StokeLab: Tell us a few things about yourself and the film "Cycle[s]." Matthew Clark Mulligan: I am a 22-year-old filmmaker living in Portland, Oregon. "Cycle[s]" was a short film born as the culmination of the past few years of work with the Shadow Puppet Collective. From seasons of webisodes, to full-length films, to the general documentation of some really great experiences in the outdoors; we have accrued a fairly deep well of footage, and this project was somewhat of a highlights compilation of all these memories. Due to the nature of such an extended period of production, the locations for the film are fairly broad—from Chile, to the San Juans, to the Pacific Northwest. We have been really lucky to have traveled, skied, and kayaked in some really amazing places.
"Cycle[s]" just won an award, can you tell us about that?
Yeah, it was actually quite an honor and a surprise to win the Jury Award for Best Sports Film at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth up in Seattle, Wash.. As it turns out, "Cycle[s]" was the first film I submitted to a festival, and it was really exciting to not only participate in such a great event, but to end up walking away with the win as well!
Any epic stories while shooting the movie?
Honestly, there have been so many moments throughout these past couple years that I don’t even know where to begin; it truly seems that almost every time we go out to shoot we walk away with yet another unforgettable memory. However, I would say it seems as though we find ourselves in particularly wild positions behind the lens whenever we go out to shoot kayaking. [Like] hanging onto small bits of shrubbery and keeping each others balance so that we can lean out precariously far over a cliff edge in order to get the best angle... I suppose simply the nature of the geographical formations that surround waterfalls inevitably create such situations, but as a cinematographer that can’t kayak as well, I feel that I am always in for an adventure just trying to find a way to access the locations themselves.
What's next on the docket, another movie?
Film-making is perhaps my largest passion in life, followed closely by spending time in the outdoors, so we will no doubt continue to have adventures and continue to document them as a group. Whether these moments will seed the creation of full length films or shorter webisodes, I am not fully sure; regardless though, I do hope to move more into a direction of outdoors based documentaries that tell more complete stories, rather than simply creating adrenaline porn... Although we will surely do that as well haha.
You cover skiing and kayaking in "Cycle[s]," any other sports on your radar?
Those two sports are certainly the crux of what we do as a group, but I’d love to begin getting into the worlds of biking, climbing, and whatever else presents itself as well. I suppose I will just have to wait and see though.
Do you ever just leave the camera in the car and go shred for fun?
All the time! No matter how much I love making films, I couldn’t ever go out for a day of filming without making sure to get ample time to just shred, because when it really comes down to it, the reason we are making these films is fundamentally based off of the fact that we just love to be out there having a good time.
For the tech geeks out there what's inside your (camera) bag?
We predominantly shoot with the Sony V1U and the Canon 7D, with a 17-40mm lens.
One piece of gear you can't live without?
I think I actually have to give two answers, because as a filmmaker I couldn’t go without the Canon 7D. But from a the position of a skier I fully depend on the Bluehouse Maestro skis to absolutely shred no matter what the conditions.
Lastly, can you tell me a little about the last clip in the film? Who, where, how big and mostly, WHY?!
Haha, yeah that is Metlako Falls on Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge, and I’ve been told that it is about a 90-foot drop. We had been up there to film kayaking the week before, and heard that someone had tubed off of it once... Once the idea was in our heads we just couldn’t shake it, so we ended up back there the next week with some four-dollar Wal-Mart kiddie innertubes, and myself and a friend, Sam Orner, went for it. It was pretty terrifying getting the nerve to commit to it, but once we were in the water it was actually a pretty smooth ride!
Interview by Justin Cash