It's Always Sunny in Colorado, Bucky O'Connell's love letter to the local skateboarding scene, premieres tonight at the Bluebird Theater with screenings at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The film, presented by 303 Boards and Toebock Media Group, features countless recognizable spots around town and nearly a dozen of Colorado's top skaters, promising thrills and spills galore (check out the trailer after the jump for a teaser).
We caught up with the director to talk shop about the state of skate in the state and what's in store for skateboarding fans at the premiere and as the DVD ($12) hits local shops.
Westword: I'm blown away by how huge the skate scene here has gotten, how many awesome skateparks there are all over the state and the level of skating I see every time I'm out skating. Now that you've finished a film featuring some of the best skaters in Colorado, do you have any observations about what's going on here?
Bucky O'Connell: I think the biggest thing is that everyone's super positive and we're all friends in some way. It's one of my favorite skate scenes anywhere because there's none of the negativity you find in some other scenes. And probably the biggest thing that's changed since I released my first video in 2004 and the most recent 303 Boards shop video in 2006 is that the local attitude toward making things feels a lot different. I think there's more of a feeling like, "We've got something great here so let's do it up right." Skate videos just keep getting better and better as the skating progresses and as different filmmakers bring their vision to it so I felt a sense of responsibility to document what's happening here and make it look good.
WW: How did you approach this project as a filmmaker?
BO: The last two films I made in collaboration with a lot of people, with footage from a lot of different sources, and I wanted to do this one on my own to give it some better flow and really take ownership of how it came out. I always had a certain vision for how I wanted it to look and how I wanted it to flow together. The idea from the beginning was to make a video that is continually moving. There's no real story to it -- it's a skateboard video with three main parts and some montages -- but there's that central theme of movement, of always being on the way to the next spot.
WW: Did you make it out to a lot of different local skateparks?
BO: There's actually not much park footage in the movie. We would meet up at a skatepark to warm up and then go out in search of spots around town from there. We tried to hit some spots that haven't been in other videos, and when we did hit some of the better-known spots we always tried to bring something new to it. There are some spots in the video that we got kicked out of every single time and had to go back like six or seven times to get the trick we wanted. That's kind of the challenge in making videos like this: Nothing is ever certain. There was one trick that made it into the film -- I don't want to say what it is, to keep the surprise -- but Kehoe went back probably ten times to this spot near the Denver Skatepark before he finally ended up getting it. You can plan everything out as much as you want but you just never know what you're going to get. That level of persistence is one of the things I love about skateboarding and admire in the best skaters.
WW: Can you tell me a bit about the skaters in the film?
BO: Three people have full parts: Derek Milton, Matt Kehoe and Shad Spencer. Derek and Kehoe both skate for 303 Boards and Shad skates for the Denver Shop. I've known Derek for like ten years and these are all guys I've been skating with and filming with for years. And then there's another handful of skaters featured in the film's montages, guys like Greg Piloto, Aaron Homoki, Trevor Uriona, David Reyes, Nial and Sean Frederickson and Jon Brownlee. In skateboard videos the tradition is to save the best for last: The guy with the best footage gets the last part. But it's a surprise. You'll have to come to the premiere or buy the DVD to see who killed it this time around.
WW: I'm stoked that there's so much support for these local videos here, with all the snowboard movie premieres in the Fall and full-on premiere parties at big theaters like the Bluebird for skate videos like yours. What does that kind of support from the local scene mean to you as a filmmaker?
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BO: It can actually be kind of nerve-wracking, because there's a lot of pressure, but it is kind of cool to have that many people care about what you're doing and want to come see it. I've gone to most of the local premiers and I think it's always exciting to see what people have been up to and what they've made. The big premieres are always a lot of fun.