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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

SpIFF 2020: Take time for ‘Super Frenchie’


One day to go before the opening day of the 2020 Spokane International Film Festival. I've run down the schedule several times, picking out one feature after the next. And today I'm making a special pitch for the festival's closing-night feature documentary, Chase Ogden's "Super Frenchie."

Ogden, the Eastern Washington University film professor who produced, directed and edited the film, took the better part of a decade to follow and collect film on Matthias Giraud, the professional skier/BASE jumper who is at the center of "Super Frenchie."

And the result is a film that could highlight any outdoors-themed film festival, the kind that the late Warren Miller used to produce.

Not only does Ogden show Giraud at his best on the slopes, but he gives us enough background to make the French-born daredevil more than the always smiling, totally engaging performer he strives to be. A bit of troubled family history adds to his story, thought it never overwhelms it.

Nor does the singular dramatic moment, which comes halfway through. Amid all the stomach-dropping moments of Giraud flying off mountains, wearing his skis as he plummets toward the snow-covered rocks below, Ogden includes a number of touching scenes with Giraud's friends, wife and young son — a boy who seems to be following in his dad's shoes.

All in all, "Super Frenchie" — a title that comes from the nickname that Giraud has given himself — is an exciting feature, and one well worthy of carrying the expectations of SpIFF 2020's closing night.

Tickets are going fast. And festival passes have already sold out. Click here for more ticket information.

Personal disclaimer: I serve as a volunteer programmer for the Spokane International Film Festival, and I am an unpaid member of the festival's board of directors. I've attended every festival, as either a reporter or as a fan, since its inception in 1999.

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