The 5th Catalyst – The Extreme/X Games – 1995By the early 1990’s, skateboarding was in free-fall and the industry tried to figure out what had caused the crash. In a meeting in January of 1994, a group of skateboard executives pointed out the obvious:
- Too many pros
- Not enough diversity – too much emphasis on street skateboarding
- Too much focus on the hardcore skaters – not enough focus on fun for all By 1995, ESPN 2 had launched the Extreme Games and while some in the skateworld bemoaned its commercial sensibilities, there was no question this was going to impact skateboarding. The visibility was huge and Tony Hawk (after a decade and half of being a pro) finally got the fame he so richly deserved. By 1999, skateboarding was on fire once again. The focus was mostly on street skateboarding, with a bit of vert and transition. On the horizon was another genre within skateboarding – Longboarding and in 1999, I launched the publication International Longboarder.
The 6th Catalyst – Dogtown and Z Boys Documentary – 2001Although this film was released in 2001 at the Sundance Film Festival, it didn’t get major attention until 2002. The film features the dramatic stories of skate pioneers the Z Boys and was the breakout hit at Sundance . The film was the first time that skateboarding’s rich cultural history was explored and it lit a fuse. The documentary effortlessly meshed the Southern California surf experience with the punk rock ethos that dominated the late 1970’s skate world. Four years after its release, Vans (who had helped finance the film) found itself on a complete rebound financially. It opened up people’s eyes to the roots of different types of riding and captured people’s imagination. It brought in a lot of former skaters and sparked tremendous interest in the history of skateboarding.
Made In Venice is a documentary, directed and produced by Jonathan Penson. It features the inside story of the skateboarders of Venice, California, and their struggle to make the dream of a skatepark come true. The film is now being released nationally by award-winning indie distributor, Abramorama, following its sold out L.A. premiere. Watch a preview here: This feature-length documentary carries the viewer through the history of Venice to present day, as it tells the story of the decades it took a relentless crew of skateboarders, surfers and civic activists to convince the City of Los Angeles to build a skatepark in the area that gave birth to modern skateboarding. Made In Venice is not just a skate movie. It’s a tale of audacity, guts and hope filled with counterculture characters that overcame all obstacles to claim victory. Anyone that has fought for what they want can identify with this film. This is the story of visionaries that refused to give up the goal to build concrete terrain for future generations.The film captures the firsthand stories of 40-plus years of skateboarding in Venice that started with the Z-Boys, and continued with its legendary street skaters and the iconic Venice Skatepark. Never-before-seen Super-8 and early video footage, along with rare black and white stills, take you back to innovative demos on the Boardwalk and skating the walls of the Pavilion, as the Venice skaters pushed the boundaries of street skating and put it on the global map.As Dogtown and Z-Boys author and skateboarding’s resident historian, C.R. Stecyk III says, “Made In Venice is a step by step manifesto for skate/civic activism. It is a remarkable documentation of hard working visionary individuals transforming society.”Made In Venice features appearances by skateboarding legends, professionals, skatepark activists, skate icons and heroes: Jesse Martinez, Geri Lewis, Christian Hosoi, C.R. Stecyk III, Skip Engblom, Jay Adams, Jeff Ho, Aaron Murray, Scott Oster, Cesario “Block” Montano, Jim Muir, Tim Jackson, Ray Flores, Eddie Reategui, Eric Britton, Dave Duncan, David Hackett, Joey Tran, Pat Ngoho, Wally Hollyday, Jimbo Quaintance, Joff Drinkwater, Nathan Pratt, Solo Scott, Jamie Quaintance, Asher Bradshaw, Kiko Francisco and many more. madeinvenicemovie.com