PRESS RELEASE: Gamble Film
After the highly anticipated release of GAMBLE yesterday, go behind closed doors with the crew and riders to see how the film was made! Episode 1 features dust explosions, European sandwiches, a bus tour, cable cam disasters, mini diggers, huge cases, Harley Davidsons and a 30mph reverse up a windy hill in New Zealand. Why wouldn't you want to watch it?!
Purchase GAMBLE Film here
Sam Blenkinsop and Brook Macdonald were first up on the list of shoots, with Joe and Aaron travelling out to Argentina and New Zealand to begin the long and hopefully rewarding process of producing a full-length MTB film!
MEET THE FILMMAKERS:
Sheffield, United KingdomPast work:
This Is Peaty, The Syndicate
Tavistock, United KingdomPast work:
Life on Wheels, Bruni & Vergier Against the World
MEET THE RIDERS:
Wanganui, New Zealand
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
It had already been a long process getting to this stage of production and even though the hard work of shooting had yet to begin, we'd already spent over a year in the planning and pre-production stages. The journey for myself and Joe had begun during 2015 when we decided to put together a proposal and try to get funding for a new, full-length MTB film focused on the gravity side of Mountain Biking, with a big focus on Downhill. We'd noticed that although feature-length Freeride films were still a regular part of the MTB world each year, it had been a while since anyone had released something with the world's best Downhillers. With restrictions on shooting racing becoming more stringent on the World Cup circuit, it can't be a surprise that films about Downhill racers seemed to die out for a while. But why not take the riders away from the races and shoot them on purpose-built tracks and other unseen locations designed specifically for madness? That sounded like the start of a plan!
Fast forward to February and we had decided a month before to pull the trigger on the project. Going into the Argentina shoot with Blenky, we didn't have the required budget to finish the film yet and spending £6,000 on 3 people's flights to get to Bariloche was somewhat of a risk. With help from Martin "Cepi" Raffo from Ride SRL, who is based in Bariloche and organised the EWS race there in 2016, we were able to source accommodation with minimal fuss, and his invaluable local knowledge and access to the mountain meant we could focus entirely on getting the best footage! Basically, without Cepi, we would have been completely screwed at the first shoot!
After scouting the trails on foot, we were put absolutely at ease with our decision to invest so much money into our first shoot. We couldn't believe the potential of Bariloche for some absolutely insane footage. We'd seen the videos from the EWS and we knew there were some good trails here, but what we were seeing completely surpassed what we expected. From the first time that Blenky's wheels touched the dirt in Bariloche to the last run at the end of Day 5, we were blown away by the standard of tracks here. It was a DH filmer's paradise and we were 11/10 stoked with everything we managed to capture during the week.
It wasn't all plain sailing though...
As you'll see in the video, day 1 of filming definitely could have gone smoother. Both of these shoots were a learning curve and even though we'd tested with the new cable cam set up over the winter, getting it out there in a real world shoot when the pressure is on is a completely different story.
We learnt quite a few things about this new piece of equipment in Argentina and New Zealand (the main one being: always hang 2 or 3 towels at the end of the line to act as a brake), but it wasn't an easy learning curve that's for sure! When you have £10k worth of equipment fall off a cable from 20ft in the air at 20mph and smash into pieces on the first morning of the whole film, it definitely forces you to put things into perspective.
Yes, it was a disaster, but no, it wasn't the end of the world and we had one of the best shoots of the whole year in Bariloche regardless!
Brook Macdonald was the second rider on the filming schedule and we had arranged to film him in his home country of New Zealand. Due to the racer's busy schedules during the summer, we had to try and get as much as we could done during the off season for Gamble. That meant shooting southern hemisphere locations over the European Winter months wherever we could. Queenstown in the southern island of New Zealand has seen a massive growth in mountain biking over the last few years and for good reason. The Skyline Bike Park plays host to many of the world's top downhillers over the off season and it's testament to the quality of trails they have over there that so many riders head out there for winter training. It was the perfect location to shoot with Brook on some tracks where he could show off his trademark Bulldog style!
Joe had already been out in New Zealand for a month before Argentina and he used this time to meet up with the Skyline team and conduct a cunning plan... Kepler Rek and Justin Matthews were both instrumental in getting the first custom Gamble Line of the year off the ground and they went about arranging everything for the mini digger build of the century on a piece of unused land within the bike park. Kep told us that he'd had the idea of constructing a scenic hip step up jump on this part of the site for a while and went about the preparations for building a monster.
When we arrived back from Argentina to shoot with Brook, we went up to see what he'd accomplished. Having not seen the site before the build I was still absolutely blown away by what they'd achieved but I can imagine that it was even more impressive from Joe and Brook's perspective as they'd visited at the beginning of the process. Using a 3 tonne mini digger, Kep had created a masterpiece, and it was incredible to see the hard work yielding such awesome results when we started shooting. The jump needed a little bit of tweaking at the beginning of the week but it ended up working perfectly and the footage in the film is all thanks to the hard work of everyone who had a hand in the construction of that line. Cheers everyone!
As well as the hip line, the rest of the bike park delivered too and Brook seemed to relish the opportunity to go as fast and big as possible all week for the cameras. It was great to see the passion that all the riders had for the film and I think they all really bought in to the idea and concept. Everyone worked their socks off during shooting and no one left anything up on the hill, which really shows in the film.Rotorua
Our final stop for the first chunk of filming was in Rotorua in the North Island of New Zealand. After finishing filming in Queenstown with Brook, we headed out there in time for the start of Crankworx to shoot the first intro sequence. Local filmer John Colthorpe helped us to liaise with the council with a view to gaining access to a private road in the area so we could film Brook and Blenky on Harley Davidson motorcycles. Neither of them have full bike licenses so we couldn't shoot on a public highway and regardless, it would have been pretty dangerous anyway! This was another shoot which wasn't without it's challenges and without a late intervention from two awesome Kiwis, it wouldn't have happened at all!
During our shoot in Queenstown we had the bad news that our original motorcycle supplier had pulled out. It was fair enough, he didn't want to risk his pride and joy potentially being wrecked by two over zealous downhillers (I'd probably have the same reservations), but it put us in a really tricky situation. Here we were on the other side of the world with absolutely no idea of how to source two replacement bikes, 3 days before we were supposed to shoot. Everything was set, we had the road, the riders, the filmers, but we were nearly forced to can the whole idea completely which would have been a real shame. Luckily, with the power of social media, we were put in contact with Ryan Petch, a local Harley owner who happened to own the local "Burger Fuel" restaurant. After an evening meeting with him and his friend Courtney over a "Ford Freakout" the night before our shoot, we were all sorted for 2 bad ass bikes for the following two days of shooting... Legends!
The shoot itself went fairly smoothly, apart from a few small issues (one of those being the film's only drone crash), but these things are always to be expected! One of the bikes had a bit of a mechanical issue and filming was cut short on day 1, but thanks to Courtney he managed to get it fixed overnight and ready for the next day. These two guys really went above and beyond for the film and a large part of the success of the Harley shots were thanks to them. It just wouldn't have been the same on pitbikes!!!
Thanks to our amazing sponsors:
Santa Cruz Bicycles / Maxxis Tires / Fox Racing / Enve Composites / Marsh Guard / Freeride Madeira
Episode 2 of "Behind Closed Doors" will be available soon!
To purchase Gamble Film click here