By T.C. WORLEY
Even as I sit on my couch mending from a broken rib, the new film from the same crew that brought us the Collective films has me thinking about saddling up on my bike and riding outside of my abilities. This movie from Anthill Films is jam-packed with stoke for anyone who likes to fling bikes down trails, fly off kickers, or generally cheat gravity as best they can.
“Follow Me” is the title, and it’s 40 minutes of crisp, scenic and action-packed footage using all the latest tech. From backyard sessions to bike parks, this movie is as it claims — all about “good times, pushing limits with your friends, crazy adventures and most importantly, having fun on your bike.”
The athletes in “Follow Me” are at the top of their sport. The feats they can achieve are pretty amazing, if not a little unnerving. In one scene, Sam Hill and Thomas Vanderham take a super gnarly, root-choked, wet and rocky downhill section that caused me to remark while watching that “most people can’t even walk down stuff like that!” If you haven’t kept up with the level that modern freeride biking is at, then this film is going to drop your jaw.
The Collective film crew is really good at what they do, which is precisely whatever it takes to get the most spectacular shots. As a photographer, I couldn’t help but dissect the making of the film. The filmmakers put cameras in helicopters, on helmets, in holes, on men zip-lining through tree-tops, and more. All the work has paid off. From the opening scene to the end, this film had my kids, my riding partners, and I all spellbound and drooling.
At the Interbike trade show in September, I sat down to chat with Matt Hunter. The 27-year-old professional mountain bike gravity rider from Kamloops, British Columbia, stars in the film. Right away, I wanted to know more about his wooden kicker-to-wall-ride stunt in the film, which is one of the most dramatic scenes. Hunter told me he likes to hike around near his house looking for things to ride and shoot. “Walking into that valley [and discovering the potential of the place] was a gift,” he told me. It took several tries to get the jump we see in the film. “You have to commit about 80 meters out, and the first try I didn’t have the speed and fell off. I ended up getting cut pretty bad.”
But on his second jump, Hunter nailed it, and he was obviously pumped. When I asked him about how hard it was compared to what other guys had done, he humbly replied “The riding ability [needed for this jump] is not higher, but it was my vision. It was for the cameras and it was special. I found it, I built it, and ended it.”
Back to the film as a whole. . . any critiques, you may ask? Nope, this is top-shelf filmmaking. Go buy it, you’ll thank me.