“McConkey” is a heartfelt examination of the legacy one athlete left to the progression of his sports.
“McConkey” is a heartfelt examination of the legacy one athlete left to the progression of his sports, and the path he paved to conquer his dreams. Shane McConkey is revered as a pioneer of freeskiing and ski-BASE jumping, and through his talent and ability to use his trademark irreverent humor, he inspired countless lives. In a new film from Red Bull Media House in association with Matchstick Productions, “McConkey” celebrates the life of one of the world’s ultimate innovators.
For the majority of us, Shane McConkey was more than the subject of our film. He was a dear friend we’d known the majority of our adult lives. We all joke that Shane had too many “best friends” to count – that was the effect he had on people. It was a shock when he left us at the age of 39.
Yet this documentary isn’t a tribute to a loved one amongst friends, but rather an attempt to share Shane’s truly extraordinary spirit with the world. Ski insiders have always been aware of his incredible mix of mastery and mayhem: if ever there was an embodiment of “from the sublime to the ridiculous,” it was Shane. He could render you breathless with his skills one minute and leave you laughing the next.
But what a lot of skiers may never have seen – and what the rest of the world deserves to know, too – is what a phenomenal person Shane was, and what he went through to become the luminary he grew into. Of course he was smarter than he ever let on; his unprecedented vision of ski design revolutionized the industry. But beyond that, like all of us, Shane found some pretty daunting obstacles in his life path, and the way he overcame them is a lesson in humanity. Shane figured out how to live life to the fullest – on his own terms, in his own amazing way. His passion for life leaves an open invitation for others to do the same.
Yet how do you tell the life story of a man “away from the camera”? For us, it was agonizingly simple: nearly all of Shane’s life was documented. From his earliest days, to his big yellow “handicam” in college, to his budding life as a ski film star, Shane wrote his own movie. The red light was always on. Over a thousand hours of archive material were the building blocks of this film.
We also wanted to take a look at what drives someone to take risks for the sake of progression. It’s not a topic that can be resolved in ten words or less (or even in a feature-length documentary); so rather than try to explain why Shane took the risks he did, we’ve attempted to show what we saw along the way… to offer, if not answers, at least some understanding.
We’d like to thank all the people who so generously contributed to this film, especially Shane’s wife Sherry, his mother Glenn, his father Jim, and his many friends and colleagues who agreed to be interviewed, particularly JT Holmes. A shout-out, too, to our partner Red Bull Media House, for the courage to take on this film in the first place.
For those of us who knew Shane so well, making this truly personal film was one of our biggest career challenges. But we’re all grateful that it allowed us to spend a little more time with him – and with Saucer Boy, and with all the other facets of Shane McConkey that we knew so well. We hope that in years to come, maybe it’ll give Shane’s beautiful daughter Ayla the chance to spend just a little more time with him, too. Ayla, your dad was every bit as great as you remember, and he loved you.
Proceeds from McConkey will go to Shane’s family.
“Tribeca 2013: In ‘McConkey,’ a different path down the ski slopes.”
“A daredevil subject who will quickly endear himself even to viewers who’ve never
heard his name.”
“Personal bias or no, the film is a historical, inspirational, and beautiful human story.”
“A remarkable accomplishment.”
“A heartfelt documentary that effectively captures the
spirit of the man.”
“It’s about life, what it means to
“The centerpiece of these interviews is Shane’s wife Sherry… Her story is one of total love.”