A feature documentary celebrating the evolution of the Italian two-stroke scooter in the UK and stories from the people that ride them.
A feature documentary celebrating the evolution of the Italian two-stroke scooter in the UK and stories from the people that ride them.
It is well over sixty years since the first Vespa and Lambretta scooters were produced, but their stunning Italian design still inspire a vibrant lifestyle which remains relatively underground. For the last two years I have been speaking to scooterists from all over the UK and Europe for a feature documentary film I am producing called THE SCOOTERISTS.
Scooterists are often branded as 'Mods' with all the usual stereotypes; the parkas, chrome wing-mirrors and too many headlights. The scene has gone through many changes and evolved through time. The original Mods of the 1960s have left a rich scooter heritage behind them, fuelling the imagination of past, present and future generations.
The spirit of scootering lives on from those early 60s Modernists and I want to bring the full history together in one film.
Scooterboys/girls have remained misunderstood, however the Scooterboy youth culture has never been robbed of its tribal meanings by the media in quite the same way as the Mods, Skins and Punk movements. Collectively they are all Scooterists and this film will chart the development of the Italian scooter scene in the UK and how this has been interpreted around the world.
WHAT IS THE FILM ABOUT?
The spirit of scootering lives on. The film will 'hold a mirror' to understand how the different parts of the Scooter community interact, and to document the British movement that is still moving.
You could call it a love story - about a unique breed of people and the close friendships they build around themselves, with one common denominator - the Italian two-stroke scooter.
This film reveals the history of scooters in the UK. Starting with the early Vespas and Lambrettas, we will trace the rise of popularity through the early 1960s - and how the scene grew and transformed through the 70s, 80s and 90s - the good times and the bad times.
The one single thing that unites all of these people through the decades is the love for the scooter. This is the true story of that love affair, told with integrity, authenticity and pride. It is a hedonistic caper through Britain’s subcultures and the scooter is the ‘hero’.
THE SCOOTERISTS explores the full spectrum including: old and new technology, from classic Vespas and Lambrettas, the racing teams, dragster scooters, restoration projects, the music and culture and the overall comradery within the scooter clubs around the UK.
What better way to celebrate the culture than hearing their own story in their own words?
Following the QUADROPHENIA film phenomenon in 1979, a Mod-revival took place in the UK, which saw thousands more scooters hitting the streets and swamping the seaside towns on bank holidays. Sensationalist news stories about drunken fighting between Scooterboys, Skins and Casuals have plagued the movement for decades. This paranoia often led to the police closing down pubs and off-licences, and preventing the freedom of movement for the Scooterists who were just looking for a good time with their mates.
There are a young generation of new Scooterists, listening to Ska and Northern Soul, and emulating their scooterist parent’s lifestyle and those original scooterists who after years of work, family and conformity are now buying up Lambretta and Vespas and re-living their teenage years once again.
These honest stories will tell a much larger story about the cultural movement throughout the decades and bringing us up to date with where the scene is heading in the future.
The film holds a mirror to their world and questions what drives their passion to be part of the scooter community, reflecting the diversity of voices within this evolving British movement that’s still moving.
"When you look at youth cultures, Scooterists in the UK stand out as one of THE few cults that have survived almost fully independent of external commercial influence.” - Sticky - Scooterboys: The Lost Tribe
I want to produce an honest and authentic film - spoken by the Scooterists themselves; the original riders in the 60s, Vespa and Lambretta racing teams, mechanics, the Scooterboys of the 70s and 80s, but most importantly the regular Scooterists who ride them everyday.
Many of todays scooterists started their journey as a scooter boy in the 70s/80s and these stories represent a valuable piece of British cultural history. There hasn’t been a feature length documentary that tells the whole story of the Italian two-stroke scooter and how it evolved from a humble mode of transport into one of the most loved and iconic machines.
WHY DO I WANT TO MAKE THIS FILM?
My film is a personal passion project, which has been gestating for 40 years. My earliest memories of scooters were as a ten-year-old kid growing up on the northern seaside town of Scarborough. The year was 1978, and I recall the first time I smelled two-stroke engine fumes and heard the distant buzz of scooters coasting along the seafront.
Over the subsequent years the town became swamped with riders every bank holiday weekend. It culminated in over 10,000 scooters arriving over a weekend in 1981. You couldn't ignore them, they were everywhere, lined up outside bed and breakfasts in the North Bay area where I lived.
I was mesmerised by their world; the clothes, the smell of Castrol, the Northern Soul, 2-Tone and Jamaican Ska riddims emanating from the heaving pubs on the seafront. Thousands of hedonistic scooterists mixing with the crowds of day-trippers and families in the sun. I witnessed, first-hand, the evolution of the scooter movement during a turbulent time of social and political unrest.
I love the design of the Italian scooter. Some of my mates became Mods in the 1980s, but I was drawn toward the safety of four-wheeled VW Beetles and camper vans, driving to national rallies at Bug Jam - and drag racing up the strip at Santa Pod. I was in my early 20's, and the camaraderie I felt with my fellow Beetle owners and our small club ‘ThunderBugs’ is the closest comparison to the scooter scene that I know.
