Where the Buffalo Roam Kicks It in Italy for Vespacross Doc

All the way from sun-drenched Italy, full-service creative production company Where The Buffalo Roam (WTBR) has created another installment of Vespamania, a short film series celebrating the world’s most beloved scooter brand and its passionate riders. Episode 3 unveils the fast-paced world of Italy’s Vespacross League, an underground community of Vespa enthusiasts who soup up their scooters and race for glory.

WTBR director David McMurry reunited with Creative Director Tuesday McGowan and Piaggio Studios – the content arm of Vespa’s parent company Piaggio Group – to create the documentary short. The team emerged with a cinematic homage to Steve McQueen, Spaghetti Westerns, and the Tuscan countryside. With McMurry’s love of chronicling hinterlands and outsiders, WTBR quickly keyed into Vespa’s brand identities of design, style, and freedom.

“Vespamania is all about documenting the constellation of archetypes who embody their love of Vespas,” explains McMurry. “On top of Vespa’s timelessly beautiful design, its riders are drawn to the simplicity and accessibility of the bike’s engineering, and the Italian Vespacross League embraces these pillars like no other.”

Though Vespacross is an amateur racing league, the sense of family and community it fosters is bigger than the sport itself, making it a way of life for those involved. Participants travel from all corners of Italy for more than a race; it’s a weekend to celebrate the ingenuity of the community and, of course, share homestyle Italian meals. WTBR found its hero subject to tell this story in Vespa mechanic Alessandro Pendezza, the lynchpin of Vespacross’s tight-knit community.

“Albeit competitive, the overall vibe of the Vespacross scene is welcoming and fun,” remarks McGowan, “and Alessandro embodies that spirit to a tee. You can see during the races that the community is just in love with him.”

In addition to the interview shoots at Pendezza’s home garage, WTBR’s production crew went on location for a Vespacross race in Clusone, Italy. McMurry shot 400-foot loads of 16mm film for the down-and-dirty racing segments. Evoking great sports documentaries like Bill Brown’s On Any Sunday, McMurry says he embraced the use of analog for a number of reasons.

"Shooting film lent itself well to capturing the tactile and colorful nature of the sport, and 16mm was the perfect homage to those earlier docs," explains McMurry. "Film has just the right combination of texture and expressiveness to really bring things to life. And it's simply quite beautiful."

McMurry juxtaposed the 16mm footage with high-speed digital shots at 600 fps for the racing sequences, when Vespas takes to the sky. "Turning these Vespas into dirt bikes and jumping them is pretty incredible. That created an opportunity to add a bit of magic and poetry to the film."

“Vespacross’s truly infectious ‘let’s all pitch in’ vibe bled over into our film crew, which became something like a tight little docu-strike unit helmed by producer Nilou Safinya,” McMurry recalls.

Led by Collin Kriner, the WTBR editing team rounded out their cut with a particularly fitting homage: opening credits à la Sergio Leone classics, accompanied by epic Ennio Morricone-inspired music.

"Piaggio Studios once again gave us the runway to bring artistry to the Vespamania series," concludes McGowan. "When it comes to branded content, Vespa is unmatched in their commitment to celebrating the people who are loyal to their brand with authenticity and creativity. Being among the Vespacross community, we saw firsthand the excitement they felt from being recognized by Vespa on that level. That’s a very fun place to be with a brand.”

Client: Piaggio
Head of Piaggio Studios & Content: Marco Scisco
Senior Producer: Claire MacDonald
Production Coordinator: Lara Rossi
Photo & Below the Line Specialist: Viviana Ferro
Content Strategy Manager: Lucia Stano
Head of Scooter Brands: Francesca Biondi Morra
Vespa Brand Manager: Eleonora Montanari

Production Company: Where The Buffalo Roam
Director: David McMurry
Creative Director: Tuesday McGowan
Editor: Collin Kriner
Producer: Nilou Safinya
Executive Producers: Tim Pries
Head of Production: Chris Whitney
Cinematographer: David McMurry
Operator / Gaffer: Danny Dwyer
Asst Camera: Jeph Folkins
Production Sound Mixer: Emanuele Lombardini
Loader / Grip / PA: PJ Koll
Post Producer: Eden Cooney
Head of Post Production: Amy Russo
Asst Editor: Austin Hobart
Designer: Tuesday McGowan
Compositor: Jess Gibson
Compositor: Jake Pryor
Sound Design/Mix: Todd Yeager
Colorist: Kaitlyn Battistelli, Ethos
Translators: Francesco Repetto, Benedetta Rocca, Carolina Pera

About Where The Buffalo Roam:
WTBR is a full-service production company with offices in Oakland and Los Angeles. Its approach is simple: Be good people. Make good things. Recent clients include Google, Nike, Webflow, Robinhood, Gymshark, and Vespa.

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