In producing his first TV series, Our Longest Drive, Norwegian-born filmmaker Martin Rodahl assembled a coalition of Chicago-based commercial post houses to handle postproduction for the series. Although these companies have worked with leading advertising agencies and brands in the past, Our Longest Drive, a six-week series that airs Tuesdays on The Golf Channel, was new territory for them. The series tells the story of three men who drive the cremated ashes of a friend to the Arctic for one last round of golf.
Creative editorial facility, The Colonie, played an instrumental role in the project. Brian Sepanik, one of The Colonie’s three principle owners, served as the series’ primary editor. Sepanik viewed 400 hours of Rodahl’s amassed footage and began work on the project more than a year ago.
Chicago-based NoiseFloor, led by owner Cory Coken, handled the all aspects of sound design and audio mixing for the series, while Company 3 and Tyler Roth spearheaded the coloring effort. Shawn Sutta and Audiocastle were responsible for music composition and licensing.
“Our Longest Drive is my largest endeavor to date,” said Rodahl, owner of 71 Degrees North – a commercial and branded-content production company that closed for a month last summer to document the travels of three retired men who brought their friend’s remains to the Arctic Circle for a round of golf on the summer solstice. “I loved the story behind this adventure and wanted to reconnect with the Arctic, having grown up in Norway,” Rodahl explained.
Rodahl assembled a crew of three – all fellow graduates from Northwestern University‘s film program – who accompanied him through seven U.S. states, two Canadian provinces and two territories from Chicago to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada – a road trip by RV and Jeep that lasted 18 days and covered 5,500 miles.
“It’s rare when someone embarks on his first long format work and has it picked up by a network,” Rodahl noted. “The Golf Channel is the perfect spot for this story about adventure, discovery, loss and legacy, and, oh yes, golf. The network saw in Our Longest Drive a way to extend its audiences beyond its core. The experiences of the characters and the wisdom of age they impart from one episode to another makes this story universal,” he added.
In addition to serving as director and producer, Rodahl served in other roles including part-time cinematographer, writer and sales representative. “I’ve been on Our Longest Drive for nearly two years now,” he said. “We finished a rough cut of a feature-length version before The Golf Channel caught wind of our progress. Vic Zast, the originator of the idea, contacted the network long before meeting me, but his plea for sponsorship went unheeded because he and his friends were unknown entities. Once we presented our cut to the network, however, they immediately saw the potential of the story and its characters.”
Zast, a horse racing journalist with a background in the perfume business, reported that he is happy with 71 Degrees North’s involvement and the Golf Channel outcome. “I know how difficult it is to place something on network television, and to do it at first try at age 67 is a dream come true,” he said. “I knew from the beginning that we had a good idea, even though I developed it on drugs while recovering from heart surgery. But we were lucky to find the one filmmaker who fit the job of telling our story like a glove.”
Our Longest Drive airs Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. EST on The Golf Channel.