The Working Man and Perfect Time’s Tad Suzuki and Thy Mai

Animal Style wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Tad Suzuki and Thy Mai. It was after I sent their first film short to my friend Tim Hugh, who runs FAAIM’s Asian American Showcase in Chicago, that he suggested I curate an entire skate video program. And now their noir-inspired “The Working Man” and hyper-colored “Perfect Time” will kick off the bill on April 14.Tad and Thy’s movies first film efforts are compact but overloaded with style, energy, craftsmanship, and love. I think they are extra infectious because they are completely self-produced and staffed by friends, including some who might be familiar to Giant Robot readers: Wing Ko, Pryor Praczukowski, and me. Each effort will make you want to go skate, make a movie, or, in my case, book a film festival program. I give the couple all the credit and massive gratitude for getting me to try something I’ve never even thought of doing before. It’s been super fun seeing it evolve and it will be a huge payoff  to see so many skate-related film projects from friends around the world in a packed theater on a big screen.

MW: I’m still wondering how I got to skate in the new video. The drop-off in talent is pretty steep between the other three guys and me…
TS: I never once felt that way, so I don’t know how to answer this question.

MW: Anyway, “Perfect Timing” was pretty awesome to begin with. Do you consider “Perfect Time” a do-over, director’s cut, remix, or what?
TM: The initial day of shooting was so great and we captured so many rad moments. After the minute-and-a-half requirement for the contest [held by Penny Skateboards], there was still so much footage we didn’t get to show. I remember being excited when Pryor said to not be bummed that we had to cut some things for the spec because we could just do a long-form version for ourselves. That gave us time to gather more footage and tell a more complete story. Always fun to add a female component, too.
TS: Thy pretty much said it how it is. It was kinda like what an excellent day of shooting can turn into…

MW: Is DTLA really as awesome as you make it look?
TS: Heck, yes!  That’s what makes “Perfect Time” a perfect time! You really can get around DTLA on your board. That’s what’s great about it.
TM: It better be! It’s our favorite bubble at the moment.

MW: The reference to Thrasher‘s classic “Why Can’t My Boyfriend Skate?” shirt and cameo of SOTY Salman Agah in “Perfect Time” are like cool inside jokes for skaters. Anything else we should know about?
TS: While the piece is fun and incorporates humor, I think we’re paying homage vs. making jokes for insiders. Just sharing the skate culture, and not holding anything back from the audience. I think the dog barking during Methvin’s intro when he skates off is cute. And I like when you say whatup to Salman during your intro as the both of you skate by. Those little natural moments in filming are great.
TM: Well, Pizzanista! and Salman are no joke. They are serious business! The funniest was the gnarly rat tail Tad was rocking!

MW: Two shorts in four months is pretty good. What can we expect in May?
TM: Sunshine and a big screening of “The Working Man” in L.A.
TS: What she said.

Animal Style will show on Saturday, April 14 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. It’s rumored to start at 3:00 p.m. and I’ll let you know more as I find out. See also: Skateboarding Is Love’s Nigel Ong.