There was no Shaun White, no Tanner Hall. Some say a torch has been passed. This year’s star at the X-Dance action sports film festival was Travis Rice, who, with Curt Morgan of Brainfarm Entertainment, dominated the awards with the existential snowboarding film, “That’s It, That’s All,” which won the Best Film award, while Morgan won Best Director and Rice took the Athlete of the Year trophy.
The most charming winner was Dave Mossop, who won Best Documentary for “Between the Lines,” which is a backcountry educational film. Mossop was stunned when his film was announced. He stood up, put his hands over his mouth, then over his eyes, then proceeded in obvious shock to the stage. He told the room, “I’m in the company of giants,” saying that his heart was pounding so hard, it was echoing in his head.
“Chasing Waves” won Best Original Score, Clay Marzan won Best Biography for “Just Add Water,” Dave Arnold won the Best Emerging Filmmaker category for “Chasing Waves.”
X-Dance was five days of action sports film screenings, with over 200 entries ranging from extreme motocross to female surfers. Though officially a part of the Sundance Film Festival, it couldn’t be further away in product, money or attitude. The athletes and film makers work as a team on shoestring budgets, risking their lives and credit status to create a film which will never see the inside of a movie house, but may be downloaded by millions of fans.
X-Dance organizer Brian Wimmer reminded the crowd that these film makers and athletes don’t have millions, don’t have business models and scores of employees. Jeff Pakosta and Jeff Castelluccio are typical of the action sports film scene. The two relaxed, happy and confident filmakers created “Tougher Than Iron,” about Austria’s Erzberg Rodeo, an extreme motocross race. Out of 1,500 athletes who started, only 30 finished. The film was nominated for the Best Documentary category. Pakosta, 40, said, “This film took about 8 months. We expected to be nominated, we kind of had a feeling, because this film is really good. The Erzberg Rodeo, 30 finished out of 1,500 entries. We makes films on extreme motocross races. These really extreme races take place all over the world. I make a living doing this. It’s a fun living.”
The look this year among the participants was oldschool flannel shirt grunge, a far cry from the designer duds parading along Park City’s Main Street, 40 miles and a world away. In what seems to be a sad and repetitive annual tragedy, the announcement was made that another action sports icon has been paralyzed by a spinal injury. Cinematographer Riley Poor was injured January 10 in West Dover, Vermont. But unlike last year’s casualty, Billy Poole, he lived.
Get more about X-Dance at the official site.
- Wina Sturgeon