There’s a snow bike trail in Marquette, Michigan dubbed the “SBR” (snow bike route), and it’s awesome. It also appears to be the first of its kind in the country, maybe even the world.
The trail is featured in a rad film called “Cold Rolled.” The film features not only the trail, but the veteran bikers who have nurtured and developed the snow biking culture in Marquette over the last thirty years. And it showcases the Marquette area beautifully.
The film is being released in five “chapters,” throughout December and January, with the full version available online on Saturday, January 11th.
I’ve had the opportunity to see the entire film, and it’s easily one of the best pieces of cinema I’ve seen come out of the Upper Peninsula. I can’t wait to see what else the crew from Clear and Cold Cinema have coming down the pipe.
Aside from gorgeous cinematography and a sweet soundtrack, one particular scene in the film lept out at me and I just had to get the backstory on it from filmmaker Aaron Peterson.
I’ll call it “The Dragon Vingette,” and you’ll know what I’m talking about when you watch the fourth part of the film, “MindSparks – Birth of the SBR,” which goes up on Saturday, December 28th.
I can’t wait for you to see it, and here’s what Aaron had to say about it.
So that song is called “Dragon” by the Michigan group “Breathe Owl Breathe” they play an eclectic mix of trippy folk music full of wit and love for the natural world. Not exactly the material you’d expect to find in action films, right? I’ve known about them for years while covering music festivals like Blissfest, but had never listened to all of their work. I stumbled across “Dragon” a few days after shooting some fabricating with Matt Belic in his metal shop where he and Mike Brunet developed the custom groomer for the Noquemanon Trails Network’s Snow Bike Route. It just clicked for the metal shop segment-it was humorous, upbeat, and a little funky-but I figured I’d just carve off the 30 seconds of the lead singer Micah Middaugh’s monologue at the beginning of the song.
That was until I was randomly shifting clips around in my editing software, developing a rough cut, and happened to come across a clip of NTN lead volunteer and SBR developer Mike Brunet talking to the camera that I had shot while he was giving me a snowmobile tour of the SBR the previous winter. The clip is basically a hand-held, sort of shaky throw away clip with no audio–but Brunet’s hand gestures and body language almost perfectly matched the inflection of the song intro. I was worried Brunet wouldn’t like it, but after I explained it to him and we had a couple of beers at Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette, he agreed. Those sort of things, the happy accidents and the chance to match cinematography, music, and interviews are what have made me fall head over heels for filmmaking. Collaboration is one of the core concepts of Clear & Cold Cinema. Filmmaking is a team sport and I really want to work with local and regional talent like music groups and other creatives. There is a lot of talent nearby and I want to be a vehicle for harnessing it into positive projects.
I’m calling the fourth segment MindSparks: Birth of the SBR for two reasons. Obviously, it’s the segment that deals with the creative process that led to the birth of the groomer that made the SBR and a new form of riding possible, perhaps the first of its kind anywhere. But secondly, it’s a nod to my friend Aaron LaRocque of Mind Spark Cinema, a British Columbia, Canada production company that is a household name to any mountain biker for the gorgeous action films they make. I met LaRocque in Copper Harbor, Michigan in 2012 when he and pro rider Andrew Shandro were brought in by Trek bikes to promote the region through a short riding video. Working with LaRocque and seeing the positive results the video had for the region are a few factors that led me to consider filmmaking. That was only a year and a half ago. Wow, hard to believe.
The main character in the fourth segment, the bearded guy, is NTN employee Matt Belic. Matt shows up throughout the film as sort of a Greek chorus of one, offering silent commentary through his actions and facial expressions throughout the later chapters of the film. Filming in Belic’s metal shop was a lot of fun. We had a few ideas for what we wanted going in, but it was mostly a free-for-all once the welder starting crackling and sparks started flying. My father was a machinist, so I was familiar with what was going to happen and how things were going to look, but I’d never shot this type of work before and had no idea how beautiful the flames, explosions, sparks and reflections of the fabricating would be, especially when shot in super slow motion. It was super fun segment to both shoot and edit.
The remaining three videos (and the full length film) will be available the following dates:
Saturday, Dec. 21—Chapter Three: The Lake Superior Session
Saturday, Dec. 28—Chapter Four: MindSparks-Birth of the SBR
Saturday, Jan. 4—Chapter Five: The SBR Shred Session
Saturday, Jan. 11—Full film available