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And the 2009 X-Dance Winners Are…

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

x-dance

Tonight concluded the X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival with the awards ceremony that was hosted by Transworld Surf Editor, Chris Cote. It was a great party to end a great event and you really have to hand it to the wonderful crew responsible for putting on an amazing event. That and it’s really great for someone to recognize all the hard work that goes into making these films, both from the athletes and the filmmakers. Here are this year’s winners…

Best Editing
Uniquely

Best Cinematography
That’s It That’s All

Best Soundtrack
Archy

Best Short-Film
Looking Through the B-Sides

Best Adventure Film
The Sharp End

Best Original Score
Chasing Waves

Best Core Movie
Reasons

Green Ambassador Award
Jeremy Jones

Best Documentary
Between the Lines

Best Biography
Clay Marzo: Just Add Water

Best Emerging Filmmaker
Chasing Waves

Athlete of the Year
Travis Rice

Best Director
The Fine Line (they didn’t announce the name of the director)

Best Film of the Year
Surprise-Surprise… That’s It That’s All
(Can we just change this category to the best film in the history of ever?)

I’d like to personally thank the crew behind X-Dance for having us out here to cover the show. We look forward to coming again next year.

X-Dance Day 1 Recap
X-Dance Day 2 Recap
X-Dance Day 3 Recap

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X-Dance Film Festival Day 3

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

x-dance film festival

Yet another strong line up at X-Dance yesterday that also included a very informative panel discussion with some industry media big wigs. The highlight of the night was definitely Shaun White’s new movie, Don’t Look Down.

X-Dance Institute Filmmakers Panel
The panel was moderated by X-Dance Director, Brian Wimmer, and included Shon Tomlin from Fuel TV, Chris Cote from Transworld Surf, Mick Hamilton from Transworld Snow, Eric Barrett from X-Dance, and Michael Starivan from Bonnier Corp. Most of the discussion was focused around piracy issues. It’s obviously a huge problem as Brain mentioned that Bra Boys lost over $800k from piracy issues alone. Surprisingly, most of the media guys are realizing there is nothing they can do to stop piracy so they’re focusing on ways to monetize beyond DVD sales. Some are even embracing it by spreading the content out there themselves, which makes sense because at least this way it can be tracked and monitored. It’s going to get out there anyways, right.

Another key takeaway from this discussion was from Eric. He’s also a producer for commercials and he said that two years ago, only about 5% of his clients were working on commercials for the internet, now it’s around 60%.

Rip City
The first movie I made it to was Rip City, a film that tells the story of Portland through the eyes of eight skaters who live in Portland. This was an excellent film and I noticed in the credits that it’s associated with Fuel TV. I haven’t heard anything about it airing on there yet, but I’d watch for that. What impressed me most about this film was that it was shot completely on a DV cam, not HD. One of our contributors, Caleb, is actually from Portland so I’m going to send him my copy of this disc so that he can review more in depth at a later time. Makes sense, considering he’s a part of that scene and all. Great story though.

Between the Lines
Some of our readers may know of Scott Bass. He’s the dude down at Cardiff Reef who likes to pull sharks out of the water with his bare hands, or so the legend goes. He’s also one of the main producers of this epic movie which tells the story of several surfers during the Vietnam War era who struggle with the decision of going off to fight in a war or dodging the draft to stay behind and live the dream. I totally respect the decision of anyone that refused to fight in that war, regardless of what the law was back then. That’s a choice and a freedom that all of us should have and can’t think of anything more pointless than two dudes killing each other. If you’re looking for raw surf footage to get amped for a sesh, this movie isn’t for you. But if you want to hear a very interesting story about a very controversial topic that’s told from several points of view, I guarantee this film will satisfy. It’s a movie that every surfer should see at least once.

Inside Teahupoo
‘Chopes is a fascinating wave, whether you surf or not. And this is a fascinating movie about Teahupoo that follows Jaime O, Ian Walsh, Raimana, and other big wave surfers as they test out Red Bull’s revolutionary 360 degree camera. Add to it, one of the biggest swells in five years and it’s on for one of the meanest and heaviest waves in the world. Now this is a movie that’s chuck full of raw surfing footage that will amp just about anyone. And next time you complain about getting pounded by a little 4-footer, just turn this on and watch Maya Gabeira get crushed by a few of Teahupoo’s gnarliest. And yet she keeps going back for more. Check out the site Red Bull put together to see some of the footage of Inside Teahupoo.

