An Interview with Shams (Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/shamsprod)
Editor: First of all, congratulations on your film ‘Sounds of Paragliding’ winning best sound at the Kendal Film Festival and also being chosen as a finalist at the
Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival! (Read more here.)
How old were you were you first became interested in photography?
Shams: Since I was a little kid! The first movie I saw in theater was ‘Back to the
Future’. And I broke a lot of VHS cassettes by watching different movies
hundreds of times! Then I started doing movies with my friend, when I was a
Editor: Your films on Vimeo are superb. What is so special to you about being a
Shams: It’s just a way to live my dream since I was a kid. I really take care to make
some emotional videos that tell a story.
Editor: Your film ‘Sounds of Paragliding’ is fantastic and won Best Sound at Kendal. How did you decide on making this film?
Shams: First, I was shooting Raul Rodriguez in reverse tandem (I am looking backward) and my pilot was Charlie Piccolo. Raul was doing maneuvers in front of me, and Charlie was saying “What’s happening??!! What’s happening?!!”, I realized that the sounds were super-loud and impressive, even for a paraglider pilot like Charlie! And I noticed that we always turned off the sound of the camera and put music on all the paragliding videos, so the idea was to do the opposite.
Editor: That's just fantastic. What was it like to make the film ‘Chasing Summits’? It is a favorite of mine because of the mountain footage.
Shams: Pakistan is a country where I always wanted to go, as my family (father’s side) were from Pakistan, but I never had information about them. The country is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, and the population was amazing.
Editor: How long did it take to make it? What was it like working with the
Shams: I was there for 25 days. Then it was a lot of work at home in front of my
computer! It’s important to say that I didn’t receive money for this movie,
it’s a personal project, so it was a lot of work! I didn’t have any special
problems during the shooting, it was quite easy for me because the locals
thought I was a local journalist!
Editor: Who were the 3 paragliders in your film?It was a great film because it made us think, laugh and wonder. The guys were so talented, it was amazing to watch their reaction to their beautiful environment!
Shams: François Ragolski, world champion in aerobatic this year, is a French pilot. A little bit crazy, but one of nicest guys I know. It’s really funny to travel with him.
Veso Ovcharov is from Bulgaria. He is a good friend of Petar Loncar, the third
pilot, from Serbia. They both are acro-pilots also.
Editor: Why did you pick Hunza as your location?
Shams: The pilots choose this place, thanks to the advice of Brad Sander, who was
there many times. It’s a fantastic place for paragliding.
Editor: What is Little Karim like in real life? He is a strong climber and very
experienced. How did you find him?
Shams: I didn’t know him before I met him in his village at Hushe. Veso told us he was a super famous climber and when he started to tell us his story, I said “Wow,
we need him for the movie!” We spent 7 days in Hushe with him and the rest of
the village. That was a very special moment I will remember forever.
Editor: What type of subjects do you like to film?
Shams: I did a lot of paragliding movies, but now I would like to start something
else. This winter, I work for the Freeride World Tour and I am doing also a Freeride
snowboard movie at home. I would like to explore some other sports like base
jumping, and of course continue to follow some adventurers around the world.
I have also a very big project with my friend Alex Aimard, but we need a lot of
money to do it! So we are looking for some partners. But it really can be the
most epic outdoor film ever made (teasing!)
Editor: What are some of your favorite films?
Shams: Recently, I was amazed by Afterglow : snow + ski + night = a lot of problems to shoot! But they managed to keep a poetic aspect in this video, and not a powerful and energetic porn ski movie.
And besides sport movies, I like a lot of stuff, there is too many to pick one!
Editor: What inspires you to make great films? Maybe the great outdoors? Nature?
Shams: I think first you need a great story, or an amazing location. Both is better!
Then, I think we need to keep in mind that we are only following our childhood
dream : to be outside and play! For some people, their dream is to fly, for others it’s to ride the snow or the ocean…
Editor: You have recently won awards your films in the film festivals in the US, UK and Canada. That's pretty cool.
Shams: Yes. It’s really something I like to do, and even more is to come and to talk
about it. I have been invited to the Kendal Mountain film festival to talk about film-making and that was a great experience. “It’s all about sharing!” Film festivals are the occasion to meet a lot of people and to share some ideas. And of course, it’s always an honor to be awarded in some festivals. I make movies for myself first, then I share it with an audience to give my message and I hope that this audience is going to like it.
So, I have been already selected in film festivals like VIMFF, BANFF, Kendal, etc.
Editor: Thank you for doing an interview with us. Your films are amazing and your work is phenomenal.
Shams: Thanks! I hope you will like the next one.
Editor: We look forward to it! We're sure it will be another winner!
Contact information for Shams:
Interview conducted by Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
Editor of 'An Interview With'.
Editor-in-Chief of climbskibouldermagazine.com
Interview © Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
All images © of the designated photographer and used with Shams' written permission.
Shams with local children in the Marquesas Islands. Photo Credit: John Stapels. Official web site: http://johnstapels.com/2012/
From the official web site: ”Shams is one of those passionate people who left his job to live his dreams. Since few years, he carried his camera all over the world to follow the athletes in their adventures, sometimes in very extremes conditions. Maybe it’s just because he is also hiker, trail runner, climber, mountaineer and paragliding pilot that he manages to have a different eye on the action in front of him. So, don’t be surprised if you see him running a full half marathon with a camera, staying up all night on a sand dune in Tunisia to film the sunrise or climbing Kilimanjaro running back and forth to take the best shots.”
On the Cover: Shams - An Interview
Cover Date: January 5th, 2015