JAPAN: PATRIK WALLNER
WORDS / Mackenzie Eisenhour
How has it been filming this?
Considering I was with my close friends, skating some unique spots, with the reward of some of the best cuisine on the planet after each day of filming, I must say it was hard work but also a pleasant experience. Being the filmer and photographer for this project made it a bit tricky—carrying flashes and extra equipment, but on the other hand it was also essential to have stills and film documented for the future.
What was your plan going in? Break down everyone involved in your section.
First thing that came to mind was to do a Holy Cow reunion (short piece exploring Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka filmed in 2011), which would have consisted of Walker Ryan, Michael Mackrodt, Laurence Keefe and Kenny Reed. We were eyeing out random places to go on this globe and juggling around the idea of Thailand, Russia or somewhere in Africa, but then randomly decided on Japan to make the costs easier. Laurence has been living in the country of the rising sun for the last half a decade. So the crew was supposed to be small, but then I happened to be at the Copenhagen Pro and had some beers with Phil Zwijsen and Denny Pham and I drunkenly invited them along as well since they've been part of the Visualtraveling movement for years. Thank god they came since both were the MVPs all around! By the way, thanks to Nike for helping with the lodging!
Why did you choose the location in question?
Like mentioned above, Japan is just a pleasant place to be. Photographers and filmers need not to worry of someone running away with your camera or flashes, considering that theft is as uncommon as your chances of getting struck by lighting, which is quite low. Just that burden off your mind makes your trip a little more Zen. I wish the rest of the world would take a few pointers from Japan.
Challenges? Did it all run smoothly?
Everything ran smoothly, but we did have a couple weird encounters, like when Nestor and I had to go into a police station and sign a hand written letter and give them our fingerprints promising we would never ever skate this spot under the bridge in Osaka again. That was a bit frightening and awkward since you never see Japanese police officers angry. Also, I accidentally booked the team into a Love Hotel outside Hiroshima which got weird when people got themed rooms like from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and had unusual toys available for use everywhere. We also stayed at a pretty fun Rolling Stones themed Airbnb in Tokyo where we broke a tiny 99-cent picture frame and the owner charged us 570 Euros afterwards.
Are you happy with the finished part? Would you do anything differently next time?
Overall we all only had 2-3 weeks to spare for this project so when you consider that we had to battle a typhoon the first three days which actually knocked down trees and had winds as strong as from the Wizard of Oz, we did quite alright I feel like in the amount of footage we gathered. But since we did film mainly throughout the daytime when security is on high alert, we did have to satisfy ourselves with quick lines that might not have the flip in/out that kids consume for breaky on social media over some cereal. I hope everyone still enjoys the overall feel of the short piece.
Favorite Cinematographer section from the past (Either from the OG Cinematographer (1997) or The Cinematographer Project (2012)?
Always fun to watch! Russell Houghton's part in the last project was pretty bedazzling! Hope you guys keep them coming!