Red Bull Media House and Freeride Entertainment have begun production on a new mountain bike feature film: Brandon Semenuk's ''Rad Company.'' Based on the widely successful 'Life Behind Bars' YouTube series now in its second season, 'Rad Company' features Semenuk, Cam Zink, Cam McCaul, Stevie Smith, Ryan Howard, Yannick Granieri, Thomas Genon, Graham Agassiz and more. Graham Agassiz, Brandon Semenuk, and Matt Miles take a time out on set of Semenuk's Rad Company in Kamloops BC
Available in Spring 2014, 'Rad Company' will take the audience on a high performance visual ride from 'The Junkyard' to Utah, Kamloops to Retallack, and zones around the globe. Stunning imagery, progressive action, a plethora of riding and filming styles as well as cutting edge after effects - the film will pick up where the iconic NWD franchise ended nearly five years ago.
You rode a dramatically reduced contest schedule this season. Was that due to the demands of filming for the movie or other factors?
Yea for sure, it takes an abundance of time to build, film, and edit an entire movie in one year. I probably still would have done the same without the movie, but this way I can keep myself busy and complete some goals of mine. Each year riders counted on the NWD series to bring them the most progressive riding ever. Can we expect more of the same?
Damn rights! That is the heart and soul. What makes this project unique?
Everything. All custom built trails and courses, cinematography is progressive in so many ways, new filming equipment, and ideas not seen in the MTB world before.
How much creative input do you have on the film?
Quite a bit. Working with Freeride has been a great experience. Basically they are helping me create what I can picture in my mind. Saying that, we have all worked on this movie as a team, making sure everyone agrees on the direction at all times. Red Bull Media House has allowed us to drive the creative and take the film where we want. I cannot say enough about how cool the collaboration is and how supportive everyone is. How did you select the riders?
The idea was to put the best athletes in the best locations (locations they excel in). Style and foot stance was also a factor in making each segment look different. What has been the most fun section of the movie to shoot?
Could be because it’s so fresh in my mind, but I would say Kamloops. Even though this was a very difficult and stressful shoot. The last session we did had to be one of my favourite sessions of the year. So fun.
Aggy wanting so bad to progress and paying the price.
|Growing up, NWD was like the shining light at the end of the tunnel for me. When I woke up, came home from school or was about to go riding, I would pop in an NWD film. It gave me this governing sense of motivation and creativity. NWD represented the pinnacle of progression and what could be done on a bike, to team up with these guys and bring that inspiration back to the sport has given me an abundance of goals and a new drive for wanting to get out there on my bike. - Brandon| What has been the most difficult?
Junkyard hands down. Longest, toughest shoot I've had in a while, and I think it would be safe to say that for one or two of the other athletes in that shoot too. Junkyard shoot left myself seriously malfunctioning two weeks from X-Games finals. Let’s just say the LBB episode was only a brief insight into that shoot… Life Behind Bars has been a massive hit for you, has it changed your career at all?
I wouldn't say it has changed much for me, but the success of the show it has given me opportunities to do more of the things I want. Like "Rad Company". Where would you like the sport to go? More focus on filming? Larger stunts at contests? More big mountain events?
I think a bit more of each, BUT done correctly. Quality over quantity. Last season you raced rally cars; will you be doing that more this season? Any thought to crossing over full time like Travis Pastrana?
Very doubtful. No time to tackle something like that Do you have any advice for aspiring young riders?
Sitting on your ass and talking about how hard it is doesn't take you anywhere.
The press release says that Rad Company is part of the New World Disorder series but the NWD franchise has been dormant for almost five years. Why bring it back now? Will it be NWD 11 or is it in a different category?
I think people are getting a little confused by this. The film is Brandon Semenuk's Rad Company. It is by no means NWD 11. It is going to be released and bannered under NWD Films as our core mtb brand. It is very much Brandon's film but we wanted the core market to understand that this film will be along the lines of what NWD represented translated to a modern youthful take on what Brandon represents. Put the two together and the equation = Bad Ass! How does it feel to have influenced an entire generation of young riders and filmmakers?
Feels f*cking awesome! Each year riders counted on the NWD series to bring them the most progressive riding ever. Can we expect more of the same?
Absolutely. That was the whole point of billing it as an NWD film. You get the most progressive riding with one of the world's most progressive riders...and the rest of the Rad Company. What makes this project unique?
This film will be heavily stylized. Much different then anything we have done before. More along the lines of a high-end skate film fused with epic cinematography and filmmaking. All killer, no filler. Back to what we represented in mountain biking for over a decade. How much creative input does Brandon have?
