‘Bon Voyage’ – Cliché Skateboards

Filmed/ Directed by Boris Proust

BONVOYAGE_DVD_clicheskateboardsCliché has come a long way and travelled a lot of miles since its first video Europa was released some 10 or so years ago. Bon Voyage is the latest leg of their fantastic journey and there are noticeable changes in the team line-up and general aesthetic. The premier international team boasts Daniel Espinoza, Kevin Bradley, Paul Hart, Joey Brezinski, and Pete Eldridge from America; Sam Winter and Andrew Brophy from Australia; Lem Villemin from Germany; Javier Mendizabal from Spain; Adrien Coillard, Max Geronzi, Charles Collet, Lucas Puig, JB Gillet, Flo Mirtain and Jeremie Daclin from France.

Mark McKee, Eric Frenay and Boris Proust take care of the production side of Bon Voyage and the end product is a very clean and fluent film. Boris has done well to differentiate himself from his predecessor, Fred Mortagne who single-handedly changed the way people see skateboarding. It’s good to note that Cliché also include their army of flow riders who are each given a few seconds to shine during the closing credits. This sort of recognition is a positive stance that too many skate brands bother to take.

So, the 50 minutes flight time of Bon Voyage begins with their newest pro Daniel Espinoza. Shots of Daniel in his supped up sports car, smoking cigarettes and staring into the distance conjure up a sort of 2 Fast 2 Furious vibe, but to be honest my impression of Daniel and his skating was anything but fast and furious; more of an asleep-at-the-wheel approach. He’s talented on a board, he can spin backside 360 bigger spins just as easily as he can grind long S-shaped rails fitting the cookie cutter mold of today’s über-ams. You don’t see many skaters go pro these days from one major video part, some may feel as though this was premature, but make your own mind up from his section. I’m sure he will be a firm fixture for the future of skateboarding.

As Daniel slides and flips his way off the screen, two OG street masters, JB Gillet and Pete Eldridge step up to bat. You really can’t go wrong with either of these guys. They have both cut their teeth at legendary spots during skateboarding’s golden era of the nineties, so why-oh-why did the accredited music coordinator think a limp electro love song would work well with their swagger and clout? Seriously, the music is so ill-suited to Pete’s powerful switch pop and JB’s smooth operations that I just can’t sit down and enjoy this otherwise gem of a section. Paging Quartersnacks for an urgent remix please!

Max Geronzi, Paul Hart and Adrien Coillard represent the next generation of rippers. You probably don’t recognize their names but you will remember them once you’ve seen their part. All three of them have been fixtures in their respective minor leagues and now their sitting nicely at the top of their class ready to graduate to the majors.

Lucas Puig – Nollie inward heel skill. Ph: Dave Chami.

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Joey Brezinski rides in on two wheels and rides out on two wheels. The combos get crazier, the balancing gets better and the quirky sense of humour is kept at a minimum. Honestly, Joey is a white crane martial artist performed the most insane balancing acts on his board and deserves to be mentioned in the same breathe as Daewon Song or Rodney Mullen. I just wish we could get to see a few more regular tricks from the guy.

Charles Collet, Andrew Brophy, Lem Villemin and Javier Mendizabal cruise through the film at their respective speeds and heights. If it’s smaller than 3 feet tall, Brophy won’t skate it. Charles is a still a gnarly bohemian and I think Lem was injured during the making of Bon Voyage, but that didn’t stop him from pulling out some suave tech treats.

Javier really doesn’t have enough footage and it would have been great to see him cruising around that crazy glow-in-the-dark bowl structure at night. Oh well. There is a brief interval where the team takes us on their Trucker tour of Europe unearthing even more insane terrain set to the sounds of Cassius’ ‘I Love You So’. Those funky Euros love their electro and this video is full of it. Thankfully, most of it sounds alright.

Lucas Puig (assisted by a brief Jeremie Daclin cameo) brings us back to Cliché’s French roots with some solid street annihilation set to the score of Oxmo Puccino. Lucas gets a free pass riding up to ledges in Adidas tracksuit bottoms because he’s so skilled on a skateboard. I can see street purists are going to pick up on this loose fitted fashion statement.

Sammy Winter is a visual treat and some might say he’s more deserving of that pro spot than his cohorts. Plenty of pop and finesse describes Sammy’s skating. There’s even a brief clip of recently passed Lewis Marnell sharing some good vibes with his Australian brethren. Lost but not forgotten!

