Even though I was the designated “curator” of Saturday afternoon’s Animal Style skate video program at FAAIM’s annual film festival, there was still some room for surprise. I had actually never seen Chiayo!, the third video released by the preduce shops/crew from Bangkok. But I had a feeling it would totally rip just like its predecessors, and that is exactly what happened. Loosely framed by a self-deprecating bachelor party theme that channels the spirit of the Bones Brigade, it shows shredding from all over Thailand, China, and even the United States. Next-level skating, crazy style, and amazing scenery leads up to Lert Saeri absolutely killing it in the final sequence. And if that weren’t enough, there’s a totally rad ’80s Thai new wave soundtrack on top of that!
Sometime last year, an artful and amazing indie skate short was rejected by the International Skateboard Film Festival. My friends who made it were philosophical, but I was pissed. What was the point of calling for–and charging for–entries to such an event if it was just going to screen industry-backed skate vids (which receive big-budget premieres anyway)?
So I was motivated to hit up my friend Tim, who programs the Asian American Showcase for FAAIM in Chicago. He liked the piece a lot, and suggested that I assemble an entire program of skate videos. I thought about it and realized that I had other friends with works that had not been seen, realized, or shown in the U.S. This was a good opportunity to help get their work out.
After months of correspondence/hounding via email, the lineup has been finalized and the screenings will take place on Saturday, April 14 at the Gene Siskel Center. Tim asked me to summarize the films for festival purposes, and I thought I’d share them with you, too. What do you think? Any chance we’ll meet in Chicago? Got a screen where you’d like to show it? Let me know!