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FauxAmi´s Interview
Director Helen Sticker

by Angel Martinez 2004

U.S. Regisseurin Helen Stickler im Gespräch mit FauxAmi über ihre Karriere und die Film-Premiere ihres Filmes "Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator" der am Abschlussabend
von "SKATEBOARDFIEBER" am 20.12 in Stuttgart gezeigt wurde.


How do you feel about being in Stuttgart and having a premiere for your film "Gator" after Manhattan and Berlin?

Well, the film is called "Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator", though some people call it just "Gator". It feels great to be traveling around with the movie. I liked Stuttgart a lot. It was cool to be in Germany around Christmas time because everything was so festive. The best part of it all was the great skate exhibit, which I thought was really impressive. It was sort of the perfect mix of art house film, and skate history.

Is Skateboarding something you manage as good as your films?

No, I suck at skating! I ride a bike.

Gator's career ended in a very hard way, was it the reason that incided you on making this documentary film or it was made to clear all the doubts caused by the media at that time?

Both, I guess. I was interested in finding out what caused his downfall, and when I realized that there was a lack of accurate media reporting, it made me want to research even more and talk to the sources of the story. I thought his story had a lot to say about skating in the 80s, pop culture, one man's character and personal struggles, and could be interesting on a lot of different levels beyond the cheap tabloid exploitation that had been done before.


Helen Stickler im Gespräch mit Angel Martinez
in der Ausstellung "SKATEBOARDFIEBER" Stuttgart 2003

  When did you started with the production?

I started research in late 1996, made my first trip out to California to get the court records in April 1997, moved to CA for a month to meet with Gator in September 1997, and then went to work at Mtv in NYC for a few years to make money. I shot principal photography from December 1999 through October 2000, and then did several more interviews in the summer of 2001. Throughout all the production I was also tracking down archival footage, photos, visiting Gator in jail, talking to possible interview subjects, and raising money and resources to keep the project going, which is why it came together in bits and pieces. We edited from May-Sept. 2001, and then did finishing post (graphics, online, mixing) a little at a time all through 2002, until the premiere at Sundance in January 2003. From Sundance it was sold to a distributor who put up money to finish costs, transfer it to 35mm film and release it in theaters all over the USA, and then put it out on DVD (released in North America 2/17/04).

Isn't it a bit incommoding always having Stacy Peralta's Dogtown & Z-Boys always following you?

I like to joke that my film is keeping Dogtown in the press, and you have once again proven me right! J

    Stoked seems to be the perfect complement to those films and vice versa, can we speak of a perfect symbiosis?

Although the appearance of Dogtown caused some stress (STOKED had a harder time getting into some festivals that had already shown "a skateboard documentary"), STOKED picks up where Dogtown left off and takes the story arc a little further, so they do work well together. Like Chapter one and two of the skating history book.

Do you think the X-games have become a great success since Gator?

The X-Games changed the landscape of ?alternative sports" forever, and also contributed in a positive way in the 90s by giving people jobs and pulling skating out of the underground where it was really struggling in a lot of ways. I know the games have their critics and flaws, but they are a big part of skating's visibility to the mainstream public. Put it this way: without them, Tony Hawk's eventual 900 might have been a lot less spectacular - say, if he had pulled it off in front of 12 people at the Encinitas California YMCA ramp!

  Is it a matter of discussion the unknown fact if Skateboarders are artists or sportsmen?

That is a matter of opinion, I would say both are true ... or in the ideal skater, both aspects are in balance. I can think of several instances where a skater has too much sport jock, and the style is dry. Or, we have all known skaters who are very talented and artistic but perhaps lack the sporting competitiveness (or ambition) that is necessary to take their art to the next level and build a profile in skateboarding.

Did you study cinematography in the US? Or can we speak of a self-made education similar to Quentin Tarantino?

I did attend film school at the Rhode Island School of Design. I had a hard time there, I dropped out, went somewhere else, came back, got kicked out, took a year off to work on other films, and then eventually came back and finished my degree - although I graduated with an ?incomplete" grade and had to make it up later. They just asked me back last October to show my film and speak at the school, though, which was nice!

For which short film did you won a prize before?

Two of my prior short films, "Queen Mercy" 1994 (my student short at RISD), and "Andre the Giant has a Posse," 1995 (about the artist Shepard Fairey), have won multiple prizes and screened in many festivals.

    Did you enjoy the work with FauxAmi (you better say yes!)?

Faux_ami was wonderful, the skate exhibit was fantastic, Juergen , Daniel, Eric and Angel were great hosts, and did an awesome job promoting the screenings. It was a very cool crowd and a nice theater, and I really can't say anything bad - it was one of my favorite shows out of maybe 60 screenings I've attended of STOKED, all over the world! I wish all screenings could be so fantastic and I hope we can do it again.  

FauxAmi thanks you for the interview.

Thank you!

Helen Stickler

Die DVD vongibts bei: >> Amazon



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