I Am Los Angeles

This film made by I Am Los Angeles and was originally published by the New York Times Op-Doc Series.

During summer breaks, my dad, who worked as a librarian, would bring home Westerns on VHS tape and we'd watch them together. I was fascinated and intrigued by the iconic cowboy characters living out an understated yet dramatic, high-stakes existence against such a spartan, other-worldly backdrop. Sure, much of this was a Hollywood fantasy, but the west truly was once the land of cowboys and indians. And now, in a relatively short period of time, things have changed quickly. Instead of sprawling ranches dotted with quiet loner cowboy types, the landscape is now largely populated by homogeneous residential communities and big box retailers.

Perhaps out of a desire for life to seem simpler, and less encumbered by the lifestyle inherent to all our modern conveniences, I went looking for the closest thing I could find to that cowboy from the silver screen. This is how I happened upon Gary Leffew, an old-school yet surprisingly gregarious rodeo cowboy with some profound things to share about his philosophy on life and his sport.

After meeting Mr. Leffew, I was haunted by this feeling that he represents an era that is slowly disappearing and becoming part of the region's history. It was this feeling that urged me to make a character-driven short film that would encapsulate his character, experiences with the sport of rodeo, and general outlook on life.

You can see the film here part of the Op-Doc series of the New York Times: nytimes.com/2015/04/08/opinion/the-bull-rider.html?_r=0

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I Am Los Angeles

Joris Debeij PRO

A collection of video portraits and first-hand stories told from some of the most intriguing and unique personalities living in Los Angeles. (iamlosangeles.com)

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