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5 Minutes with...TGO's Mahira Khan

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What’s your favorite motocross video of all time? Terrafirma, Crusty Demons of Dirt and the Moto XXX library are all near the top of my list, but when it comes to the true soul of the sport, I’ve never seen any video do the sport justice quite like The Great Outdoors. These videos capture all the reasons we love this sport and pack it into a DVD so we can relive and share them over and over. Their latest release is The Destroyers, and the producers are having a screening tonight in Costa Mesa, CA. We wanted to find out more about their latest offering, so we gave TGO producer Mahira Amir Khan a call for this 5 Minutes with…interview. Oh, and if you want to check out a trailer, click here.

  • TGO's Mahira Amir Khan
  • Mahira Amir Khan at the Motocross of Nations
Racer X: Mahira, another year, another TGO movie release. Are you ready for the big premier of TGO: The Destroyers this evening?
Mahira Amir Khan: Ahh, as ready as we can be! We’ve been busy working on the Motocross of Nations movie, so we really haven’t had much time to get anxious about the premier since there is so much going on this time of the year.

Since you guys produce the film, can you just release it anytime you want or is there a deadline you have to meet?
Oh no, there are very strict deadlines. In fact, we really try and get the movies out in time for Christmas, or even Thanksgiving, which is pretty crazy because there are so many hours of footage—sometimes upwards of five hundred hours of footage, so it almost seems impossible. I don’t know how we do it every year, but we seem to be able to handle it and manage it somehow! We do the impossible time and time again, but the good thing is that it gets easier. When I first started working on these films with Troy (Adamitis), I saw so many people go through breakdowns because there’s so much at stake and we really have to deliver a good movie and give the fans what they want. There’s a lot of pressure, but at the same time there are a lot of rewards.

What’s your secret to working through it—energy drinks and coffee?
[Laughs] Sometimes we get the little chocolate balls from Coffee Bean that are filled with caffeine!

  • You can purchase The Destroyers at www.nofearmx.com right now!
Before we get into the film, tell us how you first got involved in producing motocross videos?
I’m actually from Singapore originally, and when I lived there I was a journalist and I was also an editor of a health magazine. And I used to help a friend of mine who was a producer for Fashion TV India—I would just help her for fun. I had so much fun in the whole process of production that I decided to make a move into film and TV production. So I moved to L.A. and I was lucky enough to start my first internship with Troy Adamitis. When I first met him and started working with him I had such a high level of trust and respect with him that it’s lasted four years now.

What was the first motocross video that you worked on?
The first one was the The Great Outdoors 2: Special Edition that came out February of 2004. When I first started working with Troy, I didn’t even know the sport of motocross existed; I didn’t know anything about it. It was all new to me! The sport itself has a lot of energy, and the making of the movie about the sport has an equal amount of energy.

Did you gain a newfound respect for these athletes?
Absolutely! From not knowing anything to getting fully involved and meeting riders like Ricky Carmichael and Grant Langston or Chad Reed, I gained so much respect for the athletes of the sport. The top riders have so much clarity. We interviewed Ricky once before a supercross race, and he had a high fever and wasn’t supposed to race. Yet he insisted on racing, on doing the interview and on top of that promised us he would win… and he did. I’m a huge fan of Ricky! Besides him, I like Langston and Ben Townley—I just love the riders who are easy to work with, they make our job easier!

So, tell us about the premier.
OK, it’s going to be at the Shark’s Club in Costa Mesa, and it’s starting around 7 p.m. This is actually the first time in a few years that we’ve had a premier, the reason being is that in the past we’ve always been so burnt out after the completion of the movie that we just wanted to go home and recover. But this year, I think we’ve become more adept at dealing with this intense schedule and we’ve also decided it’s time to celebrate the movie as well. So to give back to all the people who are involved in TGO—the riders, teams, managers, just everyone—we want to celebrate with them and this will be a great opportunity to do that.

Can fans attend?
Because of the limited size of the club we had to make the screening an invite-only industry event.

What can we expect in this new film?
This film is very different from last year’s. With TGO, we try to do something different every year, and this year we decided to give the fans what they’ve been asking for. We have a YouTube site, and we get a lot of feedback. This year’s movie, when you watch it you’ll see it’s very, very different. It has every pass, every holeshot—we got all 48 holeshots! So for the diehard fan who doesn’t want to miss a single bit of action, this is the movie for them. We covered the whole season so thoroughly that we couldn’t stick to a regular 60-minute film; this year it’s actually an hour and a half long because there’s so much footage.

I don’t think anyone will be complaining about that!
Yes, it’s very different and purely racing. It doesn’t have any interviews or mic’d up stuff—we’re saving that for the special edition.

When can fans get their hands on The Destroyers?
They can actually start ordering them right now on www.nofearmx.com. They’re already available.

Tell us where the movie’s title “The Destroyers” came from.
Most of our movies have a war theme because we’ve always viewed the athletes as contenders going into battle. And this year’s title refers to James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto who pretty much annihilated everyone in their path. It’s also symbolic of how we prepare for the making of the movie—it’s almost like covering a war scene and viewing an epic battle!
       Interestingly enough, half of our crew are female and I think that helps with the artistry of the movie, making it stand apart from the usual action sports film out there.

How’s the progress of the film of the 2008 Red Bull Motocross of Nations that you mentioned earlier?
It’s going well. This year we went to Donington Park in England, and it was just an incredible experience. There’s nothing like the Motocross of Nations, there’s just so much energy! The main concern is not just winning; it’s just showing your pride for both your country and the sport!

  • TGO's Troy Adamitis and Jessica Young doing their thing.
Singapore didn’t have a team, did they?
[Laughs] No, they did not have a team! We got to get something for the future!

When will that DVD be available?
The MXoN DVD Battle at Britain will be released before Christmas.

What’s next, Mahira?
Our dream is take TGO to greater heights and deliver even more to the fans. If we can attract the right support and the right sponsors, we’d love to go all out and create a movie that blows not just the fans away but the non-fans as well. That would be something!

I know it’s a big day for you, so I’ll let you get going. But on behalf of fans everywhere, I’d just like to say thank you for the great work by you and the crew. If there’s one good thing about the end of the season, it’s the fact that a new TGO is right around the corner.
Thank you very much, Billy. We appreciate it!
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