I Robot Food: The minds behind Afterbang

The Northwest is a hub of creative synergies, ideas, concepts, and new projects. Urban artisans are inspired by each other, the area, the weather, and the music. It’s no shocker, then, that Directors Jess Gibson and Pierre Wikberg chose Portland, Oregon and the Nemo Design office as a place to edit their first effort, Afterbang. If you’ve seen the “fun” teaser and liked it, don’t worry--the movie follows right “in-line.”

When did you start filming this season?

Pierre Wikberg: Late November, I think--shooting rails.

Jess Gibson: Mostly digi stuff and goofing around.

Is footage still being gathered?

We’re pretty much done. Our last trip was in May, but we did just get a couple other shots at Hood.

We weren’t aiming to get anything this summer anyhow.

How much film have you logged?

Not that much compared to some companies. They also shoot a ton of riders--our whole goal was to keep it small and focused. I think we’ve shot a total of, like, ... fifteen hours of 16mm. And then there’s twenty hours of digi.

When is it all first reviewed?

We go through it a bunch during the season ’cause organizing, it’s the hardest part for making a movie. You have to sit down ...

Get to know the footage.

Typically, how does the day start, what time does it end?

It depends. Sometimes Pierre will get super motivated and be here until eight in the morning. I’m more of a morning person. I’d rather go to sleep at midnight, that way I can get up at seven-thirty and get in here.

When do you guys think you’re gonna finish?

Someday--a day after someday.

We have to be on the shelf September 1, so if today’s July 25, that means we need to be finished with the movie in ten days.

This whole project seems to be more--I hate to use the term--rider-driven. What’s the involvement level?

They’re definitely involved in the process from editing to marketing to--

Thinking of shots on the mountain. Like, “I wanna shoot this.” “I wanna do this trick, now I wanna do it switch.”

Obviously, they’re the stars, so it’s good that each has plans and ideas of what they want in their part--it makes our job easier.

I saw Louie Fountain and Wille Yli-Luoma on the hill the other day follow-camming each other--does that go on with all the riders?

Yeah. They shoot some digi here and there if they’re not hitting a jump. And a lot of, you know, silly stuff. You never know, it’s good to have for backup.

We go through a little tutorial (on the camera). Like this is how we use it, this is how we wipe, and this is the shutter speed ...

Robot Food, Afterbang, where did that all come from?

It was myself, Travis (Parker), Kevin Jones ... and actually, a friend of Travis’, Jesse Grandkoski. We had a list of, like, 500 different names--some of them were really stupid, and some kinda cool. And Kevin reminded us of the Saturday Night Live skit with robot food in it.

“Afterbang” has been in the air for a year almost, and may have been (from) that kid Destroyer, from Utah.

Justin Hebbel?

That’s him--yeah. I think Jussi (Oksanen) and (David) Benedek heard him say that.

How much does the robot suit weigh?

Probably twenty pounds. It depends if it’s wet (laughs).

How long does it take to get into it?

Five minutes.

Maybe closer to ten.

Do you have to custom-fit it for each rider?

You’ll see in the movie. You can guess who’s in it ... sometimes he’s tall and sometimes he’s not. You can guess who the tall guy is.

Who is the laziest Robot?

On any given day ... probably Jussi. They all work super f--king hard to get the shot. But dealing with getting your snowmobile on and off the trailer, or tying boots, or cleaning up after yourself--it’s definitely Jussi.

Was there anything else you struggled with this first season pproducing?

We were worried it was not gonna be very versatile, just a lot of kickers and stuff. But then Chris (Engelsman) pulls together really good stuff, and Travis is riding very differently, too. You can always play it safe and make a movie that everybody’s gonna like--but ours, definitely, I don’t think everybody’s gonna like it.

Has this been a fun project?

It’s definitely been the best project I’ve ever worked on in snowboarding.

Is it too early to think about next season?

No, not at all. In fact, we’ve already had a lot of new ideas. We always think about stuff, even in January. Like, you know, next powder day, next spring day, next this, next that. Everything from shooting, editing, marketing, business--all that shit.

Do you guys get a break at all?

No, not really. You can’t take too much time off--we like our jobs.