Created for the shear joy of pushing equipment to the bleeding edge of its limits, for 20 years rural Wisconsin has played host to an annual gathering of onlookers and participants eager to see how their home toughened trucks fare against the challenge of a giant mud pit. Below, filmmaker Mike Bove tells DN how he and fellow JUMBO co-director Mitch Buss (whose family host the event on their farm) captured the spirit of this playground for mud loving diehards in their documentary short Mudfest.
Mitch Buss and I are good friends and for years he told me about his uncle up in Wisconsin and how he puts on this event. His descriptions of what goes on sounded amazing and we began kicking around the idea of doing a little documentary around the event. The end result is the film you see here.
As it was Mitch’s family we were dealing with, gaining access was relatively easy. From there we both utilized our contacts in Chicago to assist us in gaining access to gear. Daufenbach Camera was generous enough to loan us their new Varicam35 that they had just acquired. We combined that with some of our own personal gear: RED Dragon, Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera and the DJI Inspire1 drone. The main lens for the Varicam was a Canon Century 150-600mm, and we had Mike’s set of Cooke miniS4’s as well. We also managed to convince a couple friends to come up with us. All in all it was a very small nimble shoot.
Afterwards, we teamed up with a bevy of fantastic post production professionals in Chicago. Our mutual friend Colin Santangelo cut it for us, and really made it come alive. From there the color team of Tyler Roth and Parker Jarvie at Company3 really cemented the look we had in mind, and Sound Designer John Wong added the icing on the cake with his dynamic mix. This process took awhile since everybody was doing this pro bono because they really liked the film. We’re both very grateful for that, it’s what helped elevate it to the next level.
From concept to completion it took us about 2 years. We shot several days over summer 2015. The post process, as I mentioned, took awhile as everyone was working on their off time. It was worth the wait though.