Peter Boggia of Moto Borgatoro talks about European motorbikes with enthusiasm and experience
15th November 2019 by Will Stewart
Maverick film maker Roberto Serrini’s war of attrition on his local bike mechanic/urban legend Peter Boggia eventually paid off. After 5 years of asking, Peter Boggia eventually let Robert interview him for a film. This is a stylised piece by a prolific short film maker about a shared love for European motorbikes.
MadeGood – Please tell me a bit about yourself as a film maker, and how you got into film making. Is this a typical example of your work?
Roberto – I fell in love with film at UCSB. I think what attracted me to it was I, like most kids I knew, didn’t really know what the hell I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to be creative. I loved writing, photography, acting, etc, and film seemed like something that took all the arts and combined it into one, so I would have plenty of choices in the future if I wanted to move around. After school I taught myself how to edit, mainly because no one wants to edit your garbage films when you’re just starting out, and found out I really loved it. I did a lot of timed contest, became a very fast, proficient editor, and eventually moved to NYC to work in post. From there I kept making my own films, mostly short docs about people and places I found interesting (or meals I really wanted to eat but didn’t have enough money to do so, hence making a sandwich show and eventually transitioned into directing after deemed worthy enough. Now I’m repped by SuperLonge out in Los Angeles and focus mainly on commercial directing, but I do still love to edit. I find it’s become an extension of my directing abilities, and really makes crafting and collaborating that much more engaging, being able to really see the big picture. While I would say while I’m capable of dialing in the style of an edit any which way, my natural state is very much like the way Moto Borgotaro is cut; 1 part Fincher, 1 part Schoonmaker, a splash of Niel Gust, and twist of randomness that comes with the well remembered naivete of learning how to cut on stolen software and miniDV tapes with dropped frames over firewire.
MadeGood – How did you find out about Peter Boggia and Moto Borgotaro, and what made you want to make a film about him? Are you into classic bikes yourself?
Roberto – One of the reasons I love film was it gives you the license to meet and talk to people. I bought a beat up BMW R65 from a guy up in Harlem, my first motorcycle, and one day it rained and just stopped working. I knew absolute zero about bikes. Peter’s shop is one of the best European bike shops so I wanted to bring it to him. He took one look at me and said “I don’t want to work on your bike” because he doesn’t suffer fools which I certainly was. However, as a director, I’m beyond determined, and kept pressing him until the point he asked “you really want to know what’s wrong with your bike?” and proceeded to kick my front pipes which his foot went clean through. “Your pipes are rotten.” he said and just walked away. Thats really when the friendship started. Peter Boggia’s shopC was beautiful mythical really, and Peter himself was the real deal which, as a NY’re is rarer to find these days. I begged him for years to let me shoot something and he always said “when Im dead.” Finally, after 5 years of slowly growing a friendship, learning bikes, and him building a masterpiece machine, he casually asked me “… you maybe wanna shoot this bike Im building?”. Two days later I had 3 people, 4 cameras and 5 hours in the shop with him. It’s still one of my favorite pieces to this day, and Im happy to say I still ride my original R65, although Peter and I both shipped our bikes to Italy because, lets face it, much nicer to ride there then on the BQE.
MadeGood – I like the stylised elements of the film, cut aways, and the sound design. Is that all your work? Please tell me about this part of the creative process.
Roberto – While I learned how to cut on my own, it was an editor named Niel Gust who really taught me style. Niel’s work is iconic, and he himself is a pretty famous musician, which is obvious because when he cuts, he cuts with rhythm which is really a different way to see the footage. I was his assistant, and in that time I had adopted his style which was to make music with image really. Layering sound design, using false takes, heads and tails, all the garbage that usually gets thrown on the floor, is what it’s really all about. That stuff is all gold to me, and if you can use it properly, you usually get something surprising and engaging. It’s this kind of style that has graciously won me two Gold Cubes and a Silver pencil for editing in advertising which I’m super proud of. It makes sense people dig this style; sausage is very tasty, and it’s really the leftovers that make it so. This is a sausage edit if anything.
MadeGood – This film was made a while ago, and it’s been quite popular. How did it affect your career, and inform later film’s you’ve made?
Roberto – I make a lot of content. I have over 500 short pieces that I’ve created so far, most of it commercial, short docs or travel based. It’s really just how I communicate with the world, instead of running my mouth off at a bar. So I really didn’t expect anything with this film. I’m not very savvy about the festival circuit, I just really like to work and make films. So when I put it on Vimeo and it became a Staff Pick, I realized this film, unlike the 499 others, really resinated. Next it found it’s way onto blogs like Uncrate, NFS, Silodrome and a bunch of others, so I decided to throw it at a few festivals and it did quite well. People seemed to really like that it wasn’t like all the other “maker” films out there, with the slow mo grinder sparks and gravitas of importance. Peter Boggia isn’t like that, nor is his attitude to motorcycles, so the film tries to represent that, and not take itself so seriously. In the end it’s been great to not only elevate my other work, but it’s gotten me working commercially for lots of motorcycle companies. I did a 5 series film that launched the new Gold Wing which was a huge project, and flown all over Asia to do more work on the CB150, Rev’IT and Alpinestars. This week I’m actually going to Rome for the Mototematica Film Festival which the film is screening. No complaints from one day of shooting.
MadeGood – What are you working on next?
Roberto – There is always some commercial work going on here and there, but passion project wise I’m very excited about a new travel show I just sold to Jeffrey Katzenbergs new network Quibi that we will begin filming early next year. I’m hoping to bring the frantic-fun of this doc to the travel sphere because I live for traveling and sharing stories. Peter and I are also developing a Motorcycle travel show which is the complete opposite of everything else out there because we want people to watch. Motorcycle tend to be exclusive when they are put on film or TV, but in our personal experience, we’ve always found that they bring people together. I mean we’ve both met some of the most amazing people just through this little project, and it’s that kind of experience we want to share with everyone out there. So thank you too for sharing this little story with everyone. It’s really what dreams are made of.