substance & soul

Directed by: Stacy Peralta

In 2002 Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero and Mike McGill asked me if I would meet with them to talk about a project they had in mind. They told me how much they all liked my film that had just been released, “Dogtown and Z Boys,” and how they felt their own legacy as the Bones Brigade during the 1980s had great potential to also be made into a documentary. They asked if I would consider directing it. I declined. I felt I didn’t have it in me to make another film where I was both the director and one of the characters, having created the Bones Brigade team – there was no way I could work around that.

Over the years the guys kept at me -- and I kept saying no. Finally in the summer of 2010 Lance called again. During the course of our conversation he told me he and the guys were even more eager than ever to make the film. He explained that they were all now older than Tony Alva and I were at the time we made “Dogtown”. That seemed impossible – and this is what finally hit me. They were grown men. They were fathers with their own kids who were the same ages they were when they got on the Bones Brigade. They were still skateboarding and at the top of their game. So, on that phone call I told Lance I would make the film.

I came into it figuring it would be a small film, a quiet release direct to DVD for a skateboard-centric fan base, no film festival run and nothing like Dogtown. But that all changed the day we began production.

The cameras started rolling. Rodney Mullen was the first team member I interviewed and he set the tone for everyone, opening up in ways I had never expected. They shared personal feelings that I, as both director and mentor for this team, was totally unprepared for. They talked about their fears, the depth of their camaraderie, their feelings of isolation, the toll of competition, and the shadow side of success. They talked about growing up from boys to men while they were on the Bones Brigade. They reminded me of situations and experiences I had long forgotten about.

When shooting was done a week later I knew we had something very unique and special. And I knew we had a good film or at least the potential for one. Now all we had to do was figure out a way to assemble it in a compelling manner. I had originally thought that I would edit this one like I used to do with the Bones Brigade videos – but this was simultaneously a big and intimate story and I wanted someone with an objective point of view, so we hired editor Josh Altman -- one of the smarter decisions I made as director.

By late summer 2011 we had our first cut. Based on the “what have we got to lose” theory, we took a chance and submitted it to the Sundance Film Festival. In November we were told that out of 12,000 submissions, “Bones Brigade, An Autobiography” had been selected to be in the 2012 festival. We were blown away.

- Stacy


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