Well, Kendal Mountain Festival is over for another year. This year at KMF was our best yet, but we’ll talk about that in more detail in another post. This time around, Matt Pycroft reflects on what it is to put the festival trailer together for the third year running.
I can vividly remember sitting in the Brewery Arts Centre auditorium on the third weekend of a rainy November waiting for the films the start. It must have been around 2010, maybe 2011, and I was in my penultimate year of university. It was then that the trailer began to play. It was the opening to a session that would change my life completely, as when I left that room I had already made the decision to commit to pursuing a career making adventure films. Six years later I found myself in that theatre once again, although this time stood at the back. As is always the case the trailer opened the session, but the music and the pictures were familiar. For the last three years we’ve had the honour of producing the festival trailer. The first year it was as staff filmmakers at Hot Aches Productions, and the subsequent year as the newly formed Coldhouse Collective.
There was a point in my fledgling career where it felt like just that, my career. For a host of reasons the spark and the passion had gone into hiding, but I knew it merely lay dormant. The answer was founding Coldhouse and having my creativity handed back to me. I’ve been on a string of expeditions this year, and as a result I’ve spent a lot of time away from my home and the studio. The beauty of working formally with your closest friends is that you’re able to run off to far corners of the globe while the others hold the wheel. This trailer is one of the first opportunities I’ve had in a while to really sink my teeth in to an edit as the primary editor, and it’s been a real breath of fresh air.
With that said, having to up the game for the third year in a row was a challenge. After some really positive feedback, we were immensely proud of the 2014 trailer and had to think carefully about how to step it up again. There are a few stages to putting the trailer together and this year we had a team of three. Dan Howard worked for a full week to chop out the finest clips from this year’s entries (over 100 submissions). As primary editor my job consisted of sourcing music and cutting the clips together, ultimately bringing the film to a ‘picture lock’. I also laid down the narrative sound, cutting out select quotes from the films, as well as using speeches from over a century ago. Finally, Adrian took hold and implemented graphics - after using amazing artwork by Tessa Lyons last year, we opted to go for simple but bold graphics that matched the overall look and feel of the festival this time around. The real jewel in Adrian’s crown this year was the sound. Taking the tracks that I had laid down, Ad worked to marry the sound and the vision. We are often given the films in their finished format, so most of the clips have music and/or voice over with them, meaning that Adrian had to add each piece of individual foley in post by either sourcing the relevant sounds or creating it himself in the studio.
This year we’ve felt as though we had the confidence and freedom to be brave, and take risks. There comes a point in your career where you feel as though you’ve learnt the rules, played by them, and now have the right to break them. We threw a few curve balls into the trailer here and there, with the intention of keeping it fresh and exciting. It was brilliant to have the added value of the archive footage from Chamonix that celebrates the '150th Anniversary of the Golden Age of Mountaineering'.