10/11/2009 | by Tom Copsey
You might not know the name of the Dedicated dude of the 105th issue, but you’ve certainly seen plenty of his flicks. Ladies and gents, please meet Brad Kremer.
Like many folks in this industry, Brad Kremer was self-taught in his role as snowboard filmmaker. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentuky, he started snowboarding, in the closest resort in Indiana, Paoli Peaks, that was whopping 100m and ran for 24 hours on weekends. After graduating high school, Brad moved to Lake Tahoe with a friend to start a new life. He had always been into photography and film and he had also aquired a great deal of experience from his previous work as an photographer assistant. “I was only a teenager when an older friend of mine, a commercial photographer, took me on as his assistant and taught me about lighting and composition. He also had a video camera, which was very hard to come by in those days. I started filming my friends skateboarding and making mini movies. As time went on my skills grew and I started making a name for myself.”
One winter a few of his friends who were filming for a Kingpin Productions mid-season release film needed a couple more shots to round up their sections. Brad borrowed some money from his dad to buy the latest and greatest camera, and went shooting with them. He then sent the tape to Whitey, boss of Kingpin, who liked the footage so much that he offered Brad a job shooting for his next film: “I had to go to Mt Hood, get a 16mm camera shipped to me and find Jeff Brushie for a couple days of shooting. I had never seen a 16mm camera before let alone tried to load one. And filming with Brushie, holy crap that was very a memorable trip!” Brad worked with a Kingpin crew for several years made some strong links with key riders, that he would keep throughout his career. “Shooting the skits is definitely something I will always remember. Crashing cars, music videos, 50° in the desert… Good times!”
Towards the end of Kingpin Whitey became more interested in non snowboard film making. So Brad took the director’s role for the final two films, Happy Hour and Back In Black. That’s when Brad felt that he needed a change too, and started talking to Mike McEntire of Mack Dawg Productions… Where he was offered the director’s chair. It was a key role in the best film making company in the world: “It was a pretty simple transition as I knew most of the riders, filmers and how things ran. My biggest concern was to change the face of MDP. Back then MDP was known for being the ‘we’re better than you’ company. I wanted something more friendly and fun”. And that’s exactly what Brad did as the Mack Dawg shot caller. Actually Brad had worked for MDP ten years before, as a filmer on Decade.
Directing for MDP was a dream come true, a dream that Brad had harbored for 20 years since watching Mike’s first movies. Nevertheless, he finds it difficult to name his all-time favorite snow-flick. But from those that he made, Brad’s got a more precise idea. “I have so many favorite movies for different reasons. But Picture This stands out above the rest. It was the right time and the right look. Like it or not, it changed the face of action sport films”.
And when we asked him to compare his work to the major hit of this season, That’s It That’s All, Brad acknowledge that not a single movie is the perfect movie for everyone. “TITA was another film that did the right thing at the right time. They definitely took film-making to the next level. I have to applaude them for what they accomplished. But there are plenty of things I didn’t like about the movie as well. And that’s not to say that any of my films are perfect. I am the first one to say what I think is wrong with each of mine as well. But that’s the beauty of what we do!”
This year Brad is taking a major turn in his career: He is now the Director of film for Burton snowboards after leaving Mack Dawg in autumn, but on a more general point this year is a turning point in the way that the public chooses to consume snowboard videos. The snowboard film industry is set for a big shakeup. With people downloading more films for free and with the world economy struggling Brad recons that we will see quite a lot of independent films go under. “That is not to say that it is over for them. The strong will survive. And of course I think we will see a lot more team movies as well”. But the sad fact is that Mack Dawg is not going to last to see its 21st birthday. “It’s sad for sure, no doubt about it. But life is about change. Change is good. Mike has taken this change in a very positive way. He will still be working in the snowboard world. Just making the kind of traditional shred flicks you are used to. Look for more documentary styles coming from MDP. It’s not the end of MDP. It’s just a new day!”
Brad is also sad to see that kids now prefer to download and watch videos for free, than spend a little cash on higher quality productions. “People need to understand that what they do does affect how things are produced. We’re talking about small companies that love snowboarding and are doing the best that they can to produce films that people enjoy. Sure we have been guilty of not being able to find new ways to distribute the films in a manner that the new generation will accept. But in the end these people downloading the films for free are just hurting the industry that they love. The worst part of it is that it is snowboarders stealing from snowboarders”.
But back to Brad’s new project: Burton. He started his season with a trip to Switzerland with a high profile team consisting of Freddie Kalbermatten, Nicolas Müller, Heikki Sorsa and Mads Johnson, together with photographer Blotto, and filmer Jaakko Itaaho, whom Brad took with him to Burton.
This is what Brad has to say about the next Burton movie: “there are no big secrets to tell, or none that I will tell! But this is a movie staring the best team in the world, with 100% commitment from the riders and the media department from Burton, so you can expect something new, something fresh, something fun, something exciting!” It promises to be a banger.
BRAD KREMER’S FILMOGRAPHY:
As assistant Director:
Back In Black
From ___, with Love
Follow Me Around