Patagonia has a 46-year history championing environmental causes and leading the way on corporate social responsibility. Their activist-led videos have also set the standard for creative, deeply felt brand stories, capturing their brand ethos while simultaneously inspiring change.
Today, we’re thrilled to partner with Patagonia for the exclusive premiere of their latest film, “Life of Pie.” The film tells the story of Jen Zeuner and Anne Keller, two mountain bikers on a mission to reshape their conservative community through advocacy —and pizza.
“Life of Pie” was directed by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, the founders of Colorado-based production company Felt Soul Media. They’re also the creators behind the iconic Staff Pick “Denali,” among many others. In honor of today’s release, we reached out to Ben to learn how the film came together. Here’s what he had to say.
On what inspired “Life of Pie”:
“Our buds at Patagonia put out a call for bike-related stories. That gave me the motivation to think about the people in my life whose worlds are rooted around bicycles. Anne and Jen came to mind immediately; their story has so much more depth than the usual mountain bike adventure.”
On meeting Anne and Jen:
“I met Anne and Jen almost a decade ago when they first opened the Hot Tomato. We bonded pretty quickly over bikes. Anne was just starting to shoot still assignments for Bike Magazine (when she wasn’t being a pizza crust scientist). She was my hero.”
On how the film came together:
“Going into it, we already had a strong sense of Jen and Anne’s style and values, so we at least knew what we hoped to capture. What we didn’t know was how incredibly endearing and loyal their staff would be. That was a beautiful surprise during the shoot and made the giggle factor pretty high in the edit.”
On working with Patagonia:
“We try to never miss a chance to work with Patagonia, honestly. They’re a dream client in a lot of ways because they trust us and have faith that we’ll always pull off something that doesn’t suck. They’re still a privately held company (thank goodness), so we’re able to be a little more bold with the themes and messaging. Patagonia isn’t afraid to take chances with their films. It’s always an honor for us.”
On the challenges of making “Life of Pie”:
“The first biggest challenge was making the call in editing to let Jen Zeuner’s interview drive the narrative. Anne was super articulate and passionate in her interview, but Jen brought the energy the piece needed. I was worried sick about bumming them out, but they were very understanding. I’d have to say the second biggest challenge was trying to figure out what to eat on Monday and Tuesday when the Hot Tomato is closed. We tried to stock up on leftover pies, but occasionally, we ran low. It was distressing.”
On advice for aspiring filmmakers:
“A person’s time might be the most valuable thing in the world. It’s our responsibility not to waste it on a crappy film. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously. Take the work seriously.”
On the meaning of a Vimeo Staff Pick:
“Sometimes when you share something you’re proud of and worked your face off on, not everyone quite gets it (and I’d never expect them to). You know, like that awkward half-hearted clap at a film festival when you can tell the audience is just hoping to go pee before you see them purposefully ditch your Q&A. But then there’s that one person who patiently stays after the film just to shake your hand, say thank you, and let you know how much it meant to them. That’s the feeling a Vimeo Staff Pick gives me. It’s a warm nod of appreciation from someone who sees that you put a lot of care into this thing, and who recognizes it as something special. In my world, there are few things more meaningful.”