Shaun White: Don’t Look Down
Definitely the highlight of the night. Unfortunately, Shaun didn’t make an appearance but that didn’t stop this from being an awesome screening. Shaun is such an incredible athlete and in my opinion, deserves to be up there with the likes of Kelly Slater, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and the other greats. This is a documentary style film that follows Shaun around for a whole year. Everything from not winning (for once) at Winter X, to traveling to Africa to chill with the locals, to winning the gold at X-Games skate vert, to the business side of Shaun. It’s a tale of both the ups and downs and it’s really incredible to get inside the mind of such an amazing human being that excels at everything he does. His competitive drive is second to none. The only thing this film lacked was footage of Shaun freeriding, which I guess he doesn’t really get to do much of anyways as it’s too much of an injury risk. That’s something we’d all like to see more of from Shaun in the future. This DVD is a must buy.

The Don’t Look Down screening was followed by an after party put on by X-Games. Not much to say but more open bar and good times.

Day 1 coverage of X-Dance.
Day 2 coverage of X-Dance.

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X-Dance Film Festival: Day 2

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Yesterday wrapped up another wonderful day at X-Dance. The obvious highlight of the day was the screening for That’s It That’s All. I was especially stoked to see it on the big screen and apparently I’m not the only one as it was literally standing room only with people stacked out the doors.

There were also plenty of other good films throughout the day that you can read about below.

Whitewash
Whitewash is a documentary that aims to tell the story of the history of black surfers. I made a special point to show up for this screening as I had met one of the producers that night before that sold me on the storyline of this film, which did an exceptional job detailing not only the history of black surfers but black aquatics all around. Add to that, narration by Ben Harper and a soundtrack by The Roots, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a compelling movie. I honestly have never given much thought to the state of black surfers and maybe that’s just because I don’t really look at it as a black and white issue, instead as either a surfer or non surfer. Or maybe it’s just not something I am consciously looking for. I’m sure I will be now though. One thing that really stood out about this movie was that the director is actually white. When asked what the inspiration for the film was he attributed it to the way he was raised, calling his family “socially conscious”. The director also said the inspiration was to “explore the complexity of race through the eyes of the ocean.”

Storm Surfers
Pretty much from the start of this movie I was thinking, this is going to end up as a show on Discovery Channel, guaranteed. You could just tell by the way Storm Surfers was made and it was confirmed by Ross Clarke-Jones who said it’s actually already been airing on Discovery Asia Pacific. That’s not a bad thing. The movie was actually really really good. It follows Ross Clarke-Jones and fellow nut-case, Tom Carroll, as they set out to surf a gnarly big wave in Tasmania that’s never been surfed before. I am telling you, these guys are absolutely nuts and it was super enjoyable to watch them and their energy as they tracked this beast. Especially Ross, he’s on a whole other level of nuts. The wave actually turned out to be a little disappointing but the adventure and science behind it all, made for a compelling show anyways. It was awesome that Ross made it all the way out for this screening and had some great stories to tell. Like getting smacked by the lip of a gnarly wave that’s left him sidelined for the last 3 months. They’re also after a new wave in BC they found on Google maps, but I’m not going to be the one to out the name of it. Oh, and to attest to Ross’s nutty-ness… He actually said he likes falling on big waves and compared it to the excitement of a ride at the amusement park. Umm, sure thing.

Hunting Yeti
Hunting Yeti is a ‘break from the norm of pro athletes hitting jump after jump with contrived lifestyle segments, and communicates what ski culture is and the community it creates.’ We’ve actually been following the Hunti Yeti webisodes since last winter when they first starting airing. The number one thing that stood out about this movie to me was the soundtrack. Awesome song selections and order that flowed from stop to finish. Add to that the timeless styles of Eric Pollard, Chris Benchleter, Pep Fujas, and Andy Mahre and you’re pretty much on point for a ski movie that will be watched again, and again, and again. Great mix of freestyle and backcountry skiing.

Waterman
If you put Laird Hamilton, Gerry Lopez, Rob Machado, Dave Kalama, and the Malloy Brothers on a boat in the Mentawais that’s filled with various wave sliding devices, you’re going to end up with a film filled with flawless barrels, good stories, and plenty of new ways to ride the waves next time conditions aren’t ideal for your standard thruster. I was a little skeptical before I first watched this movie. I guess I just wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Laird being the main guy behind it. I could see it going two ways, either a complete commercial surf movie for the masses or something that true waterman could connect with. It was the latter. Perfect amounts of both epic action and story telling. And when it’s these guys telling the stories, you shut up a listen. What a great reminder of why we love the ocean so much and base our lives around it.

That’s It That’s All
I have so much to say about this screening I am actually going to end up writing a separate post about it. Lets just say that an already mind blowing action sports film is taken to a whole other level when you watch it on the big screen. I invited about 10 friends up to this screening who don’t even snowboard, some of who don’t even participate in action sports, yet, every single one of them could not believe what they were seeing. Travis Rice, Jeremy Jones, Scotty Lago, and Director, Curtis Morgan showed up as well and gave a great Q&A session afterwards. Look for the separate write up in the next day or so that will be filled with some juicy info. I had the chance to have in depth conversation with both Travis and Curtis as well, so I’ll share some of that as well.

That’s It That’s All Party
The night ended with another great party. This time put on by VAS Entertainment and That’s It That’s All. The free booze were flowing and lots of pro athletes were on hand to entertain.

I wish I could write a little more but I’m already late for some of the screenings today. On my way back for another 7 hour marathon session of action sports films. If you’re in the Salt Lake City area and you haven’t been attending the show, you’re missing out. But it’s not too late, we still have two more days of great films so get your ass down to X-Dance at 272 S. Main in Salt Lake.

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X-Dance Film Festival: Day 1

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

You have to hand it to the organizers of the X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival. Putting on a single showing is hard enough in itself. Putting on a whole festival, with many shows over many days, and doing it well, is a huge feat.

Yesterday was the first of five days of the festival. I had the pleasure of sitting through a total of six movies, of which I will give a brief overview of each below. But first, I just want to encourage anyone in the Salt Lake City area to make it out the film festival. If you’re an action sports junkie as we are, then this is pretty much like heaven. Most people might think sitting through 7-hours of films is a little much but I actually left last night wanting more, and I’m stoked to go back for more today.

Forum or Against’Em
I was actually a little late to Forum of Against’Em so I’m sure I missed some good stuff. There’s a lot of urban riding in this film and although very impressive and innovative, that’s not exactly my cup of tea. The segment that really blew me away though was Jake Blauvelt’s. Jake has pretty much shunned all forms of riding except backcountry. He himself said “I have a rule, if it takes for than 5 minutes to build it, screw it.” Meaning that he’s all about natural backcountry hits. His segment was incredible and worth watching the film alone. Soundtrack on this movie was awesome too.

Archy
Wow! What an incredible movie. One of the best surfing movies I’ve ever seen. Archy has been on my ‘to watch’ list for some time now but for whatever reason, I hadn’t seen it yet. My bad. I’m ordering this DVD right away! Archy tells the amazing story of Matt Archibold. It’s a story that’s hard to understand without watching the film and hearing the real story from the perspective of Matt, his friends, and his idols. One of the most gifted surfers ever, Matt was thrust into the limelight at an early age. By the age of 15, Matt was making top dollar, had dropped out of school, and was living a life that consisted of not much other than partying and surfing. The movie goes on to tell his story that is filled with ups-and-downs, drug addictions, comebacks, fame, pro surfing tours, freesurfing, and much more. This is a must watch.

A couple notables from the Q&A session with Director Bill Ballard from Billy Goat Productions. Most importantly, he’s been hired by Volcom to film a Bruce Irons movie this year. Bruce is one of the best free surfers in the world and we will all eagerly wait for this next film.

I Ride Park City
Again, this is a movie that I showed up a little late to so I missed some good action. Unfortunately, I missed Shaun White’s part, which I heard was the best. While enjoyable, there’s nothing really that exciting that stood out about this movie. It does a great job of showcasing Park City’s many parks, pipes, features, etc. What it doesn’t do a good job showcasing is Park City’s big mountain terrain. PC actually has some really good terrain and I think they should have done a better job showing that. I will say, that I think Park City has done a fabulous job with their park over the years. I remember only about 10 years ago when none of the resorts in Utah had anything that could be considered a decent park. While other resorts around the world where building world-class terrain parks, Utah seemed content living on their legacy of having the best snow on earth. That’s great and all, but what about the majority of days when there isn’t a foot of fresh? PC has stepped it up in a back way over the years and now boosts one of the best parks (and teams) in the world. Still a great movie.

Chasing Waves
Chasing Waves is the story about Dede Suryana, the ripper from Indo. The film tells the story of Dede’s struggle to become the first Asian to qualify for the WCT, something he is still trying to accomplish. In my opinion, he has the talent but I think it must be hard for someone to compete on that level that’s grown up in a non-competitive environment. While a really good, compelling, movie, I think there was a lack of actual surfing footage. Dede’s hails from the land of flawless tubes and I would have liked to see more footage of him killing it on his home waves. This was the directors first film though and he actually started it as a hobby. So taking that into consideration, he did a hell of a job. Dede also came all the way from Indo to support this film showing, now that’s rad!