Charles Collett – Lien Disaster. Ph: Dave Chami.

charlescollett_liendisaster

American teen Kevin Bradley delivers by the bucket load. Kevin’s skating is very reminiscent of a young Bastien Salabanzi mixed with a splash of Lavar McBride. He attacks gaps, rails and plazas with speed and style. Even the snippets of bravado and hand gesturing seem fairly fun and positive so I hope to see more from Kevin in the future.

Finally we finish with Flo Mirtain. Relatively unknown for some, Flo just joined the pro ranks and this part is a pretty good stamp of approval for that position. Please note the recognition from Marc Johnson as Flo manuals his way around one of the master’s spots in LA. Flo is a tech powerhouse who seems quite mute, but in return his skating does the talking and it screams pretty loud that you need to keep an eye on this guy and his approach to this great pastime we call skateboarding.

There you go. That’s it. Bon Voyage, an epic journey around the world with a truly international team of thoroughbreds and future prospects. It’s recommended. Go get it from your local skate shop this weekend or from iTunes in two clicks.

Ralph Lloyd Davis

Cliché Bon Voyage on iTunes now

The long wait is over. Those who are itching to watch the new Cliché video can click through to iTunes tonight to download the full movie. Bon Voyage was filmed and edited by Boris Proust with footage of the team shot in Europe, Australia, the USA, China and Japan.

Check below for all UK skate shop premiere’s as it will be way more of an experience to watch it there and pick up a DVD than downloading it off the web.

Exposed: ‘French’ Fred Mortagne

MARK_APPLEYARD_KICKFLIP_fredmortagne

History tells us that you will find only a handful of unique individuals within every culture worldwide. Look across the pond to France and the big book of skateboard history there will reveal that the creative mind found within Fred Mortagne is one of their country’s finest.

His sterling work within film making launched back in 2000 from delivering the wonderful éS ‘Menikmati’ video. The cast featured the likes of Ronnie Creager, Rick McCrank and Eric Koston to name a few but his relationships with the likes of Arto Saari and Tom Penny led him to make one of skateboarding’s most legendary videos ever: Flip Skateboards’ ‘Sorry’. Fred’s work here is unique. Call it the right time, the right team, whatever you want, this film launched an assault on skateboarding in 2002 and left a crater for every other team on the scene to crawl out of. Fred’s film direction continued from there with stunning work alongside Cliché Skateboards. Their relationship blossomed and led to full length productions that have seen the brand become a world-wide force.

The other side of Fred’s talent is documented successfully in photography. Six year’s ago, before the trend of Facebook ‘likes’ and The Berrics, we welcomed his unique photographic skills to our Triple Shot features in 2006, so here’s an overdue sequel to what was one of our most read features back then.

Fred is now a staunch WeActivist and is about to participate in Red Bull’s Illume photo competition.

Postcard stoke:

Easy Fred, great to see that you have unleashed your ‘Hand in Hand’ book online this month. Looking back, what would you change if you were to travel back to Israel  tomorrow?

I would go during summertime, as the days would be longer than when we went in November. I didn’t want to shoot at night or use flashes but it was getting dark at 4:30pm! I had to change my plans a little bit as a result and didn’t come up with as many skate pics than I personally wanted, and in the way I normally shoot them. It was frustrating for sure but going in the summertime would probably be too hot! I’d rather go somewhere new!

Taking us to the present day we have seen that you have passed over duties of film making to Boris Proust for the new Cliché video ‘Bon Voyage’, do you have footage in this forthcoming production?

So so so. the thing is, as crazy as it might sound, considering the history we have together, we completely parted ways with Cliché. I am not doing any work for them anymore, nor will I be involved in anyway with their new video. There may be a few old clips in there that I filmed but that’s all. A chapter has turned. Although, this doesn’t mean I’m not working on other projects with some of Cliché’s riders. I’m of course very close with the riders. I like working with Flo Mirtain who’s has good ideas and motivation. We made a short movie in French making fun of skateboarding, so I’m working on making the English version of it.

What other projects are coming soon?

The biggest project I’ve been working on directly involves Javier Mendizabal and is directed by Thomas Campbell for whom I have the biggest respect. This has been filmed entirely on 16mm film and should drop around summer time and has been a super exciting project to work on. I’m very close with Javier and truly respect his skateboarding. In addition I’m working on couple ‘making of’s’ about that project.

