Jill Kintner's a long time Stan's athlete, World Champion, Olympic Medalist, and multi-time Queen of Crankworx winner. She can now add film maker to her list of accolades. Her latest project, Bandit Hill, has been in the works for over three years. Bandit Hill is a hybrid live-action/animation short film that combines Jill's love of cycling, drawing, and simply being creative. The film was produced by Red Bull and helps bring all of her Mind Maintenance projects to life. We caught up with Jill to take a deeper dive into what her creative process looks like.
Stan's NoTubes: So Jill, you've accomplished nearly everything possible on a bike. What led you to want to tackle a project like creating your own animated short film?
Jill Kintner: That is a good question, and I think having lofty goals mixed with creativity is essential for personal growth. A few years ago, Josh Bryceland launched a video called "A Trip on the Bronson," which captivated my imagination. I instantly loved the style of infusing animated characters into the storyline of a ride video and wanted to try it with my helmet artwork. Blending 2D animation into reality had unlimited potential to showcase my two passions, so we made the pitch, got the right team together, started drawing, and Red Bull brought Bandit Hill to life in the most incredible way.
SNT: Your past creative projects include custom painted frames, children's coloring book pages, and renderings of your van. After you share your sketches, how much back-and-forth is usually required to make one of these projects come to life? Does it usually take meetings and multiple revisions to bring a project across the finish line?
JK: Yeah, art is a great way to connect and share ideas. I have always been more of a visual communicator, so having the opportunity to host creativity contests and give people a mindful activity during a challenging time, felt good! There are so many talented biker artists out there who just needed a little jumpstart! Of course, I mixed in a few Bandit Hill references in my templates to get people familiar with what was yet to come.
There were many layers in making this project a reality for the actual movie. Once we heard Lacy Kemp's written words, I had chills and LOVED the story so much. That pairing turned my flat 2D drawings into an adventure oozing with personality, highs, lows, and it was easy to visualize the action unfold with each stanza.
Drawing out the storyboards and developing the characters from all their angles was a little more complicated. I recruited Cat Morley, my pal/design hero, and we drew for hours, bouncing ideas back and forth, sketching, etc. It's good to have help getting started, as I wasn't that confident with my illustrations in the beginning. So with our combined powers, we were able to map out the story for the rest of the team and piece together an animatic to start filming.
There were quite a few jobs (which were all fun): scouting trail, storyboarding, character sheets, set design, custom kit, custom bike, action, and direction for Owen (our animator at The 2D workshop), redraws, backgrounds, and of course the riding. An insane amount of work went into this project, and at the heart of it was our Director, Scotty Carlson. He is an absolute gem to work with, got the best out of everyone, and put an unbelievable amount of time, energy, thought, creativity, love, and patience into this piece. It was a massive labor of love for all of us involved, and I think it shows.
SNT: Can you provide any insight into how many people, different agencies, and even hours went into the finished Bandit Hill video?
JK: On the production side of things, there were 8 of us, but behind-the-scenes and at Red Bull, it took many more people to make it happen. Hours spent? I wasn't counting and wouldn't even know how to calculate that between pre-production, the actual shoot, post-production, animation, etc. Let's say it took an astonishing amount of time but was worth it!
SNT: This project took over three years to complete. What was your biggest takeaway from the entire process? Looking back, is there anything that you would do differently?
JK: Yeah, we had this project ready earlier, but the release of the project took longer to figure out.
There were so many takeaways and different stages of emotion throughout the process, kind of hard to choose, hmm. Like any big challenge, you appreciate it more when reflecting on it. The most valuable part now had to be the time spent collaborating ideas with our crew. I miss that a lot, and this project is the cumulated talent of several, not just my own. Talking with Scotty every day to go over revisions was priceless. Having support and great people around you usually leads to success, which would be my main takeaway.
SNT: Looking back, is there anything that you would do differently?
JK: Other than launching in person? Not really. Bringing Bandit Hill to life was an incredible experience, and being able to ride in my imaginary hand-drawn world with my favorite little critters is surreal! I am proud of this piece and hope people enjoy it, pass it on, and find a little spark of creativity within themselves to dream big and tackle crazy ideas.