Two years ago, I planned a short film about a weekend scooter rally in my hometown. As I spoke to the Scooterists about their passion, it reminded me of my own experiences with VW Beetles and the rallies I went to in the 90s. It deserved a much longer and more in-depth film
So far it has been a self-funded film and in order for me to continue the story I am calling on Scooterists, and the curious, to help me to fund the filming of testimony and stories from within the UK scooter community.
I am not a scooterist with a camera - I am a filmmaker with a twenty year background in documentary AND music video production. I understand how to use image and music to create a tone and vibe and my documentary background is crucial for telling a story in a visually engaging way.
It is important to me to keep my idea pure and authentic. I am making this film for the scooterists - to document the stories which traditional handed down through the years. The scooter scene is over 60 years old and many of our friends have passed.
It is important that we can make a legacy film to capture the voices before we lose them forever.
HOW WILL THE MONEY BE SPENT?
This film is being made with high production values, and includes archive footage and some cinematic interpretations of the story. My style of music video work often includes narrative and creative use of locations, lighting and camera work.
I am experienced with working to tight-deadlines and restrictive budgets, and I will be shooting on 4K digital cinema cameras with prime lenses and also using smaller 4K digital cameras, GoPros, drones and some older formats such as super-8 film and VHS video. The mixture of formats and different 'looks' will emulate the changing technology that was very prevalent during those decades.
The production costs include camera and sound crew fees, camera rental,food, editing, travel, accomodation, post-production, sound mix and music rights clearance. I am trying to cut as many deals as possible and will be bringing in many favours to get maximum effect for the money I raise.
The end result will stand up on a cinema screen just as well as on your flatscreen. I am planning a special preview screening in a Scarborough cinema in summer 2020.
I can only make this film with your help. I want this to be something that the scooter community can have ownership over, so for that reason I think crowdfunding is the best option for me to raise the production funds. I am all about the end product so everyone who backs this project will receive a digital streaming link to view the film.
CONTRIBUTORS ALREADY ONBOARD.
Over the past two years I have been speaking with many scootering experts, writers, mechanics, customisers, scooter publications and contributors in order to build a solid base to the story. I am very proud to have such a knowledgeable selection of committed contributors on board for the film:
Martin ‘Sticky’ Round
Renowned scooter bodger and writer, Sticky has published numerous books on scootering including; ‘Complete Spanners Manual for Lambretta Scooters’ ‘Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle’ and most recently ‘Scooterboys: The Lost Tribe.’ Well known for his adventurous scooter travels and mischievous antics, Sticky is a former editor of Scootering and co-founder of ScooterLab.UK. He's been a fantastic asset to preparations for the film, introducing me to all the right people.
Scooter writer and owner of ScooterNova magazine. A freelance contributor to Scootering magazine in the mid-1990s he went full time in 1998 and became the magazine’s longest serving editor before he left and subsequently set up his own, independent scooter magazine, ScooterNova. Over the years Andy has clocked up the scooter miles, including riding a Vespa from England to Italy for the 60th anniversary of Vespa and being one of the last journalists to ever ride a 1946 pre-production Piaggio (Vespa) scooter from their museum. He has ridden Lambrettas to Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain and around northern Europe, as well as Vespa endurance racing in Spain.
We are privileged to have enlisted Stuart into the film, with him being the owner of Lambretta Museum in Weston Super-Mare. Stuart is the number one of the Scootermaniacs Scooter Club and part of South West Scooter Clubs collective. He continues to host and support both national and local rallies and rallies abroad. Stuart was a scooter racer as part of the Scootermaniacs Race Team, the previous owner and publisher of three national scooter magazines from the 1980s until the early 2000s . Along with Sticky publishes The Complete Spanner Manual for Lambretta along with other books, and is the distributor of ScooterNova magazine.
Ian ‘Iggy’ Grainger
Ian 'Iggy' Grainger has been living all things 'scooter' since discovering them at the impressionable age of 13. Since then he's ridden the length and breadth of the country and across Europe seeking fun on unsuitable small-wheeled machines. Aside from attending, organising and working on scooter rallies, scooters are also his full-time occupation. He's worked for various magazines, newspapers, bike magazines and websites as a freelance scooter journalist but can now be found behind the keyboard of worldwide online scooter magazine, ScooterLab.UK which he co-founded with Sticky in 2016. Iggy has been supremely supportive of this film and his contribution will help me capture the authenticity of the scooter lifestyle.
Scooterboy and National Scooter Rally organiser with VFM. The Nationals kept Scooterists together and the movement nationally connected. Steve has been given me exclusive access to film at some of the National events and has generously given me much of his time. He has a vast knowledge and personal experience of the good and bad times in scootering history.
Hailing from my hometown of Scarborough, Martin was the editor and publisher of Scootermania, the first scooter related magazine in 1979. Martin has been hailed as the man who invented the National Scooter Rally and famously he is at the centre of the rise of the scooter scene during the 1980s and I am thrilled to have him onboard to pass on his experience and perspective over such a significant period in history.