There’s much exciting stuff to come, and you will find out sooner or later but expect some very diverse things. The outcomes will be very different from each other. No routine, no repetition, and of course, no following of formats either, I’m trying to bring new stuff.

Take us through how your ‘burnt’ photo series were put together? Which shot has been most popular?

One day I came across some shitty slides. Nothing interesting on them. Instead of throwing them to the thrash, I figured out I could do some wild experiments. Being a pyromaniac, it didn’t take long for me to realize how good burnt stuff could be. The Mark Appleyard kickflip at the top of this page seems to be a popular one.

What are you shooting on mostly these days?

Still on my good old Nikon FM2, my first reflex camera from 2001. Well, I had to get a new one after accidentally destroying the shutter of the original one. It was a sad moment. So I still shoot mostly with film, but it’s very tough because no one supports this format anymore and magazines pay ridiculous fees these days. This alone has pushed people to use digital only. Economics suck.

We asked Fred to ‘Expose’ some of his most cherished photos over the years. Enjoy the tales behind the shoots.

ALEX GAVIN FEEBLE FAKIE_fredmortagne

This photo above of Alex Gavin was shot in Montreal in 2008. Some force attracted me to the Olympic Stadium. I knew I had to go there. In one day, I shot more epic stuff than in months. There are tons of hyper photogenic spots so I was in heaven and I also had the chance to hook up with great and super motivated skateboarders. All the ingredients were gathered for pure epicness.

ALI_DOG_WALLRIDING_fredmortagne

Ali Boulala was living in Lyon for few years. Of course being around Ali, it’s pure comedy almost all the time. Just going out walking the dog might turn into something special. It was the first time in my life, and very probably the last, that I saw a dog doing some wallrides!

JAVIER Mendizabal FAKIE BLUNT_fredmortagne

I like shooting with Javier Mendizabal, he always super down for missions. His skating is very photogenic and different. I like the fact he’s into photography too. He shoots really good photos, so he perfectly understands some situations I put him in; very specific and precise ones to create strong images. Sometimes it requires patience and involvement from the “models”, and with Javier, for this fact, it’s always easy to shoot with him.

OMAR SALAZAR_FS BLUNTSLIDE_LYON_fredmortagne

If I’d have requested to make this photo happen, it probably would never have come to fruition. Sometimes photography is just magic, without you doing anything. We didn’t even try to attract the flying rats, they would come back on their own and they all flew off at the right time in the right spots. I must say though that those little bastards were annoying Mr Salazar so much that the madness was setting in! Omar Salazar, Fs bluntslide, Lyon, 2006.

POULAIN_TUNNEL_FINAL_fredmortagne

The tricks need to be crazy and amazing in order to make great skateboard pictures from a false idea. Sylvain Tognelli, bs 180 flip, Lyon.

Steve Forstner Nosemanual_fredmortagne

This is in my neighbourhood. I passed this place for about 20 years until I realised it could be turned into a skate spot with the right people involved such as Steve Forstner (pictured) and Ali Boulala. It’s a very strange and limited spot and the only time it was skated, but I’m stoked we did it.

CHARLES_COLLET_FSLIPSLIDE+MILITARIES_fredmortagne

The confrontation between different worlds. Some people focus on playing, while some others are into fighting. Not much else to say. This is from my book called “Hand in Hand” that you can watch online down ↓ there. Charles Collet Fs lipslide, Jerusalem 2010.

RICARDO_FONSECA_WALLRIDE_fredmortagne

I obviously love the work of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer who passed away in 2012 at the age of 105! He never knew but he had a great sense of building such great spots for skateboarders. Ricardo Fonseca in Le Havre, France. 2005.

BASTIEN_BEAT_UP_fredmortagne

Without knowing I started filming for ‘Sorry’ while making éS ‘Menikmati’. This was on the very first Flip trip I had been on back in 1999 in France. The whole team went to visit Tom Penny in the french countryside where he lived with his mum. This picture sums up the general vibe and atmosphere of the trip pretty well; a batch of wild teenagers going crazy all the time. Funny memories!

Flick through Fred’s ‘Hand in Hand’ online book and if you feel like treating yourself to one of his ‘burnt’ series photos or even a pack of 4 postcards featured in this article, they are available now from his Big Cartel site.