New UK MTB DVDFilmed over the 04 season Anti Gravity takes a fresh look at the UK downhill and freeride scene, featuring all the major UK events including the National Downhill Series, Fort William World Cup, National 4X Series and the Plymouth Dirty Weekend.
The film includes appearances from the Athertons, Will Longden, Rob Warner, Scott Beaumont, Neil Donoghue, Helen Gaskell, Stu Thomson, Ben Reid, Brendan Fairclough, Billy Cheetham and Greg Minnaar. And there are even dedicated sections from Chris Smith, Gary Penman, the Fielder brothers and Jim Davage. We get a look in too, as the film crew visits us on our recent Gap Tour with Peaty, the Jarmanator and crew.
We hooked up with Ian Kenton and Ghillan Bedford of Reflex Films, producers Anti Gravity to see how the filming went.
What made you want to make a bike film?
Ian: When we started Reflex Films last year I was keen on the idea of making a bike film, I've always been into mountain biking and extreme sports. Ghillan is really good at making things happen, she just started organising shoots and the film progressed from there. We never really had a big plan, we just went with what worked. We noticed that nobody else was filming UK events and we didn't really understand why. We wanted to do something positive for the UK MTB scene.
What sort of reaction did you get at the races?
Ghillan: Everyone was super friendly and really interested in what we were doing. It's difficult being new, but on the whole, people have been really cool. As a single camera set-up we can be fairly inconspicuous. I think that's a good thing, as it's allowed us to capture some really natural riding.
The World Cup was a bit crazy, there were so many film crews there including the BBC. Being our first international event, we found the whole experience pretty intimidating. You really had to push to get a good spot.
You'd obviously seen stuff like Earthed, the Sprung series etc. How does Anti Gravity differ?
Ian: We've tried not to watch too many mountain bike films, I think it's good to have a fresh idea of what you want to achieve. I guess the biggest difference is probably in the pace and style of Anti Gravity. It's more varied with a wider range of riding.
Anti Gravity is a little more chilled than your usual thrash bang bike flick, but never at the expense of good action. We wanted to make something visually attractive and cinematic but without neglecting the riding. There's a real variety of riding - downhill, dirt jumping, freeriding, street riding, trials. We've also done loads of individual shoots with the biggest names on the UK scene.
We've got a really good soundtrack too; it's a mixture of English stuff and also some unknown South African bands - it's very original. It's been cool to edit to and has allowed us to be pretty creative: the action flows really well. We've used quite a lot of slow motion, which we think is good, you can really see what the riders are doing. There's also loads of faster, heavier stuff in there too and the varied pace helps to keep it interesting. I guess a lot of it's down to personal taste; this is our own style, but I think people appreciate a bit of variety. You want something you can watch over again.
Have you had much film experience?
Ghillan: Ian studied film and television whilst in South Africa. I think he has a real talent for camera work and editing. I studied sound engineering in Liverpool and was a sound assistant on King Arthur! I've also just finished editing the footsteps for Monarch of the Glen. We first met whilst working for a film company in Soho. The film industry can be quite tough, and although Soho is massive fun it can get a bit much sometimes. We were both keen to do something a bit different and really liked the idea of having our own production company. We love being out and about, so the whole mountain biking scene was perfect.
What are your favourite sections?
Ian: Probably the Chris Smith section because of the overall feel. It also has a great music track. Chris was really good to shoot - his riding is amazing. The others are also really cool though, so it's hard to say. I like the downhill stuff a lot.
Ghillan: The skatepark shoot with Garry Penman and Chopper is one of my favourites. There's some brilliant riding and it all looks really grimy. I also love the Plymouth Dirty Weekend stuff, especially the dirt jumping which took place in the dark with just a few floodlights. The action looks really cool against the black sky. We also got some really nasty crashes from this one!
Who was good to work with?
Ian: Jim Davage, Garry Penman and Grant Fielder were all brilliant. They really put everything into it and never got peed of when we told them we wanted to go for another take. Chris Smith was a massive help and really got involved. He took us to some awesome locations and just kept on riding, even when he was injured! Cheers Chris!
A big thanks to you guys too for having us on the Gap Tour - Steve Peat put on a fantastic barbie and bonfire. Steve Behr was really helpful with pictures and the Chilli guys have been pretty cool too.
What was the most difficult part?
Ghillan: Trying to hold down a full time job whilst making a mountain bike film is really hard work. There are so many people we wanted to work with but just didn't get the chance to.
The sideways rain at the World Cup was pretty crap too - especially when we were stuck halfway up the mountain during early morning practice with no waterproofs and lots of heavy bags. The icy weather at the winter series was also really tough - it's hard to film when you can't feel your fingers.
Ian put his back out halfway up the track at Fort William and although I laughed about it, I think he was in a lot of pain (he ended up being stretchered down!)
Ian also got taken out by a few bikes whilst filming - in fact, we're very lucky the camera is still in one piece!
And the most rewarding bit?
Ian: It's been such a long process, we've been filming since January, I think its really rewarding to see everything finally come together. Even though some of the shoots were tough we've really enjoyed ourselves. So far everybody's had really good things to say about the film, and that's great.
We've also received loads of help from the industry, and would like to thank the film's sponsors Mountain Biking UK, OnFire, Muc-Off, Sixsixone and Muddy Fox.
Anti Gravity should be available as you're reading this through leading bike shops, Halfords and on-line at www.chillivideo.com. The DVD retails at £19.99.