13 Filmmakers, 145 Skaters, 1 Video.
I have to admit that the decision to choose the film as my third October movie cube is weird, not only is the concept reminds me more of a compilation (or an anthology if you will) rather than a documentary. I choose the film as an extension of my fascination to skateboarding culture after watching Germany docufiction This Ain’t California (2013), on German Film Festival earlier this year. But when i found it on iTunes store when i was looking for a Sports documentary, i can’t help but to be intrigued.
Despite categorized as a documentary, this video resembled a compilation of shorts instead. Each filmmakers have a different approach in their features. I have a slight apprehensiveness at the excessive use of Fish Eye lens that were used in almost all video. Some pieces are wonderfully made, while others just felt slightly too lackadaisical, and most felt very amateurish. While all filmmakers manage to convey vibrancy and the exhilarating thrill of skateboarding culture they manage to choose different facets to highlight. Some did footages of various skaters, others such as Chris Ray (who chose Evan Smith as his object) focus on one figure in particular or one team as subject of their video. Dan Wolfe filmed Denis Busenitz with Real Team riders. Alien Workshop did a powerful montage that feature the Alien team. Chris Middlebrook did a focus on all-Australian section to showcase his pride of his nationality. Torsten Frank did a fusion between montage and short interviews to Mark Gonzales, Chewy Canyon, and Lem Villemin about them and skateboarding shot in three separate Europe cities.
I have a few favorites among the videos, even if i’m clueless who are featured in them nor am i familiar with the tricks whatsoever. RB Umali’s piece focus on the Zoo York team as they rip through concrete jungle and structural landscape of New York. His piece reminds me of a line from This Ain’t California, where one of the characters remarks how the entire city is skaters playground. Zooming through sidewalks, hopping on concrete blocks and fountains and stairs, i feel the film represented that very ideal of the skateboarding culture. Mark Manzoori took a different approach by shooting entirely at night. It begins and end at sunset and sunrise respectively, showing various riders doing their tricks shrouded in nocturnal darkness already made the film stood out among the rest for its setting alone. My absolute favorite however, is a piece by Russell Houghten. Accompanied by musical accompaniment of strings instruments called ‘Open Horizon’ by Richard Houghten, already give the piece an oddly compelling juxtaposition. Craftily edited in post production, Houghten combined the cultures against a contrasting time-lapse backdrop, giving each scene a sense of momentum and captured moments that i found so beautiful. It was just lovely!
Even if as a person who is (clearly) clueless about the culture and does not associate with it at all, i found The Cinematographer Project to be quite compelling to watch. Like any anthology-type films there are weaker piece, this one have a lot of pieces that stood out for their creative contents. I truly enjoyed those that i liked :)
The Cinematographer Project (2012)
GENRE Sports, Documentary
DIRECTOR Torsten Frank, Bill Strobeck, Mike Manzoori, Chris Ray, Brennan Conroy, Dan Wolfe, RB Umali, Beagle, Lee Dupont, Christopher Middlebrook, Russel Houghten, Alien Workshop | PRODUCER Jon Holland | STUDIO Transworld Skateboarding | RUNNING TIME 72 minutes | RELEASE March 30th, 2012
STARRING Mark Gonzales, Chewy Cannon, Lem Villemin, Jake Duncombe, Lewis Marnell, Dane Burman. Evan Smith, Nick Boserio, Dennis Busenitz, Justin Brock, Peter Ramondetta, Ishod Wair, James Hardy, Jamie Tancowny, Lizard, Theotis Beasley, Figgy, Tyler Surrey, Wes Kremer, Jamie Palmore, Jimmy Cao, Alex Olson, Dylan Rieder, Arto Saari, Tom Karangelov, Silas Baxter-Neal, Stefan Janoski, Mark Suciu, Jose Rojo, Kyle Leeper, Rodrigo TX, Brandon Westgate, Chaz Ortiz, Eli Reed, Pat Duffy, Kyle Berard, Matt Mumford, Danny Dicola, Gilbert Crocket, Jake Johnson