Coan Nichols (aka "Buddy") and Rick Charnoski have been making movies together on 8mm film since the late 90s; their main focus being skateboarding. At some point they abandoned their New York City stomping grounds for the warmer weather of the West Coast, but the city is still the inspiration for their latest release. Deathbowl to Downtown chronicles the origin of skating in NYC and is "the first to explore skateboarding’s urban history in-depth." (View trailer here.