Sweetgrass Productions has raised the bar yet again with their latest adventure film, Darklight. Shot almost entirely at night, it's a surrealistic take on mountain biking in the midnight hour. "We flipped our clocks during filming," says executive producer Zac Ramras. "We would wake up at 4 p.m. and start filming at 1 a.m. It required constant communication."
Shot in 4K in collaboration with Phillips TV over three weeks, Darklight utilizes the stark landscapes of Utah and the forests of the Pacific Northwest to create a study of contrasts. Mesa's are bathed in multicolored hues, and the trees shimmer in chromatic chaos as riders rip down trails and mountainsides. Much like last year's collaboration Afterglow (night skiing with a similar flair), the new film takes LED lighting technology designed for TVs and incorporates it into something unthought of: the bikes of professional riders Graham Agassiz, Matt Hunter, and Matty Miles. All three are known for big air and big tricks. Agassiz took bronze in 2015's Red Bull Rampage, but riding at night was something new. "They were a bit nervous, but we had over 178 lighting fixtures set up, plus a couple that put out 9,000 watts. They could see, but it was different than anything else they had ever done," says Ramras. "The only injury we had was that Hunter got bit by a rattle snake."