Documentary fillmaker Rupert Walker creates sports action films. Lia Crowe photography

Documentary fillmaker Rupert Walker creates sports action films. Lia Crowe photography

Documentary Filmmaker Rupert Walker Creates Sports Action Films

Hobby becomes career with mountain biking videos at Revel Co.

  • Oct. 1, 2018 9:30 a.m.

– Story by Chelsea Foreman

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Rupert Walker is unintentionally cool. The 30-year-old action sports documentary maker speaks quickly, answering my questions with a depth of detail and fever that reveals his passion for his work.

I scribble notes furiously trying to capture his words. He catches me off guard when he describes the lack of deliberateness that found him turning a high school hobby into a wildly successful career. But then again, Rupert Walker is full of surprises.

Rupert was born in Vancouver. His dad’s career moved the family to various regions of the province and it was when the Walkers settled down in Kimberley on a ski hill that Rupert began honing his skills as an action sports documentary maker.

“A lot of my friends were pursuing careers as professional athletes. I would film us skiing and snowboarding. We just wanted to see the tricks we were doing; it wasn’t anything to do with trying to get a job in film or trying to pursue a career in that. It was purely just because we were excited to see what we were doing,” Rupert says, recalling his first introduction to filming.

Upon graduating high school, Rupert went to business school and his filming hobby went on a hiatus. Rupert credits business school as being a strong foundation and he has no regrets about choosing the educational avenue over film school.

“I didn’t need a professor to tell me how to be creative, or how to use a camera. Being creative is so subjective; using a camera is so subjective. There’s no one right answer. I know how to use a camera and be creative, and I know how to make the art and the content I want — but at the time I didn’t know how to run a business. I didn’t know the language of accounting and project management, and being a business owner. It was a good way for me to be exposed to the language of business,” says Rupert.

After attending business school Rupert — who spent much of his youth mountain biking in the Kootenay Mountains — moved to Victoria and met a new group of friends who were semi-professional mountain bikers.

“I started filming again, the same as before, only this time I was older. We’d be riding and jumping and I’d be filming totally for fun, because again, we wanted to look at what we were doing to try and figure out how we could become better athletes,” Rupert explains.

He soon found himself entrenched in his old hobby. He began to spend time on editing, which he describes as a nostalgic process that helped him rediscover his love for creating films. He would contact his friends’ sponsors and trade videos of them for a bike part, or a small amount of cash. But Rupert never expected his hobby could transform into a notable career.

“From there, I got really passionate about it. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and at that point, I didn’t think filming action sports could turn into any kind of a career,” notes Rupert.

But he began creating video content every week, using social media and websites including Pinkbike (a major action sports video website) to share his work. He quickly developed a large online audience and was picked up by an action sports media company in Los Angeles, where he worked for a year. Struggling with the lack of creative freedom he had at a desk job, Rupert returned to Victoria and launched his own company, Revel Co., with his good friend and professional mountain biker, Brandon Semenuk.

“We decided to start our own business making the best mountain bike content that we possibly could. We started Revel Co. because we were tired of making content for other people without being able to be totally creative with and in complete control with what we were creating.”

Rupert and Brandon’s intention with Revel Co. was to focus on making the best, most creative videos, with a style of shooting and creativity influenced by no one but themselves,

“No one gets a say in what we create except us — even if it’s a client job. That’s our rule, and that’s how they turn out best,” Rupert says.

After building Revel Co. over two years ago, Brandon and Rupert now have an impressive clientele including Subaru Canada and Red Bull. Rupert films internationally, but is always happy to return home to Victoria to his girlfriend Berkley and their two Persian cats Digit and Sumo.

“A lot of time when you hear action sports you don’t think ‘this could be a really beautiful cinematic video.’ It’s a unique way to approach it — creating something that looks amazing and isn’t ‘out there,’” says Rupert.

Rupert doesn’t know exactly what’s in store for him next but he’s looking forward to continuing to grow his business.

I get the feeling that so long as he keeps creating for himself, success will be inevitable. For a man whose life has been defined by the unexpected, watching Rupert make his next move may be just as exhilarating as watching the documentaries he makes.

ActionAlternative SportsBoulevard MagazineChelsea ForemandocumentaryFilm makermediaMountain bikingMoviesOutdoorsRevel Co.Rupert WalkerskateboardingskiingSportsSports mediavideo

Just Posted

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

“We need to get to the root of what is actually happening with the RCMP and our communities”

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

Test positivity rates in Greater Victoria from April 23 to 29. (BC CDC data)
Leaked data shows View Royal top of COVID-19 list for Greater Victoria

View Royal mayor says week was a blip for the township, not the norm

The medical clinic building in Port McNeill. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Solution pending to Port McNeill health care uncertainty?

The town appears to be ‘closer to a new and sustainable medical model for our town’

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

Carter Woods was first across the line at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Saturday in Altstadt, Germany. File photo
Cumberland mountain biker wins World Cup race in Germany

First Canadian on the podium since 2013

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

Most Read