Skip Armstrong is an award-winning filmmaker who has created films for the likes of National Geographic, The Associated Press and Patagonia, among others. But he’s happiest when he’s on the water, which is why we’re psyched to premiere his new film from Forge Motion Pictures at our festival next week. We caught up with Skip and asked him a few questions about Of Souls + Water and how he made the leap into filmmaking.
What did you shoot for your first film?
My first films were skiing videos in college — we didn’t know what we were doing, but we had fun. I then spent 7 years shooting whitewater kayaking and rafting trips in Costa Rica for my business at the time.
How did you get started in filmmaking?
My real start in filmmaking came in two parts. I got the opportunity to PA on a 6-month shoot around the world with Ryan Fenson-Hood [of A Downhill Affair also screening at 5Point], whom I also made ski movies with in college. On that shoot I got first hand experience at what it takes to get well thought-out shots and how to edit together a 50-minute film. About the same time I met Anson while he was filming Wildwater in Idaho. Both Ryan and Anson have been tremendous mentors for me over the years.
What inspired you to create the Of Souls + Water series?
Anson Fogel deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the beginnings of Of Souls + Water. He had envisioned highly artistic and poetic series and I had always wanted to create a similar series involving water. The two ideas merged and with the support of NRS, the series came to life. We really want to create a body of art that combines passionate people, their emotive stories and beautiful places.
Much of your work has stemmed from water-based activities, specifically whitewater. Why?
Shooting around water is my favorite — creating this series is a dream come true for me. Water is like nothing else — it’s dynamic, incredibly beautiful, powerful, omnipresent and happens to be an environment that I’m comfortable in. Everything we touch on a daily basis is shaped in one way or another by water. I haven’t found a subject more compelling.
What inspires you on a daily basis?
On a daily basis, I’m inspired primarily by my friends and family. I am so blessed to be part of such a wonderful community of highly creative and kind individuals. Their art alone is the source of so much inspiration. Kinda cliche but mother nature is super inspiring to me — nuances like the budding of leaves, blooming flowers, green blades of grass, interesting clouds, a sunset and landscapes have always inspired me.