StokeLab: Can you give us some background about yourself; what you do, where you’re based, and how you became a filmmaker? Leo Zuckerman: I am a student in my last year at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. I’m originally from Montreal but I moved out to B.C two years ago to pursue studies in film at UBC. Because I’m relatively new to the film world, my background and experience are still in their infancy, but I would definitely credit my background in photography as one of the factors that led me to filmmaking.
We heard you just got back from the World Ski and Snowboard Filmmakers Intersection? Can you tell us a little more about that?
Absolutely. Our Intersection project was definitely the biggest and most intensive film project I’ve done to date. For the competition, four finalist teams were selected to compete, and were given 7 days to shoot and edit a 5-7 minute ski film in the Whistler area. On the final day, the completed films were shown at the Intersection event as part of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, also in Whistler. We were very excited to win the competition, both Best Show Award by the judges and People’s Choice Award by the audience.
Did you go to school for filmmaking? Or were you self-taught?
As mentioned above, I’m currently in film school, however my action sports films stand entirely apart from the things I do in school.
What gear do you usually bring on a shoot? Any favorite tools?
It all depends on the shoot. The essentials include my trusty Canon 7D, two or three lenses to cover the basics, and a tripod and or glidecam. On bigger shoots with actual budgets, it’s always fun to play with the bigger toys, my personal favorite, the Sony FS700.
If you could take one camera and one lens with you around the world what would it be?
Because I’ve already done this, I can say one thing for certain, stick with what you know! For me that’s the Canon 7D. Rugged, dependable, relatively compact and produces great images. (But, I’m sure upgrading to a Canon 5D or 1D wouldn't hurt). As for a lens, I’d probably take the Canon 24-105mm (on a full frame body).
Which photographers and filmmakers inspire you?
Chase Jarvis has been a very influential/inspirational figure to me, especially through my early photography days, and he still is. I also look up to some of the leading brands in action sports film such as Sherpas Cinema, Brain Farm, Camp 4 Collective and countless more production houses in other areas of film.
Are you planning to drop any new videos or webisodes this season? If so, where can we find them?
A lot of kids that want to be action sports filmmakers think that they will get to ride all the time…. How often do you get to put down the camera and just enjoy the mountains with your friends?
Whenever I’m out there, regardless of whether I’m holding a camera or not I’m always enjoying it. It’s really incredible that you can have so much fun while at the same time creating content of substance and value for such a huge audience. Then again, this kind of work has a serious side. The mountains can be extremely unpredictable and dangerous. Organization, hard work and focus are also a huge part of the game. It’s easy to tell which filmmakers are going out to have fun and which ones are going to work.
Do you think you'll always want to shoot action sports or are you interested in other areas of filmmaking?
Shooting action sports filmmaking is a blast, but it’s hard to say how long I will continue doing that. I definitely have interests in some of the other realms of film.
Photos by Leo Zuckerman | Interview by Randy Elles