Stacy Peralta: Bones Brigade
At times in life, you can only learn how to do something when you’re given no alternative other than to just step up and try it for the first time. Skateboarding pioneer Stacy Peralta proved as much when he joined John Canzano on the Bald Faced Truth to promote his new documentary, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography
However, this is far from Peralta’s first foray into filmmaking – he actually started back in 1983 when he had to make a skateboarding film for his company, Powell Peralta
. With a team featuring Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen and Steve Caballero; Peralta wanted to spread the image of the team across the globe, but had no money to hire a film production company. Since then, Peralta has made multiple videos, documentaries, and commercials that have been seen the world over. In the end, making films turned out to be another thing that he learned to do because of skateboarding.
Growing up in Venice, California; Peralta felt that only through skateboarding did he discover what he was capable of doing in life. And while Peralta loved the freedom he and his friends had as kids, he admitted that it took him until he was an adult to recognize and gain perspective on just how much freedom they had growing up.
“We were too young to understand it, but we definitely took advantage of it,” said Peralta.
Peralta went on to say that he felt he truly hit the high point of his life when he first joined the legendary Zephyr skate team at age 15 and began competitive skateboarding. Eventually, he learned there was much more to be done: with new technology (the urethane wheel) and opportunities to bring the sport across the globe to the likes of Australia and Japan, Peralta says he realized then that he knew he could make skateboarding a focal point of his life.
Suffice to say, many others followed suit – the sport succeeded in going global, and Peralta himself is amazed at how far skateboarding has come.
“When we first started skateboarding, we were skateboarding on clay wheels – which is essentially a skateboard Fred Flintstone would have ridden,” joked Peralta. “Nowadays, what these kids are doing – how high they’re going, how long they’re sliding, how many flips they can do, how many rotations they can pull off in the air – it’s sensational. It’s acrobatic. I never thought I’d see this kind of performance in my lifetime.”
But while Peralta was able to live through the evolution of skateboarding, many today don’t recognize just what was required for the progression of the sport. And while now Tony Hawk is a household name, thirty years ago he was a young skater on Peralta’s skate team, one of several future legends trying to stand out as the elite of their sport. This is where Peralta’s new documentary Bones Brigade comes in, to tell the story of six skaters who, in Peralta’s words, “were real outcasts… they had a dream to become the best in the world at what they did, and they achieved that dream in this film.”
Through it all, Peralta has been humbled by the impact he and those around him have made through skateboarding. Peralta states that just like back in the days of the skate team, making the film was about creating something that made him and his former riders happy.
“We made [the film] to please ourselves and we thought if we can please ourselves then it’ll probably please other people.”
The five standing ovations the film received at the Sundance Film Festival seem to reinforce that notion.
"Bones Brigade: An Autobiography" will be available on iTunes
on November 6th. The film is now playing in New York, and will premiere in Los Angeles on November 9th.