FILMBLERG

TRIUMPH OF HER WILL – LYDIA LASSILA AND THE SPORTS DOCUMENTARY

SIMON STOREY: FILMBLERG

PUBLISHED 18TH MARCH, 2016

Australians love sport. It’s a part of this nation’s character as indispensable as the ANZACs, casual racism and having a sausage in bread when you go to Bunnings on a weekend morning. Once a year a horse race stops the nation and our sporting heroes sit alongside military generals and politicians as the icons of this land – Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Douglas Mawson, Lionel Rose, Dawn Fraser, Rod Laver and Phar Lap. Think of Australia and you think of our sporting culture. What you’re less likely to think of is the Winter Olympics, after all who actually does think about the Winter Olympics except for Scandinavians and comedians looking for any easy target.

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VICE SPORTS

An Olympic gold winning aerial skier, Lydia is the subject and star of recently released documentary, The Will to Fly. The film, which was four years in the making, depicts Lydia's inspirational career.

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THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Winter Olympian Lydia Lassila stars in new film The Will To Fly

Angela Saurine, Best Weekend, The Daily Telegraph

“We haven’t really had any sporting documentaries like it before,” she says. “The filmmakers have done such an amazing job. They have really drawn my story out so beautifully and highlighted so many messages I wasn’t really aware I was creating at the time. I can see now what (director) Katie Bender saw when she first asked me for my story rights, and how it will motivate and inspire many generations.”

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THE HUFFINGTON POST

HUFFINGTON POST AUSTRALIA  |  BY ANTHONY SHARWOOD

Expect Lydia to be buzzing again this weekend as her movie takes off around Australia. It was made by her friend and former aerial skier, Kate Bender. And it’s really high quality.

“I visited Lydia when she’d just returned to [her training facility in] Utah as a mum. I’d been working making movie trailers in Hollywood and when she told me what here plans were, I thought this could be a unique feature documentary,” Bender told The Huffington Post Australia.

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MARIE CLAIRE

MARIE CLAIRE WORLD WRAP 

HIGHER PURPOSE

Lassila - A gold medalist at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 - is its star and was trailed by a film crew (including Australian director Katie Bender) for three years to make it. The film draws comparisons to thrilling sports narratives, like Sienna and Touching The Void. But The Will To Fly is about more than just the path to athletic glory.

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URBAN CINEFILE

REVIEW BY LOUISE KELLER:

Archival footage combined with fascinating interviews with coaches, colleagues and family bring a rounded picture of a young woman whose ambitions fly higher than Olympic gold. Leo Baker and Katie Bender have made a fascinating documentary that shines the spotlight on a sport that gets little visibility in Australia, a country better known for tennis, football and water sports. The best thing about the film is that it involves us in Lydia’s life, her pragmatic approach to her passion and how her family supports her in her endeavours.

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NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA NETWORK

LEIGH PAATSCH NATIONAL FILM CRITIC NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA NETWORK

A surprisingly compelling sports documentary, The Will To Fly traces the long and winding path taken by Lassila to reach this career-defining moment.
Most contemporary docos on sports subjects are straight exercises in brand management, and invariably tend towards bland homage. Not this one.

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FILMBLERG

BY BEN ISBEL – FILMBLERG

Like all the best documentaries, the film makers have tapped in on a cultural niche almost unheard of and found a vast well of character, tension and tremendous drama. In this case it is the sport of Freestyle Skiing. You know, the one from the Winter Olympics where they do flips and tricks off the ski ramps. The heroine of the documentary is Lydia Lassila, the Victorian born winner of the 2010 sporting achievement of the year and gold medal Olympian. Lydia was a high level gymnast as a child, who became transfixed by the athleticism and excitement of the skills of the male freestyle skiers. She wanted to ‘jump like the boys’. 

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THE AGE / SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

REVIEW BY SANDRA HALL – THE AGE / SYDNEY MORNING HERALD.

The film’s producer and co-director, Katie Bender, is a former gymnast and aerial skier who trained with Lassila in her early days and she and her fellow filmmaker Leo Baker trailed her for two years as she worked towards the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, suffering a variety of injuries and other setbacks while her devoted family did their best to keep calm.

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SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

VICKY ROACH – SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, AUSTRALIA 6TH MARCH 2016.

This edge-of-the-seat account of champion Olympic freestyle skier Lydia Lassila’s second shot at gold has about as much in common with your average, inspirational drama as The Revenant’s infamous attack sequence does with Yogi Bear.

Tough? If Lassila and her fellow competitors existed in the same universe, they would probably give Marvel’s superheroes a serious run for their money.

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SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD 5TH MARCH, 2016.

Freestyle aerial skiing is, without question, one of the most spectacular sports ever invented: something like diving, something like gymnastics, something like throwing yourself off a cliff. No Australian has achieved more in this field than Lydia Lassila – a world record holder, a gold medal winner at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and the only woman to pull off a quad-twisting triple somersault, a feat previously reserved for men.

All this is recounted in The Will to Fly, a new documentary directed by the team of Katie Bender, a former aerial skier who trained with Lassila, and Leo Baker, an animator who worked on the Oscar-winning short film The Lost Thing.

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THE WEEKLY REVIEW

The will to fly: Olympic aerial skier Lydia Lassila's lifelong obsession turned into a film

March 3.2016 5:00 pm

BY Myke Bartlett

Few of us grow up to chase our childhood dreams of being astronauts, prima ballerinas or AFL stars. Aerial skier Lydia Lassila is one exception. At the tender age of six, she decided Olympic glory awaited her, even if she had no idea which sport to pursue. When her mum signed her up for gymnastics, young Lydia chased her goal with an astonishing, ruthless focus.

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VOGUE FILM

VOGUE FILM –

VOGUE AUSTRALIA -MARCH 2016

Olympic champion freestyle aerial skier Lydia Lassila, subject of the new documentary The Will to Fly, talks about her career, family and her bid to master the jump no woman has yet nailed.

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MUM2ATHLETES

I would highly recommend “The Will to Fly” to all sports lovers. As a personal tale, this film would also appeal to anyone interested in a true story of someone overcoming continued adversity to achieve their goals. I will be taking both my girls to watch this film when publicly released.

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