The Best Work You May Never See: Where the Buffalo Roam, Google Brand Studio Put "The Bicycling Bookseller" On The Map


Robert Goldrich
Monday, Feb. 22, 2021


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Creative production company Where the Buffalo Roam partnered with Google Brand Studio EMEA on The Bicycling Bookseller, a heartwarming story about Mattia Garavaglia, a local bookstore owner in Turin, Italy. This three-and-half-minute film is a story of hope and resilience navigating the pandemic as a small business owner – and how Google Maps helped make it happen. 

Garavaglia’s dreams of owning his own bookshop were nearly shattered when COVID-19 hit. Looking for new ways to stay connected with his customers and community, he posted a photo of himself and his bike on social media with the caption, “I’ll come to you.” Within days, Garavaglia was hand-plotting 50 delivery points around the city and spending hours on his bike. With the help of Google Maps, he was able to efficiently navigate the quickest bike routes and deliver more books in half the time. In the true spirit of camaraderie, Garavaglia also partnered with another local business, NORA Book & Coffee, to help extend their reach even further.

“We all wanted the takeaway of this film to be about hope,” said director Jonathan Zames of Where the Buffalo Roam. “We love working with Google. They always do a great job of keeping the story about the person, which allowed us to focus on Mattia’s ingenuity and passion for his community.” 

Trying to shoot an international production while under lockdown presented parallels between Garavaglia’s story of problem-solving and perseverance. Where the Buffalo Roam traveled to Turin, Italy, for the late summer production, which required a two-week quarantine before shooting began. 

Zames, Where the Buffalo Roam partner/executive producer Tim Pries, and DP David McMurry utilized the lock-in for exploring visual inspiration--everything from film to photography to lighting and lenses--while meticulously planning shoot logistics, such as location scouting, permits, and sourcing production equipment. 

“This shoot only underscored how fortunate we, like Mattia, are to keep doing what we love, even under abnormal circumstances,” concluded Zames. “To come through a big adventure at a time like this made it all the more special.”


Client Google Brand Studio EMEA Ben Malbon, sr. director, Google Marketing; Dan Germain, executive creative director; Lou Trethewey, head of production; Kelsey Conklin, creative producer; Stevie Yip, Mike Dorrance, art directors; Amy Durrant, copywriter. Production Where The Buffalo Roam, Oakland, Calif. Jonathan Zames, director; Tim Pries, exec producer; David McMurry, DP; Christine Whitney, head of production; Eden Cooney, coordinator. On-Location Production Company Panorama Films, Roma, Italy Fabio Aneto, exec producer; Ute Leonhardt, producer. Stock Footage Shutterstock, NY Erik Kinoglaz, drone footage pull; Emli Bendixen, photographer. Editorial Where The Buffalo Roam Collin Kriner, editor. Postproduction MPC, London Phil Hambi, colorist; Edwin Elkington, exec producer. VFX Where The Buffalo Roam Simon Mowbray, sr. Flame artist. Sound Design/Audio Post Jungle Studios Digital Media + Post Production, London Chris Turner, sound designer/audio engineer. Music Asche + Spencer, Minneapolis Matt Locher, exec producer.

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