Gravel Culture: On gravel

Posted By Gravel Union On 27 May 2021

We’re huge fans of beautiful cinematography at Gravel Union so when a new gravel film from Belgium dropped into our inbox, we wanted to share it with you straight away.

When you work as a commercial filmmaker, a lot of the jobs you accept have rigid constraints given to you by your client. Most clients dictate (or at least have a good idea of) how they want the finished film to look, a storyline, what graphics they want you to use, even what the soundtrack needs to be. This is all great and it obviously pays the bills, but it can feel like your creativity is being stifled at times.

It’s for this reason that many filmmakers run ‘passion projects’ on the side. It might seem crazy to spend your free time doing the same thing you do for work, but the ability for you to be the master of your own destiny and to produce something you love rather than something that fulfils a demanding (and often changing) client’s brief is something that’s surprisingly common among the filmmakers that we know.

When an email came in from Bruno at Soulframes, a filmmaking company based in Leuven, Belgium asking if we would be interested in seeing the first of a series of gravel films they are putting together, we obviously jumped at the chance. We chatted with Bruno to get a bit of behind-the-scenes knowledge on their project and this is what he told us.

“Over Gravel” is the first episode of our passion project “On Gravel” - a series of videos about people who have a great passing for gravel biking. The main character, Bart Houben, is a local gravelleur from Leuven who started building his own bike wheels a few years ago. The ‘On Gravel’ video series are a cinematic search for the soul of gravel biking, but without taking ourselves too seriously. It’s not a spiritual quest or something like that. These films had to show to fun, action, camaraderie and humor of gravel biking.”

Bruno continues “Gravel biking is hot in Belgium. It’s the new thing. And we have to admit, we’re stoked about it too. So, when the idea of a new passion project came up, we chose gravel as the main topic. Not because we’re also in our midlife crisis (ok maybe, a bit), but because we love discovering new places, meeting new people and riding cool bikes. And for some of us, it was the perfect excuse to buy a new one!”

“The human approach plays an important role in these videos. We chose charismatic people who are passionate about gravel and have a positive philosophy of life. In a way, you can state that the primary goal was to create a unique portrait of our main characters. The secondary goal was to share their vision about gravel biking. You can ride your gravel bike literally everywhere. That’s why we decided not to take it too far and to start locally, with gravelleurs from our city, Leuven. We may not have endless gravel roads in breathtaking sceneries, but we have lots of great people with good stories.“

We’ll keep in touch with Bruno and will post other films from their On Gravel series later in the year.

If you’d like to see more of SoulFrames’ work, check out their website here. If you’d like to find out more about Bart Houben, the wheelbuilder featured in the film, check out his Insta profile here

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