It used to only happen very once in a while that we'd get a random email from a skate filmmaker asking us to check out his new video project and help him promote it on the TOA site. And it was always pretty fun to check out new stuff from different skate scenes around the world. But over the last 6 months it's gotten to a point where we have a stack of easily 10 different dvd's waiting to be watched at any given moment. We receive so many that the mountain of unwatched videos has become intimidating and a constant reminder that we're disappointing a long list of filmers. But, as much of a bummer as it is that we can't watch every one of them, it's pretty encouraging that there are still so many skate video makers out there still adhering to the hard copy format and helping push their local skate scene.
One filmmaker took a different approach recently. An approach that started, at first, in a cryptic and kind of annoying way. About a year ago I started receiving random emails from an address I didn't recognize. The body of the email had no message, no questions or introductions, just a link and a strange random quote at the bottom.
With the first couple that I received over a span of a few weeks, I assumed them to be spam and just ignored them. But when the emails continued I finally noticed that the title of the emails I was receiving were named after different skaters. The first was titled "Greg Hunt" and yet another titled "Pontus Alv". I finally clicked "play" on one of the links and I was immediately struck by the quality of the cinematography. It almost looked like a film student's final project but the quality was much more solid and there was something very intriguing about the vibe and message of the video pieces. This mysterious email pen pal had me hooked but I knew nothing about him because when I would respond to his emails he wouldn't reply. So if he was trying to solicit some sort of help he wasn't making it very easy. Then, finally after probably my third email he finally replied and identified himself as Andrew Lovgren.
An obscure skate video maker from Kansas City, Missouri…..Missouri, who would've thought. He eventually filled me in that the links he'd been sending me were excerpts from a documentary he'd been working on and it was almost finished. I was definitely intrigued to see the final product, especially considering the bizarre nature of the stuff he had been sending me and also that the documentary featured Pontus Alv, Arto Saari, Chris Mulhern and Greg Hunt. The final project, entitled "Symirrioretry", premiered in Kansas City recently, and just as I started helping Andrew set up a NY premiere for the film he sent me an email and told me that he decided to post the video online for free. And he sent me a link.
So, after all that, the video is up and ready for viewing. And the final project is definitely just as intriguing as the short teasers that had been laid into my email inbox like breadcrumbs to a bear trap. Andrew tells the story and conveys his message in a way that I would say has not yet been done before in skateboarding. In a way, he leaves you to decipher and figure out what the message is for yourself. He may even leave you scratching your head. But his brave and risky approach definitely leaves a strong impression on you and I doubt you'll walk away from this film without being affected in some way. "Symirroretry" taps into a similar message as the German documentary from 2013 called "Pushed", coincidentally also including Pontus Alv, yet I'd say his unconventional story-telling technique gives him a more powerful voice as the filmmaker. It's a strong project and Lovgren should be proud of the final result.
Set aside 40 minutes of an evening this week and cue it up on your Netflix box. And then let us know what you thought.