If you've ever tuned in to the Red Bull channel on Redbull.tv, YouTube, a Roku, or Apple TV, then you've likely seen the show “Life Behind Bars.” The reality series follows freeride mountain bike star Brandon Semenuk and his crew of friends on a multitude of adventures in locations around the globe. The popular show wrapped its second season in December, but luckily for its fans, a new movie titled “Brandon Semenuk's Rad Company” was just released to tide them over.
Unlike the show, which has plenty of reality-style antics, the film is straight up, action-based bike porn. It showcases Semenuk and other high-profile athletes such as Cam Zink, Cam McCaul, Yannick Granieri, Thomas Genon, and others biking in locations including Fiji; Retallack, British Columbia; and Utah. It's a no-nonsense, all-action, all-the-time highlight reel of the best of the year. And thanks to some stunning camera work and visual editing, the film keeps a viewer’s interest long after the “wow” factor wears off.
"Because it was a one-year film and we had to reach a certain timeline, we created a segment around every location we shot,” Semenuk explains. "Luckily every shoot worked out."
If the film’s parks and trails look unlike anything you’re seen before, it's because each was custom-built for the film. It was a process that took tons of time. "It depends on the track and features," says Semenuk. "The builds usually took one to four weeks. Most stunts were built in one to two days. The design process started far in advance before we started digging. We visited each site anywhere from one to five times to confirm the build direction."
Then once a location was designed and deemed ready to go, the park crew would take over. "The builds for each segment usually had two to four diggers and/or machine operators," Semenuk continues. "Some of those builders included Evan Young, Kane Boyce, Adam Billinghurst, and Kyle Jameson."
After the parks or trails were built, all that Semenuk had to do was decide which of his friends he should invite to ride them. "I got to decide on the athletes for each location. My decision was usually made by the athlete’s style of riding and who I enjoy watching ride. There is something motivating about watching someone else push their limits—makes it fun."
Viewers of the film should especially look for scenes shot on trails in the rain of coastal British Columbia—the camera and effects work with the water droplets is especially awe-inspiring. But according to Semenuk, the effect was simpler to film than it looked. "The spring weather in Coastal BC is mostly rain. It’s not whether it’s raining or not—it’s how hard is it raining," he points out. "The cameraman and photographers used garbage bags to keep their equipment dry. The athletes wore rain jackets and used propane heaters to stay warm and dry."
After a huge premiere in front of a sold-out crowd in North Vancouver, Canada, on Saturday and Sunday, the film may have reached its zenith. But, for Semenuk, he's already pedaling forward with plans to enter a handful of big mountain bike events this summer.
The film “Brandon Semenuk's Rad Company” is available for purchase for U.S. and Canadian fans now on DVD, Blue-Ray, iTunes, and GooglePlay as well as through digital download on X-Box, Playstation, VUDU, and Comcast. It will be available globally at RedBullShop.com as of June 15.
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