Focal Point

The Devil’s Toy Redux

The Devil’s Toy by Claude Jutra, National Film Board of Canada

Fourteen directors… eleven remixes… eight countries on four continents… one counter-culture and interactive experience.

Claude Jutra’s pioneering National Film Board of Canada (NFB) skateboarding film, “The Devil’s Toy”, has inspired a new interactive production: The Devil’s Toy Redux, a global online skate culture experience from the NFB, a world leader in interactive media.

In 1966, a young Jutra made one of the world’s first skateboarding films with just a shoulder-mounted camera and a bunch of kids on boards. It helped to define the early history of skate cinema. What’s more, it was an outstanding example of how NFB filmmakers were pioneers of Direct Cinema, a movement of the late fifties and early sixties that helped change the face of filmmaking.

In The Devil’s Toy Redux, the original film is joined by eleven new short films by directors from around the world. The site allows users to navigate from one film to the next and witness the evolution of skate culture across the globe through a multiplicity of lenses, as skateboarders, filmmakers, web developers and designers all share their unique points of view.

The Devil’s Toy Redux lets users explore the cities, its skaters, the boards they ride and their favourite places. The site’s theme-based navigation highlights the issues that define the skaters’ experiences: confrontation, social resistance, resignation and resolve. Skate pictures and videos on Instagram hashtagged “#devilstoy” also automatically appear in The Devil’s Toy Redux, geo-localized for each featured city, as users share their skate experiences and cultures.

Quick Facts

New films for The Devil’s Toy Redux were shot in New York City (dir. Steve Durand); Los Angeles (dir. Greg Hunt); Vancouver (dir. Corey Adams); Montreal (dir. Myriam Verreault); Victoriaville (dir. Matt Charland); Lyon, France (dir. Fred Mortagne); Bad Durkheim, Germany (dir. Peter Schüttemeyer and Marten Persiel); Athens (dir. Argyris Papadimitropoulos); Bor, Serbia (dir. Nikola Ležaić); Johannesburg (dir. Luke Jackson and Jess James Harris) and Singapore (dir. Qi An Yuan).

The creative director of The Devil’s Toy Redux is Alex Leduc. The producers are Dana Dansereau and Dominique Willieme, with Loc Dao and Hugues Sweeney as executive producers. Website design and development is by studio Deux Huit Huit.

For the NFB’s 75th anniversary year, The Devil’s Toy Redux has also been re-imagined as an interactive installation, running May 8th to June 19th at Place des Arts in Montreal, followed by dates in other cities.

Speak for the Trees

Our friend and lifelong skateboarder Matt Musselwhite (aka Punker Matt) and his lady Lydia Doleman are featured in this short film titled “Speak for the Trees” which reveals their modern day homestead in the hills of Southern Oregon and their fervent stance and battle against irresponsible logging practices. This epic and creative couple, along with some neighbors and friends, are fighting the good fight to save their region or timberlands from widespread clear cutting. Take a break to listen in and have a closer look about preserving our lands for future generations.

Indeed, a lawful balance must be struck before we completely lose many regions of our nation’s precious forests to unregulated logging.

Please visit were you can learn more about the task at hand, eyes on the forest and support the cause with an in-kind donation. Fight the good fight for what is right.

– BK

Levi’s Skateboarding 2014 Spring Collection

Levi’s recently hosted a gathering of friends and skateboarding media types at Brandon Biebel’s private skatepark in North Hollywood to reveal and launch their Spring 2014 line of Levis Skateboarding apparel. In the mix to view this second offering from Levi’s Skateboarding were skaters and reps from Thrasher, TWS, The Skateboard Mag, LowCard, King Shit, The Berrics and more.

Catered Mexican food and adult beverages from Saint Archer welcomed a storied cast of characters upon arrival as Tommy Guerrero took soulful control of the ones and twos with a selection of classic hits.

Levi's Skateboarding

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Raising Helseth: Skateboarding Saved My Life

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Skidmark Magazine’s Josh Becker caught up with skateboarder Casey Helseth where he let the Skidmark crew spend a weekend with him and follow him around his adopted town of Santa Cruz, California. Casey shares his story of hard luck, and gives us a glimpse into his world. It took quite a bit of courage and trust for Casey to share his life’s story and situation. Indeed, skateboarding can open up doors and a world of freedom if you let it flow through your veins. All the best to you Casey and to Josh and the Skidmark crew for sharing this short film documentary with the world.

Lost in Ordos: Drifting Through the Ghost City

Red Bull Skateboarding has just posted a feature written by Greg Poissonnier online highlighting a bunch of European rippers on a journey to skate an empty skateable city in Inner Mongolia.