A ton! He is co-directing the film. This is very much a collaborative effort between the brain trust at Freeride and Brandon.
How did you pick the riders?
Brandon has picked the riders and most of them have been hand picked to represent a different style within the film. There will be some dudes in there that you do not get to see everyday in a high end filming circumstance and some that you know and love already. Life Behind Bars debut season was a massive hit; did the response from viewers help inspire the movie?
100%. LBB is probably the most successful ongoing web property in mountain biking. The fact that the fans have rallied around the series gave us inspiration that a core film without a bunch of talking and slow motion dirt flying out of berms would be welcomed again. I think watching the trends of what has happened in the space is important. There is so much web content being produced on a daily basis so much of it is not retained. White Noise.., literally. All the stories have been told. Time to get back to what inspired us in the first place. After the success of Where the Trail Ends why did you decide on doing another NWD film rather than focus on the big mountain scene?
Where the Trail Ends will likely morph into a television series. It was awesome to push the envelope with that film. There is NOTHING that has translated to the mainstream like that film did. People's mothers could watch that movie and appreciate it... and they did. At the end of the day there are only so many people doing that style of riding and actually persevering to go farther. We have always stood for pushing the sport but that film began and ended. We did not want to make "Where the Trail Really
Ends." That is not to say that there will never be some sort of sequel but for now we are focusing on Rad Company for the MTB space. We have other projects on the go and are really working with the people and companies we want to work with now.
|NWD was always about pushing the envelope with the riding and the film making, when we quit making NWD films, Brandon was really starting to peak. Knowing that level of talent was there and not being filmed really left us kicking ourselves that we did have more time with him along the way. Brandon is very much a visionary. With the success of Life Behind Bars and the fact the industry has really been missing a high end core film, Freeride Entertainment and Red Bull Media House figured that there was no better time to relaunch NWD films. - Derek Westerlund, Executive Producer of RAD COMPANY and founder Freeride Entertainment| We’ve seen the custom slopestyle course built from logging machinery; can you share any other segment concepts or locations we can look forward to?
Brandon is very much a visionary with these builds. There are some really cool locations being built out. In a lot of ways if feels like every existing stunt or trail on the planet has been filmed by one person or another. It is not like the NWD days. Even by the end of that, half the film companies were just going to shit we filmed years before and shooting it from a different angle. As a film company we have always been about being first. These locations are exactly that. First timers. Custom built for the film. What does the production crew look like for this movie? How many people are working on the film? Anyone from the NWD days?
This film is being driven by the same people who have brought you all the cool shit from Freeride over the years. Brandon, myself, Aaron Whitley the LBB director. Jeremy Grant and Brad McGregor the award-winning director and DP of Where The Trail Ends. Axl Fostvedt is the hardest working guy in the mountain bike industry over the years and a bunch of other badass cinematographers.
Alex Fostvedt: the man has probably documented more defining moments in mountain bike history than anyone. What has been the most fun section of the movie to shoot?
Well...we're not done yet so that is a tough one. We will be shooting through the winter and pushing for spring release if all goes well. We have some other really cool shoots to come. What has been the most difficult?
It sounds like the shoot Brandon and Aggy were just on in Kamloops was a war of attrition with the weather. The weather is always the X factor and you can't control it. Stoked to have Aggy back on board and in front of Freeride's cameras. What kind of cameras, lenses, and gear will you be using?
All the usual stuff but we are experimenting with some new toys. Phantom cable cameras. Movi's etc. Freeride bought a Cineflex Elite earlier this year so expect some really epic aerial shooting courtesy of Brad McGregor.
Where would you like the sport to go? More focus on filming? Larger stunts at contests? More big mountain events?
All of the above. I think movies did a lot for this sport. But at one point it became way over saturated. I think at one point there were like 20 MTB movies a year coming out. Way too much! I think the contest scene is pretty redundant except for the Rampage. Even the Joyride course lost a bit of the "awe factor" this year. To me freeriding from a contest standpoint is basically dirt jumping. I really don't agree with that. Cam McCaul and I went to Black Sabbath together a couple weeks ago and talked a lot about how rad it would be if there were more natural terrain contests. Places where guys who can actually ride a bike could excel. It doesn't all have to be massive like the Rampage, but on that note the Rampage is still the pinnacle. It separates the men from the boys. Do you have any advice for aspiring young riders or filmmakers?
Rely on determination, talent, and perseverance to achieve your goals. The glory days of sponsorship in the MTB industry are gone. There are no more free rides.
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