Documentaries are a weird cinema genre, indeed. Why is that? The premise is simple: you take footage in real time and space of something you want to register as ‘reality’. Say you explore in our case skateboard communities and you want to capture the everyday life of everyone who is in the group and how they feel about skateboarding; you take your camera and say to them to act natural. Now, do they ‘act natural’ at all when they’re aware that they’re been filmed? Most likely, not. This paradox teaches us that no matter how unbiased and objective we seek to be, our instruments and interference in other people’s intimate worlds taints any real pretension of realism. This however should not stop us from trying to get a glimpse of their realities, with all the colors and scents that come with it. That is why we insist to breed these doors of perceptions, these documentaries that can at least give us a faint trail to follow something that may be totally oblivious if it stands alone without any record.
5. STOKED: The Rise and Fall of Gator (2003)
Directed by Helen Stickler, the documentary follows the life and career of pro skater Mark ‘Gator’ Rogowski; once a champion and a highly respected icon of skateboarding in the 80’s and 90’s, achieving popularity in the media and well-renowned triumphs until his struggles with alcohol and mental instability led him to rape and murder the former girlfriend of one of his closest friends. The crime, scandal and judgment are seen through various perspectives, where the shock of the facts deeply affect the persons who were close to Gator, now serving sentence in prison for the rest of his days.
4. The Motivation (2013)
Directed by Adam Bhala Lough, the footage follows eight pro skaters that train and mentally prepare for the Street League Skateboarding Championship in New York City. The humane side of each of them is portrayed very sincerely, showing their ambitions, goals, hopes and fears, displaying to us that no matter how professional and good you are at something, there will be always that creeping fear of failing and the sacrifices you must assume to make your dreams come true. The film stars pro skaters such as Steve Berra, Eric Koston, Ryan Sheckler, P-Rod and Nyjah Huston, among others.
3. Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine (2017)
Directed by Patrick O'Dell, the film focuses on the scandalous underground and infamous skateboarding magazine ‘Big Brother’ that achieved notorious attention for its obscene, uncensored and subversive content which boomed in the 90’s. The dark humor, vulgarity and political incorrectness that the magazine used as tropes is remembered by pro skaters and stunt performers of MTV’s Jackass crew alike.
2. Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi (2006)
Directed by Cesario Montano, the portrait of pro skater Christian Hosoi that gave his life to skateboarding culture, one which influenced a large percentage of the global community during the apogee in the 80’s. His life however would be tarnished by drug possession and later trafficking that led to his imprisonment. The documentary follows his new life after receiving parole and becoming a Born-Again Christian and a family man who seeks to recover his life back.
1. We Are Blood (2015)
Directed by Ty Evans, the script follows the adventures of a group of pro skaters that embark on a world journey to find the true essence of skateboarding. Starring Chris ‘Cookie’ Colbourn, P-Rod, Clive Dixon and Tiago Lemos among others, the main plot of the film is an epic footage of how skateboarding and friendship can defy any cultural and national borders by integrating any man and woman with a skateboard to the ever-growing community.