05/07/2010 | by Tom Copsey
Getting the Skinny on Isenseven’s Latest Film, ‘Don’t Panic’.
IsenSeven premiered the teaser for their latest movie, Don’t Panic, last week so we had to catch up with main man Alex Schiller to get the lowdown on the movie, the new recruits to the crew and what the hell that name’s all about. Read on…
Onboard: You guys just had a premiere in Munich. For a teaser. And it was rammed. That is pretty crazy. What is it do you think that you tap into that gets the kids so pumped?
Alex Schiller: People generally like IsenSeven parties. No matter if it’s for the movie, a trailer or just to have another excuse to party. I think over the years we have established quite the musical and lifestyle image for IsenSeven and it transports directly to the parties. Also, in the past movies, we had a lot of party footage in the DVD bonus… so maybe people hope to experience that kind of mayhem with us.
OB: You guys can throw a good party, that’s for sure. Thanks for the hangovers by the way. You’ve decided to call your film Don’t Panic this year. Is there a reason for this or are you guys just big fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
AS: The idea for the name actually came from Tom Elliott, our new filmer that started working on the project with us this season. We, the producers, are all big fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide and it’s kind of cool to have a little reference to a book/movie that is just so brilliant.
But aside from that, “Don’t Panic” has a lot of meaning to everything we do. It’s Tom’s first year working for a crew-snowboard movie like ours and he expected things to go a lot better. For instance, he would go to a shoot and have these great expectations and in the end it didn’t turn out as super epic as he’d hoped. But that’s just how snowboarding goes. The weather will suck, the snow will suck, riders won’t stick their tricks, the kicker won’t work right, you get busted by the fuzz and on and on and on. But in the end, looking back it all looks pretty good and you always manage to get the shots and edit a movie which people will like. So “don’t panic!”….it all turns out well in the end.
OB: So true. We had such a frustrating season here, too. I wish Tom had told us of his mantra…
AS: It took him a while to realise it as well. He put a lot of energy in getting shots with our riders. But you learn to deal with it.
OB: As you mentioned, you’ve now got a new guy behind the scenes but there’s also some new riders to the Isenseven roster this year. Who are these guys, and how was it to shoot with riders you maybe didnt know so well before?
AS: Yes, we tend to change up our team a little bit every year. It’s important to have the guys in the team which everybody knows and loves (Marco Smolla, the Strauss twins etc) but it’s also good to introduce new faces and talents to people that they might also learn to love as much as the rest of the crew. The new guys are Gjermund Bråten and Sindre Iversen from Norway, Colin Frei and David Bertschinger Karg from Switzerland (our first Swiss team riders ever), Simon Gruber from Italy, Gary Greenshields from Scotland and Benny Wetscher from Austria.
It was so much fun filming with this new crew. Everybody is just such a character and that’s something super important for the IsenSeven team. We don’t want to have just random rider X that can huck a double cork over a jump. People need to be able to relate to the riders. They should watch their part and say “Damn, I want to hang out and shred with those guys!”. I really enjoy working with new people as you learn new things, hear new stories, get to film new styles of riding. It brings a bit of fresh air in to the whole project.
To clear a few things up officially though since we’ve been getting a lot of slack for it on the internet….We don’t tend to kick people off the team. The likes of Zirngibl, König, Kuhlmann etc are riders we love to death. But a lot of times we need to play along with the industry’s decision when it comes to selecting the team or deal with the consequences of season-ending injuries of the riders.
OB: That really comes through the films I think. The personalities. I think that’s a huge part of why you have an almost cult-like following. Just dont go all Waco, please. And, yes, the industry is what it is.
AS: I think that the “people can relate to our riders and movies” factor is one of the secrets to our success. We have over 10.000 fans on Facebook. That’s insane!
OB: For sure. And how has it been having a new face in the edit room now that Tom Elliott is aboard? Has it changed the dynamic or had you thinking in directions you hadn’t been before? And most importantly – what happens if England play Germany in the World Cup? Will your film be delayed because of editorial fisticuffs?
AS: Well, we had a little restructuring in the company this year. Vincent [Urban] and Felix [Urbauer] are still working with IsenSeven but wanted to distance themselves a little bit from the project to pursue some new ventures. So I needed someone that would focus 100% on the new movie with me. And I needed a young and motivated filmer. And Tom Elliott is young, über-motivated and more than capable in handling every kind of filming equipment you can imagine. Vincent, Felix and I have been working together for a long time and I’m stoked to have a new guy in the production crew, bringing new ideas and a fresh cup of motivation to the project.
If England plays Germany things might get a little dirty. I mean, I don’t care cause Germany will win. But I don’t know how Tom will cope with the defeat. I guess he’ll have to learn to deal with it… don’t panic, Tom! Hahaha!
OB: Hahah. You hinted that last winter was not without its problems, but there were some shoots that worked out epic, I’m sure. Which trip or shoot you went on were you most stoked with (for whatever reason), and what else from the rushes you’ve seen got you pumped?
AS: For me, personally, my two favorite trips where California and Russia. California was so much fun and I couldn’t really call it work. I got to ride all day, just doing follow cams with my riders, hang out in the sun, eat junkfood, drive huge cars and living in sick cribs.
Russia was the total opposite, but in a way equally awesome. We went to Kirovsk, which is on the most north-west tip of Russia. Everything is dirty and ghetto, nobody speaks English, the food is weird. But the weirder and broken down the towns look, the better it is to film there. We got some great alternative street footage and had a banging time living the Soviet life. Oh, and the women in even the shittiest parts of Russia are breathtaking and everybody up there knows how to party.
OB: Sounds sweet. As well as the snowboarding, your movies are well known for the quality of the intros and the music selection. Without giving too much away, what can we expect this time round?
AS: Last year we kept it kind of simple with the intros (at least we see it that way) but we are planning to step it up another notch this year. We need to make some intros where people will be like “No freaking way! They made THAT?”. I also think the music will be a little more mixed than last year. All kinds of different genres. A little bit for everyone’s taste. But in the end the movie will be one big party.
OB: Party on, Wayne! And when is the movie schedlued to come out and do you have a European tour planned?
AS: The world premiere will be in Munich on September 17th and the location will be anounced soon. We are currently planning the Euro tour which will include all major German cities and selected cities in Austria, Switzerland, UK, Scandinavia and the eastern Euro countries.
OB: Well, we certainly look forward to that Alex. Keep us posted on the tour dates and any new teaser-type stuff, and thanks heaps for your time. Good luck in the edit suite!