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Sunday, November 11, 2012
Director discusses new film, 'Moto 4'

The fourth installment in director Taylor Congdon's "Moto" film series hits iTunes on Monday, with Blu-Ray and DVDs shipping Monday from Congdon's site,

"Moto 4" features freeriding in spectacular landscapes from some of the biggest names in motocross and Supercross racing, including Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Andrew Short, Chad Reed and Zach Osbourne; World Off-Road Championship Series dominators Kurt Caselli and Taylor Robert; Baja racer Kendall Norman; and X Games gold medalist and EnduroCross champion Taddy Blasuziak, among others. caught up with Congdon for more on the evolution of the "Moto" series to get the inside scoop on his latest entry. When you look at the four films together and as a trajectory, what's your perspective on how much everything has grown now that you have the fourth one in the can?
The "Moto" series started three years ago after I'd been making movies with TransWorld Motocross and realized I needed to get on with doing my own projects and self-producing my own movies. I was initially inspired by the old "Terrafirma" series that was big back in the '90s and wanted to make my mark with some new twists.

Each of these movies, "1" through "4," has been shot on entirely different cameras because the technology changes so much year to year. This time we shot primarily on the RED 4K camera, which has 4K resolution, so the image quality has been bumped way up, and we also used a lot more cable cameras and helicopters this time. That's one of the fun challenges of making these movies: you're always reinventing the wheel and trying to one-up what you did last time.

Moto 4
"The goal is always to take the best riders out there and put them in new, unique landscapes and situations," says director Taylor Congdon.

Why is it important to you as a filmmaker to take top riders who we mostly think of as racers and get them out in the hills freeriding?
These guys are seen mostly as racers in the media, but the reality is they just love to ride, period. They want to be on their bikes having fun, like anyone who rides. Yeah, they pound laps for training and fitness, but ultimately they just love riding their bikes. I wanted to show them doing what they really enjoy, and to try to capture that feeling of pure joy.

"Moto 4" is full of spectacular settings and in each section, whether you're in the mountains or the desert or in a vineyard, there are Zen-like establishing shots before we get to the action shots of the riders tearing through all that scenery. What interests you about all that contrast?
For me the goal is always to take the best riders out there and put them in new, unique landscapes and situations. With off-road riding it's pretty amazing how far you can go, and how quickly, so that in the span of minutes you can find yourself in a completely different place from where you started. There's always that weird juxtaposition, because we're riding these man-made high-speed machines that are super-loud and almost violent, yet we always find ourselves in these beautiful natural settings, either from following the trails where they take us or from actively seeking those settings out for the sake of good visuals for filming. I think if you ask almost any rider, they'd tell you that contrast is kind of a soulful thing. It's part of the experience of riding.

What were some of your favorite spots you got to for "Moto 4"?
For Kendall Norman's segment, the ridgelines above Santa Barbara are where he actually rides and those mountains are the highest vertical-elevated mountains that close to the ocean anywhere. You're right on top of the ocean and the city, but you're 3,000 feet above it all and it's just spectacular up there. You're literally riding right on the edge. The Lucerne desert where we shot Kurt Casseli's segment was another favorite: it feels like an alien moonscape that just goes for miles and miles and miles. And it's always cool to go to the riders' houses where they have their own private tracks and facilities, because these are guys who been able to build their dream tracks.

After all the work that goes into pre-production, filming, editing and post-production for these films, what do you most look forward to in this moment where you're right on the verge of getting all that work in front of its intended audience?
It's always nerve-wracking releasing a new movie because you don't know how it's going to be perceived, but this one I'm really excited about. I've never been so confident in a movie as I am with this one, and I'm very proud of every segment this time. It helps that I have great riders on board, of course, and also that I have a tremendous crew -- from the shooters to the editors to the graphic artists to my colorists, everybody. Everybody involved in this project is pretty much as good as it gets. I'm really eager to see how people respond to it.