The man in charge of the ground-shaking freeride film on the importance of making it up as you go
Where did the seed of the project come from?
Well, we went to the Gobi Desert about six years ago [to film part of Freeride Entertainment's long-running New World Disorder series] and we knew that we had to go back. So that was a good starting point for this project. Then we found out about a place in Argentina [Cafayate, in the Andean foothills near Salta], and it just developed from there.
How did the process of deciding where to film come about?
We were interested in filming in really remote places where there were no trees and no vegetation. The other thing as filmmakers was that we found places that would organically kickstart the story element just by having us film the people and what they were trying to do in these locations. So we just started looking at Google Earth and typed in words like ‘deserts’, ‘mountains’ and ‘Asia’ and saw what came up.
Was it always the intention for it to just develop organically?
Absolutely. During pre-production, we had all these ideas that we would throw into the hat about what we wanted to film. But once we showed up on the locations we discovered there was very little we could control, so we just had to be ready. The plan was always to just go out together with a plan of what we wanted to achieve and we’d let the story develop. Some of these places were just so remote that surviving there was difficult enough without trying to control how the story evolved. You’d do everything you could to try to get the shot and then just hold on for the ride.
Did you feel the pressure to create something that hadn’t been seen before?
Absolutely. A lot of the decisions we made were because we wanted to push ourselves. As much as this film is about the riders pushing themselves, as filmmakers we wanted to do the same. We’ve been doing this sort of thing for a long time and you become used to how an action sports film is made. People are so used to telling a certain story in a certain way that you can get a bit stuck. We wanted to create something very new. For example, the Red camera can shoot at 1,000 frames per second, but sometimes that be just too slow for action sports. So a lot of what we would focus on with that camera would be lifestyle and culture, fire and water, a guitar playing, anything with a human element that you would never usually see in that way.
Do you think this is a film that will make people want to get involved in the sport?
The film is as much about the riders as people as it is about them as athletes. Freeriding is a pretty niche sport so what I guess I’m hoping is that people watch it and realise that the same tool you use to get to work on is the same tool these guys are using to do these amazing things.