To the casual observer, it may come as a bit of a surprise that one of the finest purveyors of branded film content is a small cooler company out of Austin, TX.
Over the last couple of years, though, that’s just what Yeti has done with films nominated in prestigious awards like Cannes Lions and the Tribeca Film Festival. The brand’s “Yeti presents…” series is up to 37 short films, ranging from profiles of fly fishermen and ski guides, to former NFLer Jordan Shipley’s efforts to turn people on to elk milk.
“Through a focus on storytelling, we leave the door open for an emotional connection with a character or experience that people can apply to their own life,” says Yeti’s head of content Scott Ballew. “By telling unique stories that we as a brand are inspired by, we hope to create a genuine connection to our viewers, who, in turn, can find an aspect of their personal journey that moves them.”
The brand’s most striking films so far have been about two sets of surfing brothers–the Bruhwiler’s in British Columbia, and the Malloys in California–and the Peter Pan story of ski guide John Shocklee. The series is an eclectic mix, but the thread between all the subjects and stories is how they’re all approached in a thoughtful, earnest and inspiring way. And Yeti’s newest film is no exception.
“Arctic Red” directed by Seacat Creative, introduces us to Tavis Molnar of Arctic Red River Outfitters in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Molnar explains how he uses fair chase hunts to respect the mountain sheep, and protect the opportunity for his hunters to test their own capabilities and provide an experience that isn’t just about the kill.
As a non-hunter, it was tough for me to reconcile the reverence and respect Molnar and the film show the environment and the sheep, with the images of a dead animal, or ram horns hoisted on a backpack. But the film does manage to help me to better understand it’s perspective, made most clear in Molnar’s anecdote about the customer who was too tired to continue and offered him thousands of dollars to kill a sheep for him.
For “Arctic Red,” Yeti worked with filmmaker Mark Seacat, who had been wanting to tell the story of his close friend Molnar for a very long time.
“Through the film, we wanted showcase the aspect of Tavis’ story that anyone can relate to, including someone that has never been hunting, or even traveled to remote locations before,” says Ballew. “For us, it’s not about a character’s specific activity or achievements—it’s more about what types of challenges that person has overcome to get to where they are currently. Through [these] films, we aim to capture the obstacles and sacrifices that individuals experience in pursuit of their passions, which creates a unique perspective that will resonate with the viewer.”