04. October 2019    

A splitboard movie following 5 professional snowboarders through darkness physically and mentally. By and with Manuela Mandl and Melissa Brandner as well as Eirik Verlo, Krister Koppala and Hampus Cederholm

When I first moved to the Arctic I have to admit that I was afraid of the dark, but then I saw another side of it. The beauty of the arctic night. I got to the top of a couloir deep in the dark season and stood in awe. The dark is different here. The reflection of the moonlight from the snow and the glow of the northern lights all around. 
- Melissa Brandner

This was an experience that i wanted to share with the world, the stigma that the winters in the arctic are harsh and cold and dark, wasn’t completely true, there was a beauty to them. It wasn’t just the stigma of the polar night that we wanted to remove with this film However... Personal traumatic experiences, the diffi- culty of coping with mental health and the huge stigma associated with it felt synonym,ous with the polar night. When i go freeriding in the polar night, it is more challenging, complex and difficult but when you get to the top of a line with the northern lights overhead and you’ve overcome the difficulty of being there it is amazing. As long as you have the right toolkit going out in the polar night is no difficult to in daylight. With mental health and difficulties it is the same. With the right support when you get through these challenges you see things differently and are stronger because of it. 

Through Darkness - pics by Isak Dalsfelt

Researching darkness opened our eyes to the complexity of the word and how everyone sees it differenlty. We chose a team of splitboard- ers, some of whom had lived in the darkness their whole lives (Eirik Verlo, Krister Kopala) some partially (Melissa Brandner 6 years) and some were visitors (Manuela Mandl, Hampus Cederholm) to have a broad spectrum of physical and mental experiences with darkness.

This film not only shares our passions with the world in the hope to inspire others into freeriding, but also our personal experiences in the hope that we can get one step closer to removing the stigma asso- ciated with mental health. Increase the research and awareness of head injuries in extreme sports.

Check out the official Through Darkness trailer, the worlds first snowboard movie in the dark!

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Check here for all Through Darkness Screening dates and venues: www.throughdarkness.org

Starring: Manuela Mandl, Eirik Verlo, Melissa Brandner, Krister Koppala, Hampus Cederholm.
Directed by: Melissa Brandner + Manuela Mandl
Cinematography and editing: Joonas Mattilla
Sound Engineering: Nathanuel Gustin