And Now
Transworld’s latest skate flick, And Now, was next up. This is a sick skate flick and Richie Jackson’s segment alone will absolutely blow your socks off. I am not kidding. Some of the most stylish, creative, and technical skating I’ve ever seen. I’m still shocked by some of the stuff he pulled off. Plus, he’s got a really dope mustache. The soundtrack flowed super well, too. One of the better soundtracks of the day, in my opinion. The directors talked about how they tried to film a lot of this movie in hi-def but actually had to format it in standard-def. The close up shots of skateboarding movies makes filming in hi-def super hard, apparently. They did promise to figure it out in the future though. And Now is another must own.

One Track Mind
One Track Mind, from the Malloy Bothers, is another movie that’s been on my ‘to watch’ list but I still hadn’t seen it, for whatever reason. Again, what the hell was I waiting for? Like Archy, I would put this film up there as one of the best surfing movies I’ve ever seen. The cinematography, unique camera angles, soundtrack, surfing, and perspective from THE best surfers all come together to make one super awesome surf flick. Dane Reynolds is a funny mofo too, he had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. This is another DVD that I’m ordering right away.

Transworld Party
What’s a festival without a killer after party? Thanks to the boys over at Transworld for hosting a wonderful after party that was filled with beautiful women, open bar, and great conversation with the best filmmakers and producers in the biz. The atmosphere was great and I’d like to personally thank Scotty for showing us all his awesome dance moves and footwork.

Today is shaping up to be another incredible day at X-Dance. The line up of films for today looks incredible and I’m especially stoked to see That’s It That’s All on the big screen. I’ve even been calling up everyone I know, lots who don’t even ride, to come check out that movie. I honestly think the winner of this festival was over before it started as I can’t imagine any of the films beating out That’s It That’s All. It’s the best action sports movie ever, in my opinion. Last but not least, word on the street is that Travis Rice will be there tonight.

If you’re in the Salt Lake area make sure you make it out today. I’m headed up there right now so make sure you check back tomorrow for another recap.

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X-DANCE ACTION SPORTS FILM FESTIVAL SHOWCASES WORLD’S BEST IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH JANUARY 16-20, 2009

Monday, January 5th, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gold medalist Shaun White catching big air in Japan and skateboard black top in Rwanda. Waterman Laird Hamilton charging waves and surfing colossal barrels in the heart of Indonesia. Travis Rice snowboarding in epic backcountry. It’s all part of the 9th annual X-Dance Film Festival this January in Salt Lake. As the festival continues to grow in popularity and world acclaim, action sports filmmakers and athletes from the around the globe will trek to Salt Lake City to show their latest cinematic gems that fuel the massive actions sports culture.

Running side-by-side with the Sundance Film Festival, the 9th annual X-Dance Festival will be held in Salt Lake City on January 16-20, 2009. The festival headquarters and screening room are located at the Off-Broadway Theater (272 South Main Street). For four days X-Dance will screen 35 of the finest films in adventure and action sports spotlighting Snowboarding, Skiing, Surfing, Mountain Biking, MotoCross, Skateboarding, Rockclimbing, and Kayaking. Engaging Q&A sessions follow each screening giving the audience the chance to meet the filmmakers and icons from their favorite sports.

The world-class festival brings together cutting-edge bands, top DJS, entertainment executives, action sport industry bigwigs to honor the heroes from each sport and the filmmakers who tell their stories. Salt Lake has embraced the festival as its own as X-Dance enters its second year based in downtown SLC. Scott Beck, president & CEO of the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau, declares, “On the heels of Salt Lake’s successful hosting of the action sports AST Dew Tour’s largest event ever, the marriage of action sports and Salt Lake will once again be energized by the 2009 X-Dance film festival. It is always great to be part of a successful team. Hosting X-Dance in Salt Lake strengthens the incredible position of Salt Lake as the epicenter of Action Sports. Having the endorsement of the industry’s leading Film Festival ensures Salt Lake’s place as the epicenter of year-round outdoor recreational opportunities. We are thrilled to have X-Dance back in Salt Lake City for a second year.”

Film Festival director Brian Wimmer adds, “Action Sports, a multi-billion dollar a year industry that grows exponentially each year, has found its MECCA. X-Dance is thrilled to have landed in Salt Lake City, a perfect playground, location and audience with its population of extremely active outdoor youth culture. Mix Sundance with the Action Sports Mecca of Utah and you get the perfect storm of the X-Dance Film Festival. No other event on earth harnesses the creative energy of adrenaline culture and brings it together.”

