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Poor Boyz Done Well – by Mike Berard

Nick Martini & Johnny DeCesare, Photo Matt Stauble iF3

Johnny DeCesare’s film company has been digging up ski film riches since 1997.


Over 15 years ago, a grainy VHS ski film landed on the desk of Freeze magazine editor Micah Abrams. Featuring the omnipresent four-chord power-punk of the era, and a cast of skiers few outside the readership of the magazine would recognize, Abrams deemed State of Mind a film to be watched. Unfortunately, few could find it and it hardly became the influential ski film Johnny DeCesare set out to make. A year later however, he would watch his film’s influence boost to heights he had never imagined.

At the time, as a pro mogul skier on the Bud Pro Tour, Johnny DeCesare was unhappy with the lack of freestyle represented in ski films of the era. So he picked up a camera and started making the films he’d like to see. While State of Mind didn’t go much further than the desks of magazine editors, the follow-up would alter the path of skiing forever. Degenerates featured the skiing of now legendary skiers JP Auclair, J.F. Cusson and Mike Douglas throwing now-extinct tricks such as the Huntony, Rocket Airs and the simple act of skiing moguls. The film ended up inside VCRs everywhere and kicked off a decade-and-a-half long run by DeCesare’s iconic Poor Boyz Productions. A run that has—and continues to—shape the sport.

Over 20 films later, the milestones run deep for DeCesare. From the groundbreaking skiing in 13 and The Game, to the soulful exploration of the sport and its lifestyle in Reasons and Idea, PBP has been at the forefront of the sport since day one. Where once freestyle skiing could not be found on the screen, it has now become central to not only ski films, but within every genre of the sport. Mogul skiing has adopted off-axis spins, Alaskan segments now feature park tricks mid-run, and the best skiers in the world defy the labels of big mountain, freestyle or park skier. They are simply skiers. Most attribute these changes to the athletes who pioneered what was once freestyle, and then became New School. But the reality is, if Johhny D didn’t put them in his films, we might never have seen just what skiing was capable of. We as a community, owe him a debt of gratitude.

Catch Poor Boyz next legendary film, We: A Collection of Individuals at iF3 on Saturday September 15th.

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