South By Scooter
South By Scooter follows an ambitious young man as he attempts to mount an expedition to the South Pole entirely within the spare room of his house.The short film playfully conjures an epic account of exploration and adventure from meticulously handmade felt props, a cascade of endearing set pieces and the continually surprising experiences of an adventurer determined to realise his dream of polar glory. Using only the tools that he has at hand, and a whole lot of imagination, our hero sets out into the unknown.
South By Scooter features enthusiastically handmade felt props and costumes, and emphasises the value of play in achieving life ambitions and desires, no matter the age of the viewer.
The idea for South By Scooter arrived with a discarded little scooter on the side of the road. Whilst I was struggling to ride it up a hill it occurred to me just how difficult it would be to ride one across the Antarctic ice to the South Pole. Like many, I have always wanted to go to the South Pole and I quickly saw making this film as an opportunity to do just that.
The premise of riding a scooter to the pole is absurd - and probably impossible. If you stop at any point during the film and ask ‘Why? Why is this young man trying to ride a scooter to the South Pole? And why is he doing it inside his house!?’ I suppose the answer is because he really really wants to go. This is where I see the beauty in South By Scooter; the lengths to which our hero has gone so that he can play out his absurd fantasy. The hope is that his spirit is transferable to you and whatever fantasy you may have, so that you can come along for the ride and play out your own desires.
I chose to encourage our hero’s fantasy by constructing all of the props and costumes out of felt, and by pairing back the Antarctica set to it’s most minimal possible elements - just a white wall, a sheet, and a skirting board - to highlight how little is necessary to spark playful make-believe, and to spark the same feeling in the viewers.
In many ways the scooting-man’s adventure mirrors my experiences making this film. I delighted in the whole process, and approached it determined to make something bigger than I’d ever made before. I made each aspect of South By Scooter myself, including the props, costumes, music and everything else. I wanted to make a rough and ready little epic, a film that tells a large scale story in a charming and humorously handmade way.
I hope you enjoy it.
- South By Scooter on YouTube, Vimeo.
- Six Burning Questions for Max Piantoni. A Sunday Age feature on South By Scooter. See also: the online version.
- An in-depth interview about the making of South By Scooter on Cinema Australia.
- Making South By Scooter, an in-progress series of articles covering every aspect of how I made South By Scooter.
- 'Max The Artist' a short film by Emmett Redding that documents my major projects - including South By Scooter.
- Some photographs from the premiere screening: Gallery 1, Gallery 2.
- Jesse Dyer's photographs from the premiere screening.
- The London Film Review has some good things to say about South By Scooter.
- Video: C31 Interviews Max about South By Scooter
- South By Scooter in the Progress Leader.
- Listen to a radio interview on 3CR's On Screen about South By Scooter.
Click here to download the South By Scooter Press Kit. The kit includes:
- Technical Details.
- Director's Notes.
- Director's Bio.
- Production Notes and Anecdotes.
- Production Credits.
- Some film stills.