosted the film or are you going to premiere this somewhere else?
KP: Yeah, I've already gone around to a bunch of different locations. I went around the world actually. We started off in Sundance where we first showed "The Crash Reel" last year. I've traveled around the whole country (US), London, New Zealand and Australia. So, I've done a lot of showings and it's been really fun to be able to, show this film. It really is powerful and it really kind of affects people in a really cool way.
SB: Definitely, I would agree. When I was watching I didn’t realize that all the athletes, when they are practicing, are not insured unless they're in the actual event. What can athletes do to protect themselves?
KP: At this point, where we're at now, it's up to the athletes, as it was up to me to have insurance and luckily I did because my medical bills where damn hefty. I think that depending on where you're at and what your doing. if your at a high level, you should be smart enough to get insurance and be covered. I don't feel like it's the sponsor’s responsibility And, If your not competing obviously it can't be under the contest. I feel it needs to be up to the athlete. Hopefully this movie will help make kids more aware of what can happen and what is possible out there and they will do something about it.
SB: That's interesting, I was wondering what your perspective was on insurance.
KP: You know I think it's all up to the athletes. That's why snowboarding is so cool. There are no coaches and there’s no family. Hopefully your family is supporting you, but your family is not telling you what to do or what you can or can't do. You know it's really the athlete’s sport and it's their decision to do what they want so it should be there decision to get insurance or not. That snowboarding was so special to because I got to make all the choices. There where never people telling me what to do or how to do it or where to do it or anything. It was me, doing what I loved the most and how I wanted to do it. So, you know it was up to me to be protected.
SB: Your family is obviously amazing with the support they gave you. Is there anything you would like to say about your family?
KP: Yeah my favorite part about the film is the honesty and how you can tell exactly how my family works. There's no bullshit in the movie and that's what's so cool about it. That is how our family is and that's how we work. If you came to come sit down to dinner with us you would see that's just a normal dinner table for us. There’s nothing out of the ordinary for that scene and that's just how we how we do things and how we communicate. If anything, the films brought David and I closer
SB: Yeah, feel that watching the film. It’s captured very intimately, so that you feel like you’re just there and part of the family.
KB: Yeah, and it's not like that was staged or set up or anything. It was just one camera around us at a regular dinner. So it was cool to capture that and see how it is from the outside looking in. When you’re in it, you don't really realize what’s going on. I didn’t understand what a big piece of my recovery my family has been. It's almost stupid today, but it's like I was so blinded from being in this recovery and healing and the whole thing I couldn't really see it from the outside perspective and now having a film about it really shows me, you know, how huge they have been and what they have done to help me get where I am today.
SB: Yeah, I imagine, when you watched film and look back do you recall all those events happening? When do you start to kind of get you memory back?
KP: Yeah there's a huge, huge, amount of the film that I don't remember. Obviously, a lot of the events from before, I do remember but I don't remember everything. So it’s really cool for me to see all the competing that I was doing and how successful I was. I don't remember any of the accident or any of the first hospital, at the University of Utah, the first month I was in there, I don't remember. Then moving to Craig. I remember pieces of Craig but seeing that footage of the recovery when I was coming back, that stuff is just, so awesome to see and it's so amazing. It's kind of really opened my eyes and given me such a better understanding of who I am and how I can really help and try and make a difference in this world. It feels before I was snowboarding for Kevin, you saw it, I was doing great. I was winning contests and things where going really well. Don't get me wrong, it a shit ton of fun when you can fly over to Japan and drop into a huge event and win the contest and go party with all you friends. I wasn't doing anything for anybody except me. I was getting so much joy out of that. Now it's like I have found, after this, how many people are in this world and how much suffering there is and just how many people are going through such hard times. Now I can look at it from such a different perspective. I found that there's such an opportunity to help and to be able to give people some of what I have gotten for the last four years. It feels good and is really something that will give me a great amount of joy. So, that's why this whole love seems so great and so cool. It's in the very early stages right now, but we can start doing things like selling products to raise money and giving back to people that aren't as lucky as I have been.
SB: The film is a great resource for other TBI accident victims. It shows that the family support can prevent athletes from going back out and getting injured again. Can you elaborate on this message?
KP: Yeah it’s huge and so important for recovering and coming back from traumatic brain injuries. So listen to your family and get help. Understand that you don't know everything and you don't have all the answers. So, I was lucky to have that help and support.
SB: You have a pretty tight core group of friends. Was this an important part of your recovery?
KP: Yeah, I don't know how people think of snowboarding, but I think that it comes across so well in the film. You know, these kids in this group of friends are all pro snowboarders. They're out there doing their thing, but when it comes down to it, if something happens, they just step up. They stepped up so huge in this situation and they have helped me in such an incredible way, and in so many different ways. They have supported me and they have been there and helped. It's just been so awesome to see. Snowboarding really isn’t a team sport so I didn't have teammates. It's like these kids have been there and, although their not my team mates, they're helped me in and they're really doing everything that's best for me.
SB: That's great. It's pretty remarkable that they came together like that to support you.
KP: It's incredible what those guys have done and what a huge, huge help they have been in so many ways. They've just kind of been there, and helped and supported me and you know, just, really helped my brain heal.
What can snowboarding.com do to help the causes? Can we donate ad space for the cause?
KP: Yes, that would be incredible. Yeah to try and throw some ads up. If you could contact my brother, Adam is actually the one who quit his job and did all that rehab with me through the whole hospital time and kind of like helped me. I mean he was there every day for those first twenty-seven days. He was there sleeping in the hospital with me. And now, he's kind of moved on to running the #LOVEYOURBRAIN event and all of that that's happening. So if we could, the three of us could be in contact that would be incredible.
SB: We could designate space on the home page with a link over to the #LOVEYOURBRAIN cause. I visited The Crash Reel website and it's a great resource there for TBI victims and there families. I think also it's a good thing to help promote. Ok, cool, I'll get in contact with Adam and we'll put something up on the home page. Anything we can do to help prevent head injuries and get young snowboarders to start wearing helmets.
KP: That's awesome. We got to get these kids to start putting helmets on.
SB: Ok, I have two more questions if you don't mind. First, are you going to be announcing at any upcoming events?
KP: Yeah, I'm hoping to. Actually X-Games didn't hire me back, so that's a pretty big bummer. They said that I didn't have enough energy on the webcast and that I wasn't excited enough. So, they said they weren't going to give me the job back. So, that's a bummer. I'm hoping to do a couple events this year. I really enjoy doing the announcing and think I could be good at it if I got some more practice.
SB: What about the Olympics? Are you going to go to Sochi and watch the Olympic Snowboarding events?
KP: I am actually, Nike set it up, so I am going to go over to Russia and I am going to carry the torch for the opening ceremonies. So that should be pretty cool.
SB: Who do you like to watch ride and who do you think will do well in Olympic Snowboarding?
KP: You know that new kid, Ayumu Hirano? He is sick. And I think that if he can pull it all together he has a really good chance to do really well. And I love watching Danny ride, Danny Davis. He obviously has so much style and he can do well if he pulls it all together. It's just so hard to pull off a top to bottom run in the pipe now.
SB: Very good, I'm glad to hear your doing well and I hop to see you at an event or up on the hill some time.
KP: Awesome, hell yeah! Thanks brother.
SB: Thanks Kevin, we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.
KP: All right, have a good one man.
KP: All right, later.