“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein.
Our society seems to take imagination for granted rather than to pay tribute to those brilliant humans who have walked the Earth. Director Dave Mossop’s short film, Imagination: Tom Wallisch, is an homage to imagination, especially to J. P. Auclair, who died tragically during an avalanche in 2014 at the age of thirty-seven, and who was the subject of Mossop’s earlier film, J.P. Auclair Street Segment- All.I.Can.
Mountainfilm Festival has always been devoted to documentaries, but Imagination: Tom Wallisch is an exception to the tradition. Just four minutes long, and not featuring any interviews, or voice-overs, it should really be classified as a short film instead of a documentary. A middle school boy, James, is driven to school by his parents, who are in the middle of a boring conversation. James begins to use his fingers to simulate skies, pretending he is skiing a hill. He soon sees a man freeskiing on the side of the road, jumping over cars, grinding on rails, skiing on rooftops, and sliding down the street in a virtuoso display of athleticism.
The parents never see the skier, so we are led right away to believe that it is the boy’s imagination. The skier continues to follow the car, and performing more and more dangerous ski stunts. Once the family arrives at the school, we see that all the town’s children are now skiers doing awesome stunts. This film answers our wonder about how anything can be possible.
By showing the young boy board in a car, then suddenly seeing an amazing freeskier skiing through his town, Imagination reminds us that even with little resources, anything is possible. Music is synchronized perfectly with the skier as he glides through the town. Also, the re-creation of J.P. Auclair’s street segment features insane tracking shots, close-ups, low-angle, crane shots all over the place. Every time it seems the skier will crash, he finds a sharp way to avoid a crash, and continues with his route, to James’s amazement.
David Mossop directed J.P. Auclair Street Segment- All.I.Can back in 2011, and Imagination: Tom Wallisch. Mossop made this film as a homage to Auclair, and he hired professional freeskier, Tom Wallisch to play the part of the skier going around the town performing dangerous stunts on everything that comes into his path. Mossop’s every shot captures James’s imagination and the danger of the stunts that are performed by Tom Wallisch. Mossop may not be present in the film, but his statement about imagination and achieving the impossible is pervasive throughout.
Imagination: Tom Wallisch reminds us about the times in our lives when we felt powerless, mainly when we were children. But the film also reminds us of how anything is possible. In a comedic shot that brings into question if the parents simply can’t see the free-skiier beside them, or just don’t notice, Imagination reminds us to always be looking for the next great moment as well. All we have to do is open our minds, see what we want, and strive towards achieving that goal.