A land shaped by women, a movie by Anne-Flore Marxer

A movie by Anne-Flore Marxer

Interview translated from french by Emma Adams

You’ve been to Iceland several times. What is it that keeps you coming back?

After my victory at ‘Xtreme Verbier’ in 2017 I made a resolution. I decided to put aside my battle against the patriarchal structure of snowboarding in order to invest more of my time into positive projects for women. I wanted to change my fight into joy and empowerment.

Two days later, I was on-board a flight to Iceland with a film idea in my mind. The season was coming to an end, but I was in need of a breather after such a long competition season. I went there for a short visit to scout out locations, knowing that I would return to spend the following winter there for my film. I knew there was mountains and snowboarding. I chose Iceland because it’s the most advanced country in terms of gender equality – being at the top of the U.N’s gender equality ranking for 9 consecutive years.

I wanted to find inspiration and strength for myself. I was in need of an injection of inspiration.

What makes the island different to other places?

The landscapes in Iceland are fabulous. What instantly fascinated me was that each person that we met was engaged in making positive changes to the system concerning them. Improving the system for every minority is perceived as a positive thing for everyone, and so, each person is involved in improving things for their community.

You went with Aline (Boc), it’s a joint project. Can you tell us more about the joint trip/project and the production of the film?

My fight for gender equality dates back to when girls were not allowed to enter snowboarding contests… even today a top female snowboarder wins only 50% of what a top male skier would win in the Freeride World Tour competition. Aline has always been kind enough to support my eccentric ideas and thoughts.

I proposed the idea of going to Iceland in her van, she said yes. The subject of the film, the historical research on Iceland, the interviews and the film-making are so important to me. Aline was kind enough to share her van with me this winter, her sponsors liked the idea and so supported us financially. She put forward the film at festivals and organised a 10 stop screening tour in Germany.

Is this film a film about women? Why?

Icelandic women are the happiest encounters, the biggest source of inspiration and strength imaginable. The vast majority of winter sport films focus on athletes, but I wanted to show different types of inspiring women. I wanted to plant little seeds of inspiration in the minds of the female audience. Making ‘A Land Shaped by Women’ was my opportunity to share the positive drive of Icelandic women with other women watching the film.

You are very invested in women and their place and acknowledgement in the sporting world. What do you think about the monetary equality measure put in place by the WSL (World Surf League)?

The full story is really long… It’s not about a gift given by the WSL but more so a surrender on their part in order for them to gain the authorisation to organise a surfing competition at Mavericks. Lots of women and female surfers have fought a real battle to champion this result.

In any case, it’s an excellent outcome.

Before, in snowboarding, women were not allowed to enter competitions, but the many petitions, articles and other key actions have allowed them to enter. Today, I am moved and impressed to witness the level of talent displayed by women competitors in the Olympic Games.

I am delighted to have been a part of the evolution of female sporting opportunities. It’s my proudest achievement. I can’t wait to see what this new WSL equality measure will bring to the world of surfing. It’s a big day for surfing, but there is still plenty more work to do, especially in relation to brands and sponsoring, budgets, the media and even products. The pathway to equality is long and we all can gain something from it.

We do winter sports for the enjoyment and feeling that they create. Doing sport is linked to well-being, physical and mental health, self-esteem and the simple joy of gliding through the snow. Many things that are equally beneficial to women.

We’re under the impression that you are always on the move. This winter you collected and distributed jackets to refugees in Vintimille, the Joya Valley, Portelone and Gorizia in Italy. Have you got any more projects planned? (Humanitarian, travel or film)

At the moment I am working on ’52mn’ which isn’t finished yet, I find a real pleasure in creating a film where I can mix both my female experiences and my journalistic experiences together with my creativity in order to put together a new type of travel film. There will be 50 screenings.

At the moment I’m still frantically working on the film. I can’t wait to have the chance to show it off 🙂

Afterwards, we shall see… I’d like to make another film, and look for sponsors who will support my young women empowerment initiative… to all those listening 🙂