365 days ago I boarded a plane to India. Destination New Delhi. Together with a small crew, I spent weeks preparing the aftermovie film shoot of Road to Ultra India.
When the plane departed from the gate I got a text: “Due to the spread of the Coronavirus the festival will be canceled”. But it was too late. The plane took off towards New Delhi, we were ready to film a festival that would never take place.
Let’s back up. 8 years ago I saw the tour videos of Hardwell. Creating them sounded like a dream job. Traveling the world, filming at festivals, and making high paced cinematic edits. Soon I discovered the aftermovies of Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival. I was hooked.
How I started making aftermovies
In university I got in touch with local promotors to create aftermovies for events. Next up, I spent a summer at Starbeach as a videographer. It turned into a summer of little sleep, 14-hour workdays, too many kilometers on a rundown scooter, and incredible adventures in sunny Greece. Despite the fun, I did had some actual filmmaking experience now (arguably). With a carefully crafted portfolio (at least that’s how it felt at the time) I applied at Final Kid for an internship. Not knowing that it would kick-off a 3.5-year adventure.
Final Kid pioneered the aftermovie genre. They are most known for the aftermovies of Ultra Music Festival. Ultra organized events in 29 countries. Joining the team meant a fast-track learning experience from the best in the industry. Editing and pre-production happened at the office in Amsterdam. The productions took place at destinations all over the world. It was a time of many firsts, such as my first helicopter ride, the first time in Asia and working on large scale event production.
On the road
Touchdown. The plane lands at the destination airport. When you get off the plane weeks of preparation kick into action. Connecting with local fixers, arranging locations, preparing for the shooting days, connecting with the cast. You view the city through a different lens.
Over the years you collect fun memories from all the productions. When staying in the Marina Bay Sands hotel the lobby filled up with security and a curious crowd. It turned out to be Kim Jong Un with his entourage. At an afterparty, you see a pair of sunglasses fall on the ground. You pick them up and give them back to the girl who turns out to be Paris Hilton.
The promoters treated us as part of the Ultra Family. Great hotels, food, and hospitality. As cliche, as it sounds the best part, was the team. It wasn’t about the destinations. If you’d visit the same city, festival or hotel by yourself it wouldn’t be 1/10th of the fun.
For a behind the scenes look you can watch the documentary Georges made.
Festivals will be back but it will be different. 2010-2020 truly was the decade of dance. The dance industry matured, from small parties and festivals into a big party conglomerate. I’m grateful for all the experiences.
I’m writing this as a way to look back at the fun times. This is my little memory palace. Now I’m focussing on web development. But who knows what the future holds.