Brittown – The Interview

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Brittown, the coolest biking documentary to come out of the USA in the last few years, is now available via the Brittown website (www.brittown).

To celebrate the release, South Coast Biker has typed up an interview with the makers plus there are a few more pics from the film.

The film explores the life of Britbike mechanic “Meatball” as he runs his BSA bike in various races and plays with his band “Smiling Face Down”.

Made by Zack Coffman and Scott Dilalla, who made the great “Choppertown” documentary a few years back, the film will amuse, entertain and inspire bikers of all types.

Below is an interview with the makers:

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About Meatball: How did you (One World, Scott, yourself) come to know, or learn aboutMeatball?

Scott Di Lalla: The first time Zack and I actually heard anyone utter the name “Meatball” was during one of our Choppertown shoots. While we were shooting Sinners member Dustin working on his Triumph, he was explaining to us how he just picked his new carburetors up from this guy named Meatball.

Afterwards Zack and I asked Dustin who this guy Meatball was. He said with a serious tone that Meatball was basically one of the best British motorcycle mechanics this life had to offer.

Dustin went on telling us how Meatball worked on his motor and that he builds some of the fastest and cleanest motors around.

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What was the single most compelling reason you choose to chronicle this person’s life?

Zack Coffman: After meeting him for the first time Scott and I both knew he was our guy. His understated nature makes you want to get to know him further, his love and passion for vintage motorcycles could inspire those who don’t even ride and the warmth he exudes just makes you want to be his friend.

It’s refreshing to see that Meatball’s love for motorcycles doesn’t falter when he closes his shop at the end of the day; he lives and breathes it in every aspect of his life.

About the movie Brittown:

Was there one aspect of making the film that you found particularly difficult, i.e. filming riding scenes, getting people to be on film(shyness, etc.), gaining physical access to something or place, etc..? Basically, logistical issues as opposed to, say, issues with pre- orpost-production.

Scott: For Zack and me, shooting the riding scenes are always challenging; though in retrospect very amusing.
Imagine driving on a freeway somewhere in Southern California and you are approaching a handful of bikes trailing behind or in front of an old, slightly beat-up, ‘84 diesel guzzling Benz…suddenly a person pops out of the sunroof of the Benz with a shoulder mounted camera.

In those short moments when I’m able to divert my attention away from the camera, it’s fun to see the drivers’ reactions in the midst of all this mayhem. It’s that spontaneity that makes these riding scenes work.

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Most times the riding shots go well as long as we don’t run into that bored and curious CHP officer. Other than a few bruises and the difficult task of communicating with Zack through the wind, it all pays off in the end. Full speed riding is kind of a trademark of ours, we like to capture scenes that are real even if we have to take a few risks.

Zack: When you shoot real people doing what they do, it’s definitely a challenge making them feel comfortable. We like the stories and the characters to unfold at a natural pace; this can happen right away or it can take time.You have to be very patient and sensitive when it comes to capturing someone’s life.

A lot of “reality” films these days are all about exhibitionism; our movies are about a small piece of someone’s life. “Brittown” is Meatball’s slice.

When can people expect to see the film? On DVD, theaters, festivals,etc?

Zack: As we field offers from distributors and consider plans for a world tour of the film, we’re moving forward immediately with our plan of releasing a special edition of the DVD directly to our core audience through our websites http://www.brittown.com and http://www.choppertown.com.

About One World/Zack/Scott:

This is the second “biker” film from One World, correct? Why has One World chosen two, somewhat similar premises for movies about certain aspects of motorcycling culture?

Scott: The simplest answer is we love bikes and the culture surrounding them. I’ve been into motorcycles since I was able to talk. I remember every time a bike appeared in a movie it would pique my interest.

It’s been a long time since someone made a good motorcycle movie that captured the spirit and the life style like “On Any Sunday”, “Easy Rider” and “The Wild One.”Zack and I were bouncing ideas off each other as far back as 98’, but it wasn’t easy turning our ideas into a real movie.

When choppers and custom bikes broke into the spotlight on TV, we knew it was time to buckle down and get moving. I couldn’t relate to a $100,000 show bike that never sees over a mile of road.

My first bike was a 71’ Harley, $1000 and it didn’t run. Now that was exciting! We wanted to make a film about that kind of excitement, about the regular Joe building a bike in his back yard or in his humble shop. A bike built to ride and ride hard. It was time to recapture the spirit of motorcycling in a movie.

Zack: Although Choppertown and Brittown are similar in theme, they are still different enough for the two to stand on their own.

Both films compliment each other and will inspire any enthusiast who isn’t afraid to get a little grease under their fingernails, whether he/she rides a Harley, Triumph or Sportbike.

The exciting new component Brittown offers is racing. Meatball loves vintage racing and the film follows him (literally) onto the dirt, motocross and road racing tracks. Meatball loves to go fast but more importantly he plain- and- simple just loves to ride.

What, if any, future projects does One World have that may be related to motorcycling, or any motorsport for that matter?

Zack: We’re developing several projects right now, both in and out of the motorsport worlds, but the first will be a follow-up to Brittown about a hand-built bobber that the Brittown motor goes into…

Are Scott and yourself active in motorcycling (daily commuter, ride every weekend, build/restore bikes, race, etc.)?

Scott: Motorcycles have always been a hobby of mine. I love working on bikes and riding them and I’ve rebuilt a few motors in the past. In my early teens I would pull apart my dirt bikes, including the motor, and restore everything back to new.

These days I’m more interested in learning fabricating and welding. I’ve been learning a lot from my good friend Earl at Earl’s Cycleart. Earl is like the Van Gogh of British bobbers.

Zack: I actually learned to ride about five years ago. We were getting very serious about putting together a bike project and I refused to write about anything that I couldn’t at least do at an amateur level…so I joined the MSF and took the course.

It was pretty nerve-wracking to try and pick it up at 31 years of age and I’d never done any other kind of riding as a kid…I remember the first day one guy got throttle fright and plowed his 250cc training bike into a parking barrier!

I have a habit of picking things up and I don’t let go until I achieve my goal so I finally passed the course and got my license. Now I ride fairly often and especially enjoy the camaraderie of riding with buddies.

How many, if any, motorcycles do you and Scott own, and can you give us ashort glimpse of those bikes?

Scott: I have a ‘69 bobber style Triumph and a ‘71 café style Triumph, and both are under construction.

For a few years now I’ve been riding a 1984 Honda Nighthawk. Not pretty but very reliable. Zack has a super clean café style ‘76 cb750 F. I love that bike. Even though we both enjoy riding we wish had a little more free time to do it.

What brought both of you together to form One World (the film company)?

Scott: We are both originally from NY; but we met here on the west coast through the UCLA Tae Kwon Do Club in ‘93. In 1992 I moved out to LA and had been teaching the Club and at the time Zack was training and studying abroad in Korea. We met the following year after he returned.

He heard a rumor some Italian guy from NY has taken over the club and he wanted to see what was up. We got along great right from the start and since he also had a black belt we teamed up to run the club.

Eventually it was not only bigger and better than it ever was before but it was very competitive as a collegiate team.I guess you can say that was our first venture together as friends and colleagues.

Zack and Scott are hoping to head over to the UK for some talks and screenings. We’ll keep you posted.

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