Matteo Maggi is an Italian born filmmaker, now residing in Helsinki, Finland. He just finished his latest project, Siberia Teaches, an urban snowboard film about four friends traveling across Siberia during one of the coldest winters. Being a relatively un-traveled destination, Matteo and his crew ended up finding out what a beautiful place this unknown country really is.
What is your background in filmmaking? How did you get started? What kind of projects have you worked on in the past?
I started as a graphic designer who was in love with snowboarding. Then year after year, I started to film and edit, I was having more fun than making a web pages. I have been mostly making snowboard movies and as my equipment started to become more professional, I also did some music videos.
Why did you decide to go to Siberia for this film?
Doing a snowboard movie, you always have the feeling that you need to do something different, something that nobody has done before. And I guess I felt that nobody of the big snowboard video productions have ever been there, so we decided to get into this adventure.
What were your expectations prior to going to Siberia? What did you find to be true once you got there? How did your view of Siberia change? And what did Siberia teach you?
When we left that morning from Helsinki we were very scared. I think I was more than anybody else, as I had to film a documentary and come back alive with the material with me. I didn’t really feel that I had many chances to make it.
Then day by day we realized that it was all in our head. Siberia wasn’t dangerous at all, it is just very different. We just met open-hearted people who did everything they could to help us. Siberia taught me to kill the prejudices, because I had the best experience of my life. Every day was special. I think everybody should jump on that train.
Did you have any noteworthy experiences while in Siberia?
It’s very difficult to pick one, we met crazy people, beautiful girls, criminals and Russian cops (I don’t know which one I would rather meet). We had been filming at -45 degrees, riding dog sledges in the taiga. It was all beautiful in his own way.
Your film focuses on more of an urban approach to snowboarding. What does urban snowboarding entail? Would you say this more of a skateboarder’s approach to snowboarding?
It’s totally a skateboard approach. I felt it was the best way to travel and get to know the culture, as we have been hanging 80% of the time in the streets of the cities instead to go for mountains.
Seems the creativity factor increases when you are not snowboarding on a mountain. How is the process different shooting in an urban setting? What kinds of things do you look for to shoot? Did you find that people were interested in what you guys were doing?
We were expecting a lot of complaints from the people. Instead everybody we met was very excited and interested in what we were doing. I love to film street spots. Every spot you can play with different colors, camera moves, lines. It feels a bit more creative than shooting powder, but I understand how beautiful that is as well.
When is the film going to be released? How will people be able to see it?
We don’t know it yet. The documentary has two different cuts: 1 documentary of 60 minutes, or 3 episodes of 22 minutes each.
In a month the documentary will be sold all over the globe, so I guess the best way to know where and when is going to be shown is to join the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/siberiateaches where we will give releasing dates and countries where the documentary will be aired.
For more about Matteo, the film, and more, be sure to check out: