What’s the inspiration?
I’ll risk sounding corny and old here. Be it books or sex or skateboarding, I think that young kids are discovering all sorts of things cheaply on the glowing screen. I wanted to go the opposite route, absurdly opposite even. So I attempted to create a moment of pure chance where, in the right place at the right time, a worthy little kid discovers skateboarding as part of some cosmic coincidence.
How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been writing for a while. This was my first time writing and directing a film. It’s hard, but it’s mad fun.
How long have you been living in NY? What’s skating like there?
I’m from Manhattan, 26 years. I feel like it’s hard to talk about skating NY without regurgitating something that’s been said 100 times over. Everything you heard – it’s all true.
Who’s the kid?
The kid’s name is Phoenix Cortes. I found him through word of mouth – “yo my friend’s friend’s girl knows a bartender with an 8 year old” kinda thing. He’s the coolest most mischievous little kid. He’s pretty much Dennis the Menace which was just what I needed.
Who’s the skater?
On a tight budget film, we needed someone really good that was going to land each trick first or second try so I used Bogdan Dyzurak, a Ukrainian kid from Sunset Park who skates for SHUT Skateboards. He’s just one of those kids that’s got a really good push. Plus, the only thing he asked for throughout the two-day shoot was three tall boys of Budweiser. What you see on film is just a fraction of what Bogdan can do.
You shot this in Chinatown?
We shot in Sunset Park. I basically needed a hill in a neighborhood that you don’t usually see in skate videos. That particular block just looks really good with all the colorful storefronts and people and traffic and who doesn’t like to cruise a hill?
How’d you come up with the music? So good.
Choosing the music was painful. It becomes the most important thing. After testing a bunch of ideas, the track was passed along to me by Philip Quinaz, a talented DJ and music expert. We spoke a lot about the film so Phil knew where I wanted to go with it. When we queued the song up with the picture for the first time, everything just lined up so perfectly and the vibe was so on point that it became the one.