What is Ol Malo? Chicago-based Picture North has released the answer in the form of a jaw-droppingly beautiful new film for the Kenya-based safari and helicopter adventure company. You got it, the name is Ol Malo.
Ol Malo is an immersive experience, connected to the local Samburu tribe who play a pivotal role in the company’s operations and culture of preservation. Game drives and luxury lodging are included in the Ol Malo experience, but it’s the concierge helicopter service that truly sets it apart from other safari offerings in East Africa.
Most camp and tourist operations are limited to roads and trails, but with Ol Malo a different kind of African bush experience is unleashed.
The lodge is located north of Nairobi and has unprecedented access to some of Kenya’s most exotic and remote destinations, from Mount Kenya to the Suguta Valley.
To create the nearly two and a half-minute effort, the Picture North crew spent almost two weeks at Ol Malo, capturing truly unique moments from flying alongside several million flamingos to chasing dune buggies across dried out riverbeds. Comprised of almost exclusively stabilized, gimbal, and drone shots, the film is set to artist M83’s epic soundtrack and features the narrating voice of Andrew Francombe whose parents initially founded Ol Malo decades ago.
The film showcases this incredible biodiversity and highlights the ease with which these sites can be visited.
“It’s a lot like choose your own adventure,” said director and executive producer Martin Rodahl. “You have a helicopter at your disposal for whatever you want to do whether it’s hiking, fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding, or camping. All of Kenya is your playground!”
The fast-paced, unknown environment and the extreme spectrum of weather competed for the title of ‘Biggest Challenge’ on the production.
During a particularly long day of shooting, Rodahl recalls one particular episode from a particularly long day of shooting: “We were filming in freezing temperatures around Mount Kenya and the gimbal just died. Simeon, our director of photography, lost all feeling in his hands because we were flying open-door in the helicopter at 17,000 feet and he wasn’t wearing gloves.” But while the cold temperatures were rough, a few hours later the team found themselves in the middle of a desert at sea level in 100+ degree temperatures.
Director of photography, Simeon Pratt, said: “The whole experience was a shoot-scout combo, meaning every new location we shot in was our first and often only time seeing it. We generally had one or two chances for each shot. The high-pressure environment coupled with the complex technological variables—like shooting air-to-air from one heli to another—pushed the team and tested our limits.”
All that work has paid off as the finished project offers a compelling call to adventure. “I am so happy we can share this magical place with others who will then be inspired to go on their own journey”, remarks executive producer Neha Schultz.
CLIENT: Ol Malo
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Picture North
- DIRECTOR: Martin Rodahl
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Neha Schultz, Martin Rodahl
- PRODUCER: Michael Nowicki
- ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Evan Staley
- DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Simeon Pratt
- EDITOR: Talia Pasqua
- COLOUR: Parker Jarvie, Company 3
- SOUND DESIGN: Raphaël Ajuelos
- VFX: Nathan Matsuda
- MUSIC: M83
- PILOTS: Jon Blythe-Wood, Andrew Francombe
- SPECIAL THANKS: The Francombe Family, The Schultz Family
SOURCE: Picture North