North and South America
We spoke briefly with Ben Brillante. He is an excellent videomaker, and the other athlete from the famous “bombing down the saltmine” video. Of course all eyes in this video are on Greg Mirzoyan, but the man behind the camera is going just as fast… Don’t forget that. Apart from his video making skills Ben is an excellent freeskater and huge fan of the Rollerblade® Twister skate.
Q. Ben how did you start skating? A. I started to skate in July 1998. My brother had a pair of quad skates for his birthday and I remember me trying his gift and loving it immediately. 17 years later, I’m still skating while he already stopped after a couple of months! My first “steps” on quad skates were terrible! I banged at all the walls of the corridor of my parents’ house. Every inch on my skates was a huge struggle, I did not want fall. After the corridor, I skated on the terrace and reached the end of the street, and the next street, and the next village… At a certain moment, about a year later, I got the hang of it and started to feel secure on my quadskates :-) After 3 years, and 3 or 4 pairs of quad skates, I tried inline skates. My first pair of skates was the orange Tecnica Twister skates (at the beginning, the Twister was built by Tecnica, not Rollerblade). This old Twister was very far from the actual design; a very bad frame, no cuff and… orange!! This Twister skate did not stick to my vision of a good inline skate. I started to midify this skate very fast. I added a cuff, changed the frame for a Hockey style one. It was my best skate ever. You can see this skate in my first video of 2001 “Ride on Babylon”.
Q. So you are a fan of the Twister skate since the start, how did you erperience the evolution of this model? A. I tried many skates during my life, not one is like the Twister. It’s simple (no fancy useless carbon material), solid and durable. The fit is tight but comfortable; it’s light and has a good design! For me everything a skate needs is incorporated in the Twister. If you want to spend a lot of money on a fashionable skates, go ahead and do it. But for me the perfect skate never lets me down, I skate hard on my pair and try every possible urban trick. I don’t do it all by myself, I do it together with my Twister skates. I still have all my pairs at home and I always can skate with them. I changed some parts on the older models, personal taste and playing around. But since a couple of years i skate the Rollerblade® Twister directly as they come. Rollerblade® made big improvements on the skates these last years. The first Twister came without cuff, they added one, the old frame was terrible, now it’s a very solid one, the liner material is now very durable, etc… Like they did it for me! My current skate is the Twister 2015, I only added a insole so it fits my feet better.
Q. Your other passion in life is video making. You are the other daredevil in the Polish Salt mine. Huge compliment on bombing down behind Greg, with a camera in your hand! How was that for you? A. First of all, this video was shot during a very good trip in Poland. People there were incredible with us. They tried to show us a lot of spots including this Salt mine. When we entered this mine, our first feeling was strange because it was series of flat corridors and stairs, not really suitable for skating. During the visit, we passed through this downhill corridor (the only one) and Greg thought it was good for a little clip. We asked the supervisor if we could bomb this ride. We got permission; “at your own risk!” The people had contact over the phone to check if the ride was clear, cause we would go so fast.(you see him on the video). And so we went, full speed; having a blast! The difficulty for me was to keep the camera stable during the downhill because the floor was bad and at the end of the corridor the floor was a mess. We did it twice, edited it quickly and uploaded it. The video of the Salt Mine was a positive turn in our life as skaters. It was our first skating video hitting 1 million views on Vimeo and 500.000 on Youtube…. and still counting.
Q. The vibe you got on that video makes it even better. Are u guys good friends? A. We are very good friends!! People want to see buddies having fun and enjoying what they do. Trust me, we are really happy each time we are together skating, filming, working AND chilling ;-) We first met around 2002-2003. Back in the day I made a very well known urban skating video: “Ride on Babylon” and I wanted to create a like minded video with Greg. It was our first collaboration.
Our vision of a good video is quite the same, in skating and in other video styles too. We always speak about our personal work and share our feelings. We worked together on short films and we still follow each other productions after more than 10 years !
For the skating we are very complementary. I try to keep up with tricks, he does a lot of very smooth flows and speed/jump and skating. You can see that on the Rollerblade® video channel.
Q. It must be great to combine your biggest passions together. And even doing it at the same time… A. When I started skating, the main reason was: freedom. I was 16 years old and it was the best excuse to leave home and go everywhere! A couple of years later, I met so many great people with the same passion that I could not stop! Skating was too big in my daily life. I continued skating and started shooting videos and it was the beginning of something new. I could show the world my vision of my passion over the internet. Youtube did not exist yet, so we produced a rollerblading website to broadcast our productions (Rollerfr.net). It was a great adventure. I kept filming for the web and for 2 DVD’s we have produced (“Soon” and “L’éveil”). In 2008, a friend who skates with me offered me a job: video director for a French car magazine. It was the first time when I really got paid for filming. I still work for the same magazine as we speak. So, thank to my first passion, rollerblading, I can live of my second one: filming :) From my perspective these two go hand-in-hand. It is being creative. There is no limit, you can do and create whatever you want. Rollerblading and filming changed my life for the best. I met my wife in a skateshop! Got my job by skating, met most of my dear friends, have seen a lot of cool places in the world, created new stories but most important of all had fun during all of it.
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