https://www.kunstform.org/

MIKE MASTRONI AND THE STORY BEHIND THE 'TELOMERE' VIDEO

Backstories behind the clips

24 Jun 2024

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Sunday

Photos by Jon Tinsley

Two years, many miles logged, and two broken wrists later, Mike Mastroni follows up his "Industrial Eyes" edit with his latest called "Telomere". Read on for a little insight into his project.

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How’s everything, Mike? What have you been up to?

Doing good man, just working a lot. Just starting to dip my toes back into riding again after a few months off due to the wrist stuff.  

How did the "Telomere" title come about?

It’s a cellular health thing referring to the to the ends of your DNA structures. Basically as we age, our telomeres get shorter and shorter until we die. However, science is starting to figure out ways to maintain and in some cases even lengthen telomeres, such as eating certain foods, exercise, etc…which they think could be the key to living much longer. In terms of BMX, filming a video part at 35 isn’t as easy as it used to be, so for me that has meant focusing on living a much healthier lifestyle in order to keep doing this stuff. Similar to DNA, the video parts you create play a big role in who you are in BMX. For me, the act of filming a video part gives me purpose and keeps me young, so the name is sort of a reference to all that, and serves a a reminder to keep pushing. 


How did you break your wrist twice while filming for it?

First was the gap to wall thru the tree in the beginning…broken scaphoid requiring surgery. That was about a six-month healing process, then back riding for two months, then broke same wrist, different bone on a trip in Arizona just filming a little clip for Instagram. I really wanted to film a lot more for the video, but after the second injury I decided to call it and just put it out. 

How is "Telomere" different than your previous edit "Industrial Eyes"?

Besides being maybe a little less themed, this one is also way more traveled footage, whereas Industrial Eyes was primarily just Salt Lake City & surrounding areas. On the back end, the biggest difference for me was upgrading from my tried & true 720/60 + super 8 film, to 4k/60 with 16mm film. Definitely a bit of a learning curve with all new cameras and processes. 

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What was the total tube count for the clip at 1:54?

Too many!! I’d pretty much get a flat every other try…it was definitely at least seven or eight.  

Were the deer at 2:19 cheering you on?

Ha, I actually picked off that shot nearly a year after the riding clip! I happened to be in Boise for work and slept in my van near that building one night. In the morning I was walking my dog and saw a family of deer just posted there, so I went back and grabbed the 16mm. 

Judging by the amount of tire marks on the wall at 2:40, it looks like you hit that a shitload of times. It looked like it required some serious precision for the landing; were those all from other attempts?

Yeah that one was tricky! The thread the needle run in with the car next to me made things even harder. Basically it was an issue of the speed needing to be absolutely perfect to land precisely on the down…so it took a while. We also had to remove an entire bush from between the two transitions.  

How does one come across a giant loose concrete globe like the one at 3:44?

There are actually quite a few of them around this building…I just so happened to notice that one wasn’t tethered to the ground. I actually had to roll that thing like a quarter mile to get it to the rail…luckily the height and proportions lined up perfectly. 

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What’s the farthest you traveled while compiling clips? Where was your favorite place?

Besides filming around Utah, for this part I did trips to Richmond, Austin, Maine, Connecticut, Idaho, Arizona, and a few to California…most of which were driving trips in the van. Although I was hurt, Maine was super awesome and I did manage some 16mm out it. 

 What’s your favorite clip?

I think the ender just because it’s a Connecticut hitter, and it’s really rare to find a rail setup that good that was untouched by BMX as far as I know. I was definitely way out of my comfort zone self-filming a tire ride like that, and probably will never solo anything like that ever again. Definitely irresponsible, but I’m happy/lucky to have walked away from that one with the clip and only minor scrapes. 

What was the most difficult clip to film?

Probably the curve wall to gap wall at the end. I actually found that spot using google street view on an Oculus 3D headset from the comfort of my couch before the Richmond trip. When I finally got there and checked it out, it was pretty apparent that the run up was very short...like right on the edge of being impossible without building a drop-in ramp. I tried for a few hours the first day and just couldn’t get the speed to connect properly to the second wallride after the curved wall. Eventually my body was just taxed. I think we went back a couple days later with fresh limbs, and one somehow finally worked out after about another hour. It might not be super apparent in the video, but the weird U-turn to S-turn with full throttle pedal effort I had to exert to generate that speed was draining to say the least. 

Any plans for a follow-up edit?

That’s always the goal! It’s actually a really exciting time for me when I’ve exhausted basically all my footage for a project and now I get to re-focus and start fresh. The idea of getting any clip on the board right now gets me hyped, so I’m really looking forward to feeling good on my bike again and getting back to it. 

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