Last night I attended the premier of the film Drop: My life Downhill, with my son Wolfgang. He is a fan of the sport and a talented rider in his own right. I have attended numerous launches and openings of various sorts through my life, from theatrical performances, to art openings, book launches, architectural and academic celebrations of various sorts. But what I have to liken this event to the most in my experience is an art school theatre opening. What! You are probably thinking, but hear me out.
First of all, this was a highly involved, emotionally charged cooperative project. Lots of folks had a lot invested in this film, from skating, and revealing thoughts and experiences of the sport from an insider's perspective, through to the hours (and hours) of filming and editing. This is not at all unlike the investments that people pour into theatre performances, especially when original material is being produced.
Secondly, the energy of the young people that attended the premier was so charged that they could have it could have run the equipment, or heated the building with it--should have heated the building... brrrrr. Maybe it is just a sign of my deepening middle-age, and I am making more connections than are actually present, but I will hold for now that the community of longboarders with their shared passion, openness, and uni-focus 'skate?' is again like the communities that I was a part of at that same age. How can someone eat, breath, and sleep skateboarding (dream more than sleep)? Well, I know the answer to this: easily, just ask any one of them; ask my son. It may seem extreme to me to have such a single foci, but if you had asked me when I was twenty-anything, if I would do anything that wasn't involved in art, theatre or academics (research...yes it's true, I was very passionate about this), I would have said quiet emphatically, 'it's my life, that and my kids. There is nothing else.' That would have been true, it was my community, my entertainment, my passion, my recreation.
I have to applaud the director, Marc MacCrudden for his vision and execution of this film. He has succeeded in presenting the world of longboarding in a light that it so deserves. Drop: My life downhill, is in a league of its own as far as skateboard films go. If you expect the typical 'skate porn' as described by Chris Chaput, then you will be happily surprised. Drop takes viewers into the individual experiences of some of the word's top ranking downhill and freestyle riders. The racers speak for themselves, revealing their highlights and some lowlights (ie: famous crashes or close-calls). The film is as educational as it is entertaining. One of the highlights for me was the spectacular shots of Maryhill and other winding roads. Sexy indeed.
I am looking forward to an IMAX downhill experience that looks at the entire race circuit... why not? Or how about a feature film that takes a fictional racer (with lots of techincal/ cultural advising and stunt doubling) and follows him/her (maybe a him and a her) through their training, drama, close calls, and other conflicts as they follow thier dream, and get into the big leagues. Think Billy Elliot, but not; Thrashin, but not. You know what I mean?
Way to go all that made Drop happen. You have a fan in me.