Our Scottish Ambassador, Aneela McKenna, was the highlight of the weekend at last week’s Kendal Mountain Film Festival. So, we headed out to the hills of England’s Lake District to watch the new video that she stars in (which you can see at the bottom of this post), heckle from the crowd, and join her on the Juliana Ride Out that she organized with the local dealer Biketreks.
Here’s what Aneela had to say about the video. With a title like, “It’s Time to Get Moist,” we felt there was some explaining to do!
Ed Oxley has a bit of reputation for making ‘unique' and pretty avant garde mountain bike films so when he asked me to be in his next film I wasn’t sure what I was letting myself in for (if you don’t know what I mean, be sure to check out the Vain Vagrant, The Chop or In Search of Peaty).
Ed wanted women in his film. Mmmmhhh. What kind of craziness was in store??? I asked my friends Janey and Sandy to join me - these girls are rad, and I knew they could cope with anything (and all things quirky!) so we headed down to Rydal in the Lake District, England to meet Ed.
Our base for the next few days was a yurt – me, Ed, Sandy, Janey and Andy (my watchful other half making sure things didn’t get too weird) and Tim Royle, the man behind the lens all together in this psychedelic tent for the weekend. Over a few beers we gelled quickly and the chat got to the plot for the film, although we still weren’t 100% sure on Ed’s angle. Neither was he!
But it all came together nicely: Ed and Andy played the jokers whilst the girls got to grips with the role of…well just being themselves - confident, rad, mountain bike crazy girls!
We woke to freezing riding conditions. It was really wet, a storm was on its way and there was going to be a lot of standing about in the driving rain in between riding some full-on rocky trail sections. As soon we got out of the van the camera was already rolling. Ed’s first line came out and we knew what to expect for the rest of the weekend! We soon got used to Ed’s matter-of-fact ‘acting style’ and Andy’s dead pan ‘persona’. They are such a comedy double act, you can’t help but laugh.
And us girls – we had so much fun, combined with all the nonsense (on and off the camera) it was an awesome day riding great trails, and so much fun making our ‘acting debut’ with super slick Tim, the brains behind the lens - you would forget that he was there!
You’ll probably guess we’re all happier riding our bikes than acting in front of the camera, but for the most part, we managed to look presentable on screen. Except at the end of the film: time was limited and we had to come up with the twist. Sandy was in her Christmas pyjamas, Janey and I had bed hair but the camera was already rolling so we had to go with it (this may well have been deliberate!) I never would have imagined that over 10,0000 people and counting would see us in our PJs!!
It’s definitely given me a taste for more showing us girls riding techy trails so watch out for part two - the ladieez will be back!
With the video made, all that was left was to show it at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, and the man himself, Ed Oxley, sent us a little snippet about the evening:
Every year I present the Santa Cruz Bike Night at Kendal Mountain Festival in the English Lake District. There's nothing else really like it. It's a kind of live audience chat show with original big screen video content, craft ale, live music, interviews and a touch of anarchy that typifies our sport. This year was the best yet with 900 people in the audience. We had Greg Minaar, Martyn Ashton, Guy Martin and Josh Bryceland on the stage as well as a whole load of other guests. We also saw first screenings of edits that are now being released online in the days following the festival.
"We want to see more women in mountain biking" they said, so I thought I’d do my bit and team up with Whitenosugar Productions to make a film. It’s not hard to represent women positively in a mountain bike edit, you just have to show the girls doing what they do every week riding their bikes on proper trails. I didn’t want it to look like Soviet era propaganda and so I added a bit of Great Rock humour. Everyone has to be good at something and at least I’m good at being a dick and the women certainly come out on top.
The three women in the film are Aneela McKenna, Juliana Bicycles brand ambassador and partner in Scottish guiding company Go-Where. Sandra Scally is an ambassador for Hervelo women’s cycling club (although apparently there's one male member, the cheeky monkey). Janey Kennedy is a professional mountain bike guide with Go-Where. The other bloke we just found outside the supermarket and we invited him along because we felt sorry for him.
The film was shot in a weekend in the Lake District and edited just in time for the festival. In true British style we had all the weather and enjoyed constant wind and rain from the tail end of some hurricane passing over the Atlantic. It's what makes us great. It also kills cameras and freezes fingers but we're not made of sugar and neither are we princesses.
The audience at Kendal certainly enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy it too.