Original German scooter boy, creator of ‘Spirit Of 1984 Scooterists’ and organiser of Meltdown Scooter Rally in Germany. Marcus is yet another champion of the film and supported me with research, contacts, interviews, access to events and generally been a generous and fantastic friend to steer me on my journey.
Legendary Lambretta racer and owner of Supertune. Ron started trading in 1966 with a trade mark for the sporting side for the Lambretta enthusiast, Supertune made it's name supplying Lambrettas in the now famous paint scheme with tuned engines. Innovators of exhaust systems and other tuning goodies, entering and winning many events during the 1960s to the 1970s which created it's history.
Norrie has a wealth of scooter knowledge, dedicating 50 years of his life to the Vespa scooter. With a Vespa racing career of 30 years, Norrie Kerr won a host of British championships among several track records and accolades, making him one of the most decorated riders in the sport. He dominated scooter racing throughout the 1980s before retiring from racing in 2001. Norrie published Scooter & Scooterist magazine 1972 -1986, and wrote a book to share his knowledge of Vespa tuning. He built the legendary LC Vespas, incurring the liquid cooled 90SS. A true original scooterist of the 60s, he now runs VE-UK, a supplier and distributor of scooter parts and accessories. Norrie is president of the BSSO and also Honorary Vice President of the Vespa Club of Britain. I am thrilled to be able to film his unique story and capture such valued and fascinating insight into his experiences with scooters.
Original Scooterboy from Scunthorpe and author of ‘Time Trouble and Money’- a true story of life within the Scooter Scene during the bleak years of the 70s and 80s. Mark has lived the life and written a fantastic book about it. I am very honoured to have his input into the film and to bring an authentic perspective from someone who was there.
Darren ‘Scotty’ Scott
Scotty is race boss and head mechanic of Team Darlington S.C. and has been riding scooters since he was 12. He owns four Lambrettas - two for the road and two for the track. Scotty and the DSC beat all the major teams to win the British Production Class in the 2017 BSSO Championships. His scooter knowledge and respect within the scene is a great asset to the film.
WHAT CAN FUNDERS DO FOR THE FILM?
If you are a Scooterist this is your story. I need you to be part of it. The film has to be authentic and told by those people who live the life. I want to turn the camera on the Scooterists and let them talk, capturing the whole honest story and what drives their passions.
The Scootering community has a long tradition of oral histories, passed by word of mouth and these will be integral to tell the full story. The next step is to find Scooter Clubs, enthusiasts and riders who are prepared to share their own stories about scootering.
If you are a club or individual and interested in being involved or if you would like to have your club badge included in the credits, then please contact me at: email@example.com
WHEN WILL IT BE COMPLETED?
I am committed to working on this project for the next 12 months and I aim to make this film to be as cinematic as I possible. I am seeking to raise £149,600 in order to continue production, travelling around the UK and meeting and filming at national rallies and grassroots meets around the country in 2019 and early 2020.
The film will be completed by summer 2020 after which I intend to screen the film at a cinema to a special audience of ‘The Number One Package’ backers.
This screening will be limited to 100 tickets and will include a copy of the BluRay or DVD. Everyone who supports the project will be able to view the finished film, either by a digital streaming platform or on DVD and BluRay.
If I pass my funding goal this will mean that I can capture the whole story in full 4K digital with Dolby cinema sound mix as well as being able to cover all the production costs and the cost of printing the DVDs, patches, badges and venue hire for the special preview event.
If I do not reach the target then the film will not be funded and I will have to consider alternative funding options. Here is a breakdown of the costs that we need to cover in order to film for the next 12 months, using a professional crew of four and shooting on 4K Arri cameras. The full cost will include all post-production, sound design and music licensing.
Your support can help make this film possible! Thank You!
Risks and challenges
My first challenge was to be trusted by the scooterists, many of whom have been riding scooters together for over thirty years. Scooterists have never been properly represented in the media so there is quite rightly a suspicion that this may have been just another hatchet job about Mods. I have made some great contacts and new friends within the scootering community and most that I have spoken to understand the my intentions are to be authentic and to celebrate the history and people within the scooter world. I also have decided that it is time that I joined them. I will be looking to pass my motorcycle test and buy a scooter in the next few months. Learning to ride two-wheels will probably be a bigger risk and challenge.
Music is such an important part of the story, so I will be pursuing a few classics , but I am keen to represent the contemporary scene as much as the old school. The soundtrack is critical to drive the story and it could be potentially very expense to obtain licensing and clearing rights from the artists back in the day.
I am working with musicians to create original music and also working with bands and artists that are already touring on the scooter circuits such as The Superlatives, Natural Rhythm Ska Band and Page 45.
Another challenge will be the clearance of all archival material and video footage. I will create my own recreations using film and video formats, but you can't beat some proper old footage. I will be looking for unseen material and this may come from scooterists that I am talking to. If you have any original VHS or super 8 footage then I would love to hear from you to include this in the film.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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