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.
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 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!
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.
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.