Every sport has its mavericks; the renegades, those willing to go beyond what is expected and, in doing so, elevate their chosen discipline to new heights. The Moment casts a microscope (camera) over the formative years of freeride mountain biking and seeks to unravel how a rag-tag bunch of bike riders from a pocket of British Columbia managed to influence an entire industry.
Directed by Darcy Turenne, BC native and former professional freerider turned filmmaker, The Moment opens in 1994 and traces the lineage of freeride mountain biking from its inception; providing a chronological exploration of the rise of the sport right through to its enduring impact on mountain biking in 2018.
“We’d all be high fiving, laughing, smoking pot like crazy and going riding”
The main protagonist of Turenne’s tale is Christian Bejin, the enigmatic director behind the Kranked series. In a time when racing was the dominant force in mountain biking and lycra-clad competitors south of the border ruled the scene, Bejin’s work behind the camera helped charter a new course, a course that unfolded on the gravel-pits of Kamloops and within the misty playgrounds of the North-Shore.
Featuring the likes of Tippie, Simmons, Schley and co, The Moment documents how this unlikely crew rallied against an industry that saw their antics as little more than a circus show. The film reveals how ground-breaking riding coupled with the effort and passion of characters such as Sterling Lawrence, the venerable ‘Bike Magazine’ and Rocky Mountain bicycles, were able to legitimise freeride as more than just a distraction from racing and in turn cement themselves as stalwarts of the sport.
“So not only is our footage controversial and mind-blowing, but we’re just a freak show, walking around with a freaking TV and VCR”
The film also touches upon a little-discussed and often overlooked topic from the time, a topic particularly pertinent in a post-CTE society. it delicately recounts the tragic story of Dave Swetland, with those who knew him best sharing how a charismatic and talented rider came to pass away, many believing as a direct consequence of repeat concussions. A solemn reminder that the vanguards of our sport pushed the boundaries without the equipment we take for granted today.
Effortlessly blending raw, 90s film footage with present-day interviews, Turenne has created a documentary of real authenticity, providing a fascinating insight into an indelible chapter of mountain biking history. The Moment feels like a film made by riders, for riders.
If freeride is the sport that no one wanted, The Moment is the film that no one knew they wanted.