The moments of stillness are perhaps what best defines the film. They are brief, delivered often as silent vignettes or as murmured, unrehearsed lines. Other moments of calm are soundtracked by artists like the Nigerian legend Mamman Sani, producer and DJ Vegyn, and London-based Grime MC Novelist. Yet there’s a duality to the film’s score, where the sludge-rock sounds of King Krule, syncopated breakbeats of group SL2 and high-energy motorik rhythms of Mount Kimbie frame the skaters’ explosive tricks.
The INSIDE OUT Carhartt WIP Radio show deconstructs the soundtrack and reimagines it in an entirely new sequence, as an arc with a rise, peak and fall, peppered with skate sounds and dialogue from the film.
To accompany the show we spoke to Joaquim Bayle, the Paris-based director and photographer who shared some insights about the making of INSIDE OUT, such as the paradox of preparing for improvisation, and wanting the film’s soundtrack “to feel like a skate session: messy overall, but well put-together at the same time.”
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got into directing?
Joaquim Bayle: I'm from the north of France where I spent my childhood being obsessed with skateboarding. This led to me filming my friends as they skated, doing some personal projects and eventually, commissions within the skateboarding industry. Later in 2005, I started Öctagon, a skate hardware company, with two friends, and took care of all its creative aspects, including video content. More than wanting to create a brand, I wanted to create things that had a special tone or atmosphere to them, while also adding my personal vision. Then I started being commissioned as a director for advertising projects through agencies and production companies. Coming from the skate world to this was challenging, but it opened me up to a whole new field of creativity.
Has filmmaking always been a strong part of your artistic vision?
Joaquim Bayle: I didn’t really have a desire to do what I'm doing today because I didn’t think it even existed as a career. But during my childhood, I remember always being driven by visuals. I guess skateboarding was an outlet for me to try stuff without any prior knowledge of the industry standard. At first it was bad but fun, because I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. There’s something that skateboarding and filmmaking have in common at their core, this aspect of “trying” or “playing” in order to create something. I’ve always found that interesting.
There’s something that skateboarding and filmmaking have in common at their core, this aspect of “trying” or “playing” in order to create something.
Is INSIDE OUT based on a script or is it all improvised?
Joaquim Bayle: No, there wasn’t a script, more notes which I wrote during the project to articulate the direction and nuances I wanted to take with the video. It sounds contradictory, but it’s about preparing for improvisation. Making sure I’m mentally prepared with the Director of Photography, in order to seek out the special moments which will eventually guide the edit.
What did you set out to achieve when making this film?
Joaquim Bayle: Even though nowadays I’m inspired by many things other than skateboarding, I wanted to capture the feeling I had when watching the skate video that first inspired me. But I wanted to challenge the visual language used in many classic skate videos, and try to incorporate different feelings within its details.
Did you choose the riders and what made them special?
Joaquim Bayle: When planning the film over two and a half years ago with Joseph Biais, the skateboarding brand manager at Carhartt WIP, our intention was to have the Carhartt WIP skate team as the main focus, with each individual rider shining within the mix. We wanted to highlight the team’s different spirits, their lives and their individual approaches to skateboarding. I found something really chaotic and poetic in Pietro Tirelli; something graceful and mysterious in Ibu Sanyang; I was in awe of what makes Felipé Bartolomé so talented. But I think what makes them all really special is their ability to live life in the present and to its fullest.
How important are the scenes in the film beyond the skating?
Joaquim Bayle: There is still something unconventional about skateboarding, so I like to set it against glimpses of life in different urban environments — like the scenes showing random people on the streets or depicting the children's playground, for instance — so that you see pedestrians from the skater’s point of view. I use these as moments of reflection on skateboarding’s meaning within the society.
Was it only possible to shoot INSIDE OUT in urban environments?
Joaquim Bayle: Needless to say, with the city as the background of the video, it informed a lot of the interactions between individual skaters and within the group. What really mattered to me though was to be as close as possible to the group, to feel their passion.
The scenes showing random people on the streets are moments of reflection on skateboarding’s meaning within the society.
How did you put the soundtrack together for the film?
Joaquim Bayle: Simultaneously having something sweet and chaotic was my starting point for the tone. I wanted the soundtrack of the video to feel like a skate session: messy overall but well put-together at the same time, like a skate trick that finally lands after hours of tries. I was also looking to have songs with low-key, gritty textures to enhance how experimental skateboarding can be.
Did you have a specific story arc in mind when editing the film?
Joaquim Bayle: If I wanted to approach it as a short film and do something fictional, it would have affected the skateboarding side of the video. The intention was to not put a stamp on the content, in order to experience the skating properly. I actually avoided any sense of structure and chapters, so the viewer could feel fully immersed. My only rule was to stop editing when it started to feel too schematic.
How important was Angelo Marques, the cinematographer, for the project?
Joaquim Bayle: Angelo is a really good friend of mine. I do most of my projects with him, he’s my go-to cinematographer. We have a way of working together which is quite intense. We’re the same on many things, and we push each other to always question ourselves and do better. Both of us are perfectionists. Angelo doesn’t skate but he is really familiar with the skateboarding world so this was a fun one to do together.
The video has premiered in different venues all over the world. How has the response been?
Joaquim Bayle: It feels great to have the opportunity to have the film screened in different, well-curated theaters over the world. I'm glad people are responding well to it. People seem to have been waiting to see a skate video like this.
Lastly, what are your favorite film directors (fiction or documentary)?