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Mathieu Soumet is The Intern. If that sounds like a line from a movie poster, well, it kind of is. Soumet, who's from France, needed an internship for school credit in the summer of 2009, and landed with the clothing and film company Voleurz in Whistler, BC. The company wasn't sure what his job would be, so Soumet improvised and found his way into the 2010 release "Look on the Bright Side" as a human prop. He returns for "That's Fine," which will be released online for free Nov. 21. How did he get that gig? ESPN Freeskiing caught up with Soumet to find out.
How did you get the internship with Voleurz?
I've always been super into skiing and I was feeling like trying to contact some ski companies and hopefully find an internship. More than 400 emails later, nobody wanted me. I emailed companies making skis, outerwear, accessories, even some super specialized Swedish cross-country poles. My classmates were all already in different countries working and I was still sitting home and refreshing my inbox hoping for some good news. Darren Rayner from Voleurz finally answered me, and a few emails and a phone call later, I booked my flight to Vancouver five days later and that was it.
What was the job description for your internship?
I had to gather and find information about film festivals, tradeshows and various business stuff, but nothing super important. I also had to upload on many websites all the videos Voleurz has done the years before. I never finished that one -- whoops!
How did you become a part of the films?
Since I'm definitely not good enough to be in a Voleurz movie as a skier I had to figure out how to make the cut. Matt Margetts tried a cork 3 hand-drag over my head the first summer I went to Whistler and we all thought that was pretty cool. The year after, Max Hill gave it a try one day to jib over me. We were all having so much fun that we decided to keep filming others stunts.
What have you learned from being the human jib?
I guess I learned to trust people. Like closing my eyes and thinking as hard as I can, 'No worries, he's got it, it's going to be a gentle one.' Most of the time it works. I've never been seriously hurt. Last year, I tweaked my knee kinda bad while doing that piggy-backing thing [with Max Hill] and this year I got a concussion trying stupid stuff off snow, but Max wasn't involved on that one. Hopefully you'll see this footage in 'That's Fine.'
What do you do when you're not The Intern?
Back home I'm a regular 20-year-old French guy, I guess. Eating croissants as much as I can and drinking wine at every opportunity. I'm still studying, I validated my license in management and I'll be doing for a master's in strategic management for the next two years.
What's next for The Intern -- do you want a job in freeskiing?
All the athlete management aspects of freeskiing interest me a lot and I feel like it's going to be more and more important in the next years since freeskiing is getting bigger and bigger.
Any advice for other interns in the skiing industry?
As cool and great the ski industry looks and sounds, people looking for internships have to introduce themselves professionally and show motivation and capacity to really help the company out. I think that would be my main advice. Also, trying to talk directly to the right person is better than emailing, so if you could, go to trade shows, I think it's hands down the best place to meet people from the industry.