"Prime Cut" premieres in Burlington

Ben Leoni filming for Meatheads' 10th film, "Prime Cut." C. Nelson James/MeatheadFilms.com

Burlington, Vt., hosted the U.S. premiere of Meathead Films' 10th anniversary ski film, "Prime Cut" on the University of Vermont campus on Friday night. A capacity crowd of more a thousand filled the university's Grand Maple Ballroom. The film first debuted in Canada during the International Freeski Film Festival.

"It was a great way to celebrate 10 years," says Geoff McDonald, Meathead's principal cinematographer. The Meatheads have been hosting premieres of their films on the UVM campus since 2001. "It's the home grounds of where it all began," McDonald added. "It's always fun to have our first premiere of the year at UVM. This being the one movie that we look back at some of the UVM footage, it was pretty fun to show what kind of people we were in college to the whole college crowd."

"Having the closing segment be all Burlington urban skiing didn't hurt either," added James.

Meathead Films has been dedicated to capturing the last decade of East Coast ski culture. "It's been a niche that wasn't filled, and probably wouldn't have been filled at any point," says McDonald about the East Coast ski film market. "It takes a special crew to make it happen, not just me and Chris but the athletes who are dedicated to the cause of filming the movies."

Joining the veteran production was the film, "Prologue" by The Main Idea, a collaborative effort between filmmakers Galin Foley of The Gold Project, Joey Szela of Juice, and Craig Stay from CS Films. "I've worked with [Meathead Films] in the past and we've always talked about premiering together, so for us to finally connect in our hometown and have this kind of turnout was awesome," said Foley.

Peter Hawks, father of Ryan Hawks, spoke to the crowd about the Flyin' Ryan Hawks Foundation, a nonprofit set up in memory of his son. Ryan Hawks, a skier and UVM alum, died from injuries sustained during the Subaru World Freeskiing Tour in Kirkwood, Calif., last spring.

"Some of our most defeating times were the losses of two of our athletes," said Meathead's Chris James. "Most recently Ryan Hawks this past winter, and Alec Stall in 2005 ... in a slough avalanche in VT while filming." This year's film was dedicated to Ryan.

Friday's event was the beginning of the "Prime Cut" movie tour , which will make its way through the U.S and Canada on more than 60 stops.