Brain Farm Cinema, the company that brought you last year's stellar snowboard flick "That's It, That's All," launched a new Web site this week that makes one thing very clear: These guys are in it to win it. (BTW: If you missed TITA, you're blowing it and should go get your hands on a copy ASAP.)
The new site gives a much deeper look into what Brain Farm does in terms of digital cinematography and suggests that we have only seen the beginning of what this confident crew, headed up by Curt Morgan, is capable of. With such tools at their disposal as gyro-stabilized heli cams, custom-built cinema trucks and sleds, 007-level customs clearance and, most importantly, an undeniable talent at the helm, Brain Farm continues to grow some powerful stuff out of their Jackson Hole, Wyo., HQ. And, with everything from coyotes to FMX, the new site will keep your eyes entertained for multiple visits, but we wanted to dig a little deeper so we hit up Curt Morgan for a quick card dump.
In case you live under a digital rock, Morgan -- a former pro shred himself who switched streams and went to film school after breaking his back three times -- has had his hand in many of snowboarding's most interesting properties this decade: TITA, "The Community Project," and Natural Selection Invitational with Travis Rice; a grip of early Grenade films; and commissioned work with clients like Red Bull, Quiksilver, Oakley, NBC and even the US Marines (Semper Fi!), to name but a few.
ESPN: So what is Brain Farm Cinema?
Curt Morgan: I started Brain Farm in order to develop a new way for people to see motion images. I wanted our audience to be captivated by a new breed of digital cinema. Our market has remained stagnant for so many years and, after making "That's It, That's All," I wanted to seriously step up the game. We invested in the world's best camera equipment and some of action sports' finest players. It has taken many months of grueling work from our whole team and we have finally figured out a way to take on this new beast we call Brain Farm Digital Cinema. Our plan is to make the best films and commercials known to man. Bold claim? Yes. Is this the reality? Yes. This is and will forever be Brain Farm's goal.
In five years my plan is to have changed the whole game -- not just action sports but the whole way people look at a film.
-- Curt Morgan
What have you been doing since stunning the action sports world with TITA?
After finishing TITA, Brain Farm has gone on to do Kelly Slater's new board short campaign for Quiksilver, create the intro for the new "Nitro Circus" movie, as well as many other projects including work on National Geographic's new series "Migrations" and the new Visa Black Card commercial campaign. It has been a true roller coaster, and we are really working on breaking open the envelope and setting it on fire!
As HD technology explodes, people's expectations go through the roof, and folks get harder to "wow," where do you see Brain Farm's evolution in five years?
We will be working on changing the way people see. This is our main goal, [to] open up humans' eyes to new possibilities in digital filmmaking: documentaries, features, commercials. ... In five years my plan is to have changed the whole game -- not just action sports but the whole way people look at a film.
Who are you looking to for inspiration these days now that so many people in action sports are looking to you?
I started looking up to Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry (which of course I still do) and saw "Planet Earth" and it captivated me. Now I try to block out what others are doing and focus on my own visions. Sometimes watching other [people's] work gets confusing for me and leads me to try to copy their work. I am trying to make an individual statement and, in doing so, need time to hone in my own thoughts.
What's your favorite shot you've ever captured?
My favorite shot ever was of a mile-wide, 20-foot deep avalanche roaring down the steep mountains of New Zealand [Editor's note: yep, it's in TITA, too]. It really changed me. ... The minute we shot that I really knew I wasn't in control. I love the mystery and I love the fact that I have no real control over my surroundings. Thank God!
Will Jackson Hole always be ground zero for Brain Farm?
Brain Farm will always have a home in Jackson. It is my favorite place in the world! If necessary, we will expand to other parts of the world but, in a sense, we have already done that. This will always be a long, winding road full of adventure, love, hate, ups, downs and turn-arounds, but that's why we are all in this. It is a constant struggle to make a difference in this industry and change the way people view the world and life, forever.