It has been a great pleasure each year to present award-winning filmmakers with the task of creating an original trailer for the following year’s festival. This opportunity to work with directors and film teams—and to provide them with funding and a loaner motorcycle—is truly an honor for us, and is only possible through the support of our partners.
We are thrilled to present the 4th annual MFF trailer for: The Delivery by Filmmaker Paolo Asuncion. Powered by Honda.
MFF: What’s the premise for the trailer?
PA: When we heard that we had the honor of making this year’s trailer, the boys and I got together and in about 10 minutes we had nine or ten different ideas about what this trailer should be about. Is it about the subculture and how the MFF is becoming a melting pot of motorcyclists from all over the map? Or is it about the convergence of the filmmakers and the resulting divergence of ideas about what it is that constitutes a “moto film”? That conversation went off on a tangent and we started discussing our own plans about attending this year’s festival, and how getting time off from work and balancing family obligations are always hurdles. Someone said “fuck it, I’m going. No matter what it takes…” and that became the theme of the piece.
It’s all about getting it done. Whatever “it” is. Make and submit a film, attend the festival, or do both…do what you have to do to get there, no matter what is in the way, whether it’s fucking off from work or juggling family time. Or fighting off ninjas.
MFF: Who’s in the cast and crew?
PA: Robin Abert plays the hero (he’s a mechanic at O’Hanlon’s, a local motorcycle shop). Luis Baptista plays the guy he robs and also drives the camera bike. The Ramos brothers, Steve and John, play ninjas, as well as Allen Quindigan – who is a stuntman and who also choreographed the ninja alley fight scene. Frank and Erik Pascual play the Yakuza bikers and the luchadors, Hidenori Onishi plays the rockabilly gangster bodyguard, and my wife Jenn plays the big boss lady. The crew consists of Kirk as the second cam operator, myself as the main cameraman and fourth ninja, and my son Michael who acted as production support.
MFF: The trailer is filmed in one single tracking shot. Wow! What’s that all about?
PA: First we had to settle on a concept, and since we couldn’t agree, we took all the tropes and ideas we were throwing around and decided to put them all in one film. Then we started thinking about logistics, and how time consuming it was going to be to shoot so many scenes for a project that had an ASAFP deadline. The solution? Do it all in one shot.
Here’s how we did it:
Robin (our hero) enters the frame and knocks Luis to the ground and steals the loot. As Robin walks away and I follow, Luis gets up, get’s back on the bike and rides around the block and waits. As I follow Robin from behind, he is placing ninja throwing stars into holes that are pre-cut. As soon as this is done, I swing around so that now he is following me. We get to ninja alley and discover the first ninja who “throws” his stars at Robin. I walk backwards as Robin takes down the first ninja, then the second and third. I get to the fence and hand the camera (a GoPro mounted to a small steadycam gimbal) to another cameraman (Kirk) who has his arm held through the space between the planks of wood that make up the fence. I step into the frame as the fourth ninja and engage Robin. Since we are not recording audio, we are able to communicate and shout cues at each other. Kirk backs out and “slips through the fence” and as soon as he yells that he is in position, I go through the fence, landing at his feet, off camera. Robin walks past, Kirk pans over, I get up and take the camera back, follow Robin, and signal Luis to ride in and take position behind me so I can get on the bike while Robin mounts the case to the hero bike.
Robin stops short as he “discovers” Hidenory. Hidenory allows his passage and Robin enters the garage. Robin turns the corner and the camera – still filming the same shot -reveals the big boss lady, going from the ground up to her face to her extended arm, travelling across the samurai she is holding, and then panning over to Robin who hands over the case to one of the Luchador bodyguards (Erik). Boss lady (my wife Jenn) signals the other Luchador (Frank) that all is good and Frank hands the film reel to Robin.
We rehearsed the sequence in parts, and then as a whole a couple times, and then got the shot in one take. The end!! Whew!!
MFF: Tell us about a little about your Peoples Choice award winning film that made this trailer possible?
PA: Dirtbag 2: The Return of the Rattler is the answer to the question that is posed in the first Dirtbag Challenge documentary: Can you build a bike for under a thousand bucks and in under a month if you have no experience whatsoever? Since we were the epitome of “no experience”, we decided to take the challenge and film the whole thing to prove that it can in fact be done. But really, making the film was an excuse to hang out. Between making the first film and the sequel, we all got married and had kids and life kinda just got in the way of hangin’ out. Creating the sequel together, building the bike, recording music for the movie…getting to hang out again was the real reason we made a movie. I think it shows in the film and I think it’s what the festival viewers responded to when they selected the film to win people’s choice.
MFF: How did you find out about the MFF?
PA: We screened the first Dirtbag Documentary “The Dirtbag Challenge” a couple times here in San Francisco, and people seemed to enjoy it. I began to wonder if it was because the audience was familiar with the event, and I wanted to know if the movie would play well with people who weren’t familiar with the Dirtbag Challenge. I started looking into film festivals online, and that’s how I found you guys.
* The Dirtbag Challenge was an official selection film of the 2nd annual 2014 MFF
MFF: Have you attended?
PA: Yes! I’ve been to the 2nd and 3rd MFF events.
MFF: What are you working on now?
PA: Our last movie was about building a bike, and a lot of the films we see online are about the bikes themselves, or the people that build or ride them. Given those two elements, we are attempting to make a movie that illustrates the connection between the bike and the rider, while at the same time, we want to show the viewer what it takes to “build” a moto film. We are trying to show that it’s about content, not gloss. It’s kind of an experimental piece, where it has narrative elements in it, but also a behind the scenes feel to some parts of it. We’ll see how it goes. But again, besides wanting to tell a story, I get to do this with my buddies, we’re using music that my band wrote and recorded, I get to edit, my wife is even involved in this one…all of my favorite things in the world are in this one project.
MFF: Anything else you’d like to add?
PA: If you like chicken fried steak, try applying the same recipe to Spam. Oh my god, so good.