If you don't recognize the GoPro Dirt Diaries from last year's Crankworx festival, that's because the video competition received a complete makeover this year.
Instead of posting short films online for the public to vote on, organizers of the festival chose six mountain bike athletes to put together a team with a filmmaker and create a four to six minute entry. The submissions — which can include footage of anywhere in the world, but must also feature the Whistler Bike Park — will be screened for the public and a panel of judges at Olympic Plaza Aug. 13 at 8:30 p.m. with the winner taking home $5,000.
"They have two months to create a video, but the critical part is it has to tell a story," says Sarah Leishman, who helped organize the event. "There's no shortage of what is often called 'bike porn' out there. We know how easily these guys can put together an edit of riders killing it on their bikes. We wanted to task them with telling a story, giving us a unique take on something."
The teams include rider Richie Schley with filmmaker Leo Zuckerman, who won last year's competition as well as the Intersection film event at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival earlier this year, Katie Holden with Jasper Wesselman, Geoff Gulevich with Ross Measures, Kenny Smith with Mitch Cheek, Mike Hopkins with David Peacock and Ryan 'R-Dogg' Howard with Scott Secco.
"We really reached out to athletes and said, 'Hey, if we did this would you be interested in participating?' We polled a lot of these guys to get their input on what we should be doing. We picked a group of athletes we thought lived in that film and photo centre and were capable of pulling a team together," Leishman says.
Some were a little skeptical about having to incorporate a story line at first, but now most of the teams are having fun with it. "No one is really freaking out," she says. "We pulled pros. If they committed to doing it, they committed to it. They're also really excited to be part of Crankworx. We're really about the athletes and the sport and it's a cool way we can invite these athletes who don't have the same place (as those competing in events)."
While they've had two months to film their projects, it took most teams a few weeks to figure out a time to meet up. Leishman is expecting some last minute entries.
"Because it's the first year of this format and their schedules are so busy we wanted to give them a wide period of time to pull it together," she says. "The athletes' schedules are part of what makes this contest so hard."
The public is invited to check out the results at the show during Crankworx. A section of priority seating is available now for $5. There will also be a licensed area to watch the show.
"The prize money is $5,000, but the other side of it is these guys are pioneering this format," Leishman says. "We haven't seen this format in mountain biking. Because the riders helped come up with it, they really want to rally behind it. It's a shared effort."
For more information on tickets call 1-800-766-0449. Follow the teams' progress by searching #DirtDiaries on Instagram.