Cole Sax, one of our extraordinary fellows at MAST released his latest feature film this last week with YouTube Originals. It's a beautiful piece, a beacon for anyone into counter-cultural sports.
Thanks for joining us, Cole. You're an institution already, here at MAST. But for the uninitiated, tell us about the filmmakers, and give us a brief intro to the film.
I had the pleasure of directing this film alongside my friend Galen Knowles. This film was made by an incredibly talented team put together by us alongside Boardwalk Pictures, WZRD Media, and Madica Productions. A bio of the film can be found below: "WORLD DEBUT: FROM OUTSIDERS TO THE OLYMPICS. What were once lifestyle fads have evolved into some of the world's fastest-growing sports and are now set to debut on the world's biggest stage – The Olympic Games. Step inside the journey of three new sports born on the fringes of society – skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing – alongside names like Tony Hawk, Emily Harrington, and Sofia Mulanovich."
Inspiration comes from so many places. What led you to this story?
When we originally developed this concept, it started as a follow doc series where we document athletes on their journey to the Olympic Games. The film still has some of those elements, but because of some wonderful collaboration with YouTube Originals, we reworked the concept to be more of an origin story of how these sports made it into the Olympic Games.
As filmmakers, we enjoyed the challenge of creating such a complex story and playing a small role in the colorful journey these three sports have had over the years. As a global filmmaking crew with connections to these sports, it was an honor to work on it.
How did the Utah film industry support the project?
From a production standpoint, Redman movies supplied a lot of production rental equipment. Of course, the Utah Film Commission provided us the support and opportunity to screen the film at Jordan Park on July 7th. Having the chance to do a community screening is so important to us.
Tell us about some of the challenges.
There are always challenges when embarking on a film. Some unique ones were fires in Australia, flooding in Peru, and of course, COVId that all postponed production. We had the tall order of weaving together multiple storylines, complex ideas and distilling down bureaucratic issues into something entertaining and digestible. If it weren't for our incredible post-production team, along with a strong network like YouTube Originals, this project would not have been possible.
You're a message kid, I know you are. You never want the audience going away without something new to chew on. What is that, here?
I hope audiences can see the beauty in fighting for what you believe in, even if others do not see it. I also hope that parents, communities, and leaders can see the positive impact these sports have on individuals. Not only from a physical standpoint but a spiritual, emotional, and societal one. Skateboarding, Surfing, and Sport Climbing all illuminate important values and skills in our life.
What's next for you?
For the past year or so, I've been developing a wide variety of feature documentaries and unscripted shows. I've been working on a true-crime story lately that I am hoping to start production on here in the next few months.