Kilian Martin: Altered Route

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 15 June 2012
Category: Reviews Comments View Comments


Freestyle urban skater Kilian Martin once again demonstrates his skills with the help of a talented director, an atmospheric location, and high-speed photography slowed down to highlight every nuanced move.

Kilian Martin: Altered RouteLast year we reviewed a short film, the third in a series by filmmaker Brett Novak, that featured freestyle skateboarder Kilian Martin. They have teamed up once again, with the aid of Mercedes-Benz, to make a fourth short, Kilian Martin: Altered Route.

The pair, along with Phantom camera operators Brandon Baldwin and Darren Dyk, travelled to an abandoned water park in the Mojave Desert to work on the latest film (with a 1980's Mercedes-Benz 450 SL from Mercedes-Benz USA Classic Center in Irvine, California in tow, which you can see in the beginning of the short).

Kilian Martin: Altered Route

The water park has quite a history, having first been opened in the 1960s as Lake Dolores Waterpark before closing in the 1980s as the public lost interest. It opened again in 1990 as the Rock–A–Hoola Waterpark, then closed in 2000 due to bankruptcy, then opened for a third time in 2002 as Discovery Waterpark before dying its final death in 2004. Attractions and physical assets were sold and more recently the place has been vandalised, resulting in a decayed space that's perfect for photographers and skateboarders. (Brett Novak and Kilian Martin are not the first to have experimented at the park.)

The editing and filmmaking is as tight as the previous short, Kilian Martin: A Skate Illustration, but the general feel is more subdued, aided by the soundtrack, "Adventures In Your Own Backyard" by four-piece band Canadian Patrick Watson, which has an old-West feel to it that is echoed in the visual narrative, especially in the beginning of the short (this one tells more of a story than the previous one). Visual cuts and camera movement are also well matched to the ebb and flow of the track.

Kilian Martin: Altered Route

There are no visually overpowering "killer moves" by Kilian Martin on the skateboard(s) but if you've watched the previous shorts you'll see there's a subtle evolution of some of his techniques and tricks, and they really are incredibly impressive and require repeat viewing to appreciate fully. There's a Zen-like quality to some of the skateboard spins (it almost feels like a dance) and the way the camerawork frames them, especially towards the end of the short as night falls.

The team was at the park for a few days, practicing and perfecting both moves and shots before committing the final acts to film, and it shows in the quality of the work. This time there's less emphasis on colour and architecture to tie elements together and more emphasis on atmosphere. Key moments are played back in slow motion due to the high-speed Phantom cameras, giving us the chance to marvel at the techniques and skill employed without having to play-pause-rewind all the time to try and catch what has happened. Occasionally old footage taken at the park merges into its modern-day equivalent, filmed at the same angle, offering us a taste of what it once was and what it has now become, while Kilian Martin skates through the echoes of the past.

Once again we've been enthralled by an excellent piece of filmmaking by Brett Novak with visuals and a nuanced sentiment that linger in one's mind. I'm definitely looking forward to the next instalment in the series.

Watch the video below or click here to see the previous videos in the series.

Tags: #screen, #skateboarding, #watch

Watch Online Watch Online: Kilian Martin: Altered Route (2012)

Vimeo link

Click here to see the previous videos in the series. Opinion: Kilian Martin: Altered Route (2012)
Rating: 7/10

Key Facts: Kilian Martin: Altered Route (2012)
Year: 2012 (29 May 2012)
Running Time: 00:04:18
Genres: Documentary, Sports
Director/Camera/Editor: Brett Novak
Skateboarder: Kilian Martin
Music: "Adventures in Your Own Backyard" by Patrick Watson
Sponsor: mb! by Mercedes-Benz
Phantom Camera Operation: Brandon Baldwin and Darren Dyk

On The Internet
Kilian Martin: A Skate Escalation (2010): Watch Online Streaming Video YouTube | IMDb
Kilian Martin: A Skate Regeneration (2010): Watch Online Streaming Video YouTube | IMDb
Kilian Martin: A Skate Illustration (2011): Watch Online Streaming Video YouTube
Kilian Martin: Altered Route (2012): Watch Online Streaming Video Vimeo
Brett Novak: Official Site | Facebook | YouTube
Patrick Watson: Official Site | Facebook | MySpace | Twitter
Brandon Baldwin And Darren Dyk: YouTube

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