My curated program of skate shorts had its third and final showing at the San Diego Asian Film Festival on Saturday afternoon, and it still hasn’t gotten old. Having skateboarding-related or -inspired videos made by friends alongside indie flicks like Daylight Savings and old-school kung-fu classics like Five Fingers of Death is not only cool but important. It puts a niche genre into a larger context, and hopefully exposes skate video junkies to other forms of moving pictures while turning on film festival folks to the energy and aesthetics of skateboarding. (Above, left to right: Me, Wing Ko, Tad Suzuki, Eric Matthies, Ben Clark, Willy Santos.)
The best thing about editing Giant Robot magazine was being able to share the rad things that friends do. And make new friends that do rad things. That’s how I feel about my first sizable “solo” project, assembling (and sometimes even participating in) excellent shorts that friends have created and then complementing them with works by new friends. So while the Animal Style (Chicago) and Son of Animal Style (Honolulu, San Diego) skate video programs have given my crew an outlet for their hard work, they have provided me with fodder to keep engaged, keep pushing culture.
And is there a better place to do it than the Hawaii International Film Festival? No other fest balances East and West, high and low, or big budget and indie like HIFF. And while it makes sense for the latest iteration of the Animal Style program to show alongside the long-awaited Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, it’s even cooler that it is on the same roster as Cloud Atlas, Tai Chi 0, and The King of Pigs. It puts skateboard movies in the same conversation as “real” cinema. And with guys like Spike Jonze, Mike Mills, Jason Lee, and even Sam Lee coming from the world of skateboarding, why not?