The Chinese city of Ordos; built to house over a million people, but currently home to just a few thousand, contains all the essential ingredients of an amazing giant virtual street park except that here in the ghost city, everything is ‘real’.

Have a look as Korahn Gayle, Daniel Pannemann, Thaynan Costa, Alex Mizurov, Antony Lopez and Bastien Duverdier had the time of their lives in Inner Mongolia late last year.

Girl Skateboard Company Presents the Art Dump Alumni Series

Art Dump Alumni SeriesThe Art Dump is the name adopted by the group of like-minded creative misfits who all work under the same flat roof in Torrance, CA.  They are essentially Girl Skateboard Company’s full-time art department. Many talented artists have passed through the doors at Girl or lent their talents along the way during the past 20 years.
Girl presents the Art Dump Alumni Series, bringing back ten artists for a curtain call to create special boards marking 20 years of Girl Skateboards: Michael Leon (Eric Koston), Kevin Lyons (Mike Carroll), Bob Kronbauer (Rick Howard), Geoff McFetridge (Guy Mariano), Misato Suzuki (Brandon Beibel), Bucky Fukumoto (Mike Mo Capaldi), Michael Coleman (Sean Malto), Tony Larson (Rick McCrank), Rob Abeyta, Jr. (Cory Kennedy) and Jordan Mitchell (Jeron Wilson).
The Art Dump Alumni Series skateboards are available now at your local skate shop and at the Crailstore. 
Kevin Lyons, creative director, designer, illustrator, and founder of Natural Born, lists Urban Outfitters, Stussy, Nike and Tokion Magazine as well as a memorable stint at Girl from 1997 to ’99 among the brands he’s worked with. Kevin reflected on his time with Girl and why the company has been able to reach the 20-year mark in this short interview.
How did you meet the Girl crew and come on board?
Like many of us, I knew Bucky Fukumoto, and my friend, Geoff McFetridge, was already doing a project for Girl.  I was at Nike at the time, and Rick Howard [of Girl] was working with Eric Koston and Guy Mariano on creating Fourstar.  Creative Director Andy Jenkins reached out for me to work on Fourstar [Girl’s skate apparel company].  
Rick was looking to make Fourstar something different than any other skate company out there … more athletic and really more like a RL Sport or Nautica, or Nike. Eric, Keenan, Mike … they were sneakerheads and played basketball.  Some even went to the gym. They were true athletes and therefore wanted a different look from the industry norm. Most skate companies made black tees, a trucker hat, and some bad Vision knock-off shorts. I literally did my first season for Fourstar while still employed at Nike.

What are your fondest memories of your time at Girl?
I think the whole experience of developing Fourstar was insane. Rick and I were both trying to do real legit cut and sew for the first time and then the whole branding and identity and labeling and color palette. It was a real learning curve for us both. To start a company from scratch was super hard, yet a blast. I think my favorite part of working there were really the personalities and how funny everyone was. Tim Gavin and Mike Carroll. Hilarious. Keenan was always busting and funny. He and Guy would bring in the most insane samples of stuff they had just bought. At the time we were just trying to perfect a good basketball short, and these guys would come rolling in with a reversible Dri-Fit six-pocket puffy vest.  Richard Mulder. Calloway, Meza. Rick and I spent a lot of time together rolling around to meetings in his Impala to bad industrial parks throughout Southern California just to find the right mesh for a short liner, but it was always funny and ridiculous. 
What did you take with you from Girl that you’ve used in later life?
The Art Dump really, and the courage to go against the grain and an industry. But really it was the relationships. To be part of that brand and be a fellow alumnus of so many talented dudes over the years … priceless.
What other artists did you work with while at Girl?
At the time, we did not do a ton of artist collabs and we did not look that far outside the company. I mean Evan Hecox was just starting to do Chocolate boards and Geoff did two series. Mark Gonzales was part of Fourstar, but really the artists back then were Andy Jenkins and Mike Leon honestly.
Why do you think Girl is still going strong after 20 years?
It’s really because of Rick, Mike [Carroll], Meghan [Baltimore] and Andy Jenkins. They have kept Girl fresh by constantly introducing new skaters, new personalities, new companies, and tons of new artists and designers. There is no doubt about it. They have created a timeless environment of talent, skill, humor and fun centered on skateboarding. They have a key core of individuals who have driven the company, but yet they are constantly bringing on fresh faces to connect with each generation. It seems to me that they have never felt threatened by newness. They recognize that generations move quickly and the heroes and worlds change. I think their openness to allow for newness and change has made the company seem as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would put the Art Dump artist for artist up against any in-house design crew ever… plain and simple. Would be tough to beat.