Wheelchair rugby certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.
A full contact sport developed “by quadriplegics, for quadriplegics”, wheelchair rugby began garnering mainstream attention in 2005 following the release of the documentary “Murderball”. Governed by the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF), wheelchair rugby is played in over 40 countries, with Canada currently ranked second in the world.
For the uninitiated, here’s a crash course in how the game is played:
We recently got an up-close-and-personal view of murderball courtesy of the Calgary Inferno – Calgary’s first and only wheelchair rugby club. Founded in 2010, the Inferno boast a roster of both competitive and recreational players, offering an inclusive environment for athletes of all levels and abilities.
Filming a spot for a MOFILM competition sponsored by Mountain Dew, we spent a weekend with Dave Guiry, President of the Calgary Wheelchair Rugby Association. Paralysed in an ATV accident in 2006, Dave has since become a prominent figure in Canadian wheelchair rugby – running the Calgary Inferno, as well as representing Team Alberta at the National Championships.
We follow Dave as he trains, practices, and competes in a tournament against the Edmonton Steel Wheels – getting a first-hand look at the daily life of a wheelchair athlete, and meeting some amazing competitors along the way. We also hear Dave’s own story, and learn more about the impact wheelchair rugby has had on his life.
Inspired by the Adidas “All In” campaign, the spot showcases the high-impact nature of wheelchair rugby from Dave’s unique perspective. Using a Defy G12 stabilizer rig with a Canon 5D Mark III on-board, camera operator Chris Bang was able to run the floor with the team – bringing a unique perspective to the in-game sequences.
Also helping on the shoot was DOP Jarrett Craig, who grabbed some amazing shots using his Blackmagic Production Cinema. All of our slow-motion footage was captured using Jarrett’s Sony FS-700, highlighting the intensity that Dave brings to the court every day.
As with any large production, we couldn’t have done it without the help of a number of great people. A huge thanks goes out to the following:
- Dave Guiry and the rest of the players on the Calgary Inferno and Edmonton Steel Wheels – an awesome group of athletes who gave us full access to some outstanding on-court action.
- Jarrett Craig and Chris Bang, who captured some amazing visuals during the tournament.
- Production assistants Dan Halper and Steve Boyd, who helped out behind-the-scenes during the shoot.
- The site managers at the Penhold Multiplex and North Glenmore Community Centre, who gave us full run of their facilities and were more than happy to accommodate all of our (occasionally unusual) requests.
- MTM Equipment Rentals, who provided lighting and camera gear for the shoot.
- And lastly, a special thanks to Melissa Friesen and the rest of the WestJet family, who helped us get out to Calgary on a limited budget to tell Dave’s story.
In addition to the contest version, we’ll be creating an alternate cut for the Inferno’s website which we’ll share shortly.
If you’d like to take a look at the Mountain Dew version, you can check it out at the following location: