The risks and rewards of forging one’s own path were displayed Wednesday night at a screening of perhaps the most surprising film on this year’s Film Forward program of movies.
“Bones Brigade: An Autobiography” is the story about the development of modern skateboarding as told by the skateboarders who helped make the sport what it is today.
The film, directed by Stacy Peralta, tells the story about the Bones Brigade, a legendary group of skateboarders in the 1980s that redefined the image of skateboarding and how the industry works. The team came together as commercial skateboarding’s popularity was nearing an all-time low, a time when a professional skateboarder’s worth was determined by contest placings. Peralta, the team’s manager, documented the team’s skills and exploits through video.
“Stacy Peralta was the first dude to make a skate video for a team,” said Ernie Quintero, owner of Cheap Tricks Skate Shop and Strangers Bar, site of Wednesday’s screening.
“He handpicked all these dudes to be on his team. Each one contributed so much to skating by tricks and style,” Quintero added, reflecting on the team’s impact.
Videos nowadays are staples of the $2 billion skate industry, and while contests like ESPN’s X-Games draw thousands of viewers every summer, professional skateboarders no longer rely on competitions to display their skills or earn a paycheck.
True to the creative spirit embodied by the Bones Brigade and other influential skateboarders, Wednesday’s screening on Fifth Street in front of Cheap Tricks Skate Shop and Strangers Bar was more than just an opportunity to see an interesting movie.
Obstacles were set up for skateboarders to skate. The small ramp in the back of Cheap Tricks saw some particularly aggressive skating. Local rock and roll band The New Rivers played a loud and energetic set at Strangers.
Following Film Forward’s mission to foster dialogue and enhance cultural understanding, Peralta, a legendary skateboarder in his own right, answered questions from the audience.
“This is a first for me,” he began. “I’ve been arrested all my life for skateboarding in streets, for backyards, but I’ve never ever had a screening take place in the street, so this about as cool as it gets for me, so thank you very much.”
He discussed the making of the film, how old he was when he got his first skateboard, how happy he was about the evolution of skateboarding and how excited he was that all ethnicities are now represented in skateboarding.
The inclusion of a film about skateboarding on Film Forward’s lineup underscores the Bones Brigade’s impact.
“Skateboarding is a culture,” said Imperial County film commissioner Charla Teeters-Stewart. “Film Forward is all about cultural dialogue.”
Reaction to the event was enthusiastic.
“I wish they had more events like this,” said Michi Bell, an El Centro resident.
Skateboarder Jordan Mourning came from San Diego to see the film and skate the ramp.
“Peralta is an icon,” he said between runs on the ramp, when asked why he came to the screening.
Staff Writer Antoine Abou-Diwan can be reached at 760-337-3454 or email@example.com
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