Behind the scenes: Filmmaker Tal Skloot

Who isn't curious about what happens behind the scenes while making a film?

Our third 'sneak peak' installment rolls along with Tal Skloot, the wizard behind the curtain of 4 Wheel Bob, which will be shown on Saturday, April 22, at 3:15 pm, in the Roxie.

4 Wheel Bob follows Bob Coomber and his wheelchair as he makes history and crosses the Kearsarge Pass in the Sierra Nevada, and climbs to 11,845 feet.

Coomber has been wheelchair bound for years and suffered from a number of health challenges, but none of these have stopped him. Indeed, it was Bob’s determination and his motto of "no excuses" that led to an obsession with wheelchair hiking as a way to gain his health back.

The difficulties of filming in such challenging surroundings are many, but Tal Skloot and his team bring us face to face with extraordinary courage, extreme athleticism, and spectacular scenery.



Our first question is: What inspired you to become a filmmaker? 

"My father was an assistant director on feature films in the 70's (Godfather, Love Story, Live and Let Die).unnamed-1.jpg

I was on the set as a kid and I think that hooked me - watching a boat fly over a road in Live and Let Die at an early age.  

I always loved the storytelling element of filmmaking.

In high and college I made short Super8 narrative and observational documentaries.

For example at UCSC, I made a short about a banana slug making a slow journey across the forrest floor and meeting a fast moving spider.

I suppose it was really the freedom of creative expression that captured my imagination."

What does storytelling look like in 2017?

"Storytelling seems alive and well in my book.

In addition to making films, I also teach filmmaking, and I'm constantly amazed by the creativity and new ideas  students present in their short films.

With all the advances in filmmaking technology it's easier than ever to make films.
However, it's always about storytelling and it seems we haven't lost sight of that.  
4 Wheel Bob  benefits from the fact that it really is a simple, straight forward story.
Through this story, we see that Bob's Sierra climbs served two powerful needs for him: to attempt to conquer virtually any obstacle despite his disability, and to open himself to the natural world and its mysterious ability to heal."


What is your favorite piece of film equipment?

"It's quite amazing what can be done with Go Pros and drones.

Up in the Sierra mountains we captured footage and camera angles that would never have been possible in the past without a large crew and budget."



Find out more about the 2017 Green Film Fest, which takes place at the Castro Theatre, Roxie, and venues across the city. 

 Photos: Ezra Shaw