The 5-day festival will include:

Screenings open to the Public of top action sports films from industry stalwarts like Matchstick, VAS, Teton Gravity Research, Quiksilver, Red Bull, Altnerna Films, Poor Boyz, Oakley, Transworld, and Billygoat Productions, as well as noteworthy work by emerging talent and world premieres. Screenings run Friday, January 16th through Monday, January 19th from noon to 10p.m. at the Off-Broadway Theater (272 South Main St.) located across from the Gallivan Trax stop. Street parking or use the Wells Fargo and Tower lots. Tickets are $7 per movie ($5 for students) or $40 for a 4-day pass ($25 for students). Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Off-Broadway Box Office. www.theobt.com or call 801-355-4628. The X-Dance film schedule is listed on the website: www.x-dance.com.

Open forums for question and answer sessions after each screening with filmmakers and featured athletes.

Several world premieres like the film “Swift Silent Deep” about the Jackson Hole Airforce by Akita Productions, and “Reasons” by award-winning filmmaker Johnny Decesare of Poor Boyz Productions

X-Dance Awards Ceremony and Closing Party will be held on Tuesday, January 20st at 7p.m. Industry stars and celebrities join bands and DJs to celebrate the best in action sports filmmaking, while the extraordinary VJ, Brien Pullman, transforms the enormous room into a mesmerizing, wall-to-wall montage of action sports imagery. Located at Elevate: 155 West 200 South; www.hotelelevate.com For more details please go to www.x-dance.com.

Athletes expected to attend the festival: Shaun White, Travis Rice, Scott Schmidt, Jeremy Jones, and Laird Hamilton.

Sponsor Sailor Jerry’s Rum will present a special screening on Monday, January 19th. The award winning feature film “Hori Smoku” the roots of American tattooing through the life of its most iconoclastic figure, Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, the father of modern day tattooing. Screening will be held at 10p.m. on Monday, January 19th at Off-Broadway Theater (272 South Main St.) located across from the Gallivan Trax stop. Street parking or use the Wells Fargo and Tower lots.

SPONSORS:

Now in its 9th year, the X-Dance festival has become the focal point for the action sports creative community. We are pleased to announce our 2009 sponsors.

Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sailor Jerry’s Rum, ESPN, Good Vibes For You Water, Cristaux International, Mirror Films, Fiber Skateboarding and Numa Tactical.

For more information please check out the X-Dance website: www.x-dance.com

or contact Media Director: Ann Wycoff at 310-291-1255.

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New Emissions of Light and Sound wins at X-DANCE

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

With a rocking X-DANCE festival charged with 40 plus quality films from all action sports and theater attendance that was wall to wall, New Emissions of Light and Sound came away with a nomination for best cinematography and won the award for best original score. Globe partnered up with world-renowned electronica DJ SASHA to create an audio-visual experience like nothing the surf world has ever seen. Featuring Taj Burrow, CJ and Damien Hobgood, and Nathan Webster among others, New Emissions of Light and Sound strays from many of your typical surf films and uses it’s own unique style to bring a one of a kind experience to the films viewers. With DJ Sasha on tour, Co- director and Editor of the film, George Manzanilla, accepted the award stating that “Sasha would be stoked” as he held the award high above his head.

Check out the trailer below…

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X-Dance Short Film Festival

Monday, January 14th, 2008

At the same time that all of Hollywood moves in to “grace” Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah with their presence for the Sundance Film Festival, the action sports industry throws their version of the event with the X-Dance Action Sports Short-Film Festival.

Launched initially in 2001, the X-Dance Festival has been working to continue the progression of action sports film-making while recognizing and celebrating the achievements of both athletes and filmmakers. X-Dance puts an emphasis on the importance of story, recognizing innovative work that pushes the limits of both style and narration.

Voting for the festival’s entries actually began on January 4th. Anyone who wants to view the entries and give their say on which films impressed them can do so by going to Nossatv.com. Once there, head over to the X-Dance 2008 channel to view and then rate each film on a 1-5 scale. It doesn’t take much time and by doing do you help decide this years winner of the X-Dance Short Film Festival. The winner is then given a fully paid trip to Los Angeles to meet with the industries top names. Last years winner, Constantine Papanicolaou, ended up with full financial backing to film “Show and Prove”, featuring Tanner Hall and C.R. Johnson.

The Grand-Prize winner will be announced at the closing party on January 23 at The Depot in Salt Lake City. The festivities should be off the wall and one lucky filmmaker will be the recipient of a career changing break.

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