EUDEMONIA - Short Film & Interview
The world has changed. The last two years have altered the way we live, how we see things and interact with those around us. With this change has come a new way of thinking, one focussed not on what we cannot control, but what we can. It’s these changes that inspired David Djite and Fabian Fuchs to develop their new project: Eudemonia. A new film showcasing a different side of snowboarding, one with foundations in the power of positive psychology and the drive to experience the often chased ‘flow state’.
We caught up with David and director Fabian Fuchs shortly after their intimate premiere at the Riders Hotel in Laax and we dove into the meanings and processes of creating such a project.
Interview by Will Radula- Scott
Hey Fabi, last week you premiered this movie for the first time at the Riders Hotel In Laax. How was your night?
FF: With all the technology right now it’s easy to connect, but it’s always good to have a beer at the bar and to see people face to face. We actually had this whole premiere scheduled for late November in Munich but we had to cancel it last minute due to Covid. But in Laax while the Laax Open was on we were able to preview it at a media night, so it was pretty chilled and not too many people but still nice to have a photo exhibition by Dominic Zimmermann there and show the film to some real people.
[David joins the call] Yo David, how are you doing? You in Laax at the moment?
DD: I’m good! Yeah I’m in Laax and I have exam time at the moment, so I’ve been studying. Exams next weekend but then I’m free for the season! Not been much snow here though so not been too distracted.
Lets start with asking what "Eudemonia" means? How do you even say it?! *laughs*
DD: [O-D-Monia] is how you say it, it’s a Greek word. Fabi will explain what it means...
FF: It’s an old Greek word and what it’s describing is a way of living that creates for you a self-fulfilling life with positivity and a strive for positivity for you and all your surroundings. The whole idea why we chose this more cryptic title was to show even from the title that maybe this is more than just a snowboard movie. I always describe it as this little door that is there and you can open, but you have to open it on your own. Also the movie is suppose to inspire you to go through that door and see what is behind it. It makes sense with David studying psychology, we had lots of deep talks about psychology and he opened that door for me too. David might have a better explanation but these fields of positive psychology and state of flow when riding are the thoughts and concepts that are interwoven into this film on a more artistic level, supporting the snowboarding.
DD: Yeah our approach was not so much performance snowboarding, we just tried to show our concept through the medium of snowboarding. Also, adding to the explanation of the name, Eudemonia is like the antagonist to hedonism. Hedonism being a quick pleasure fix and Eudemonia being more a life concept, a life built on moral, ethical principles making you feel very engaged with yourself and society and in turn finding fullfilment in your own life.
How did this project come about? Have you guys worked together on projects before?
FF: We’ve filmed before once, but just briefly. I filmed a project (Planeteria) with Alex Tank which David featured in when we came to Laax.
DD: When I came up with the idea for a project with the psychology point of view, I needed someone to direct it and I knew Fabi was a really talented artist and film maker so we go in contact and I sent him the concept. He sent his own ideas and after a while they just kind of melted into each other. Now we’ve been on this distant phone call relationship for quite some time *laughs*
Fabi, you've also been on a few different project this past year?
FF: It was a busy season, but it was nice as I had completely different projects. I made the graphics for a snowboard with Nitro for Dom (Wagner) and Benny (Urban) and then a more snowboard filming project with Vans and a soundtrack for Chroma. But the project that I gave most of my time to was Eudemonia, particularly over the summer and it was really interesting as we (David) never met over the whole winter whilst filming and that was the greatest challenge in this project. We had Elmar Bossard on camera who’s from Switzerland who I’d worked together with before and he’s super reliable. So he spent the whole time on the mountain with David and Dominic and what we ended up doing was have phone calls like this one almost every evening after shooting. They sent me the footage and we went over it and I’d make my comments. I’d try to explain what I envisioned for the next day or stage of filming. Sometimes I’d draw little pictures to explain my thoughts. That was really something different for me. Looking back it kind of all makes sense as we were creating this path through the restrictions showing you can do something for yourself and others in your surroundings which played in to the concept of the project.
DD: Yeah it was different, and we had to adjust a lot to each other, that’s what we’ve learnt the most through this whole process. Probably my favourite part of it all, as it turns out to be this collective piece.
So with the Covid restrictions did your plan to go further than Switzerland or just stay close to home?
DD: We first were thinking about travelling but then it was so hard to get anywhere without an athlete paper or something, and we just have it all set up in Laax. I’m local here and Elmar and Dominic both being Swiss could just come here and so it was super easy for us to be quite spontaneous and just go with the snow conditions and that was super nice. I mean we wanted there to be way more pow but it got so hot in February we ended up filming a bunch in the park. Though what we were filming for we didn’t need so much vast terrain to build 10 to 12 booters...
FF: Also you just knew all the spots to go to to get the shots we wanted.
Is the kind of riding in this project how you feel you want to portray your way of snowboarding?
DD: I don’t really see myself as “this” type of snowboarder or “that” type of snowboarder I just like snowboarding how it is. This season I might join the Beyond Medals crew again and build some jumps, I don’t really see my snowboarding as a “type” of snowboarding. What I’m trying to do with my riding is just to get people hyped to go snowboarding themselves. Just for someone to wake up in the morning or evening or in the summer and just watch 7 minutes of me and think “fuck yeah, I want to go riding now." That would give me the greatest satisfaction I think.
I felt there was the ability for a closer connection for the viewer watching this video than watching triple or quad corks…
DD: Yeah totally and that’s what I want to show with my snowboarding, as these days especially in competition, and don’t get me wrong this is no criticism on competitive snowboarding, but it’s just not really relatable. I watch the Laax Open and I’m like fuck yeah this is sick, but it doesn’t make me want to go snowboarding, they’re almost killing themselves doing what they do, *laughs*. I actually prefer to watch skate movies to get inspired to go out and ride. I suck at skateboarding but I love the style and how it looks.
You recently joined The North Face, K2 Snowboarding and Doodah Store teams. Can you explain how those came about and if these new connections have changed your snowboarding career going forward?
DD: I’ve always preferred to have this family feeling with my sponsors, I don’t like riding for a brand that is just like "here is the product, see you in a year." I love that I can get so involved with K2 and The North Face. Last year I got super involved and they want to hear my opinions and my approach towards things, not just in snowboarding. So definitely these new relationships have given my career in snowboarding a big push. They’ve allowed us to create this video, as Fabi likes to say, given us “Carte Blanche”, not asking for anything, just letting us go with our own ideas and directions. This was always the deal before anything was signed, we were very open and they also said this is what they want from me.
What are your plans going forward now you have these new connections and have been successful with this project?
FF: Yeah looking back on this project I think it was a really good one. Besides creating this film we also created this really close crew and relationships which is something really fruitful that we can build on, but what we are always saying is that we don’t want to make a sequel or part 2 of Eudemonia because we want this film to stand on its own. So we don’t have a following up project in that sense, but we certainly have such a good relationship that it would only come natural to do another project together for sure.
And maybe actually get to meet each other? *laughs*
DD: *laughs* Yeah that would be good!
FF: OK now it’s getting weird, *laughs*. Let’s take it slow.
DD: We have ideas but sometimes it's not good to rush into things. Take it easy and not try and do something just so there is something.
Anything else you’d like to add before we wrap this up?
DD: I just want to mention that this was very much a group effort, from the filmer Elmar, to the photographer Dominic, to Fabi not just as director but also editor, and a good friend of mine Miles who is a musician who composed the music for it. To see a group of people with a common goal but a different approach coming together I really really like, and what I like a lot about this project.
FF: Yeah that’s also what I wanted to say. *laughs*
Well thanks for your time gents and hopefully see you out on the hill for some turns soon!
To further embed uniqueness into the film, Fabian and David worked with a wider team, bringing in Dominic Zimmerman to shoot photography, Elmar Bossard on camera and Miles Singleton who developed a stand alone soundtrack to match the visuals.
Produced in partnership with The North Face, K2 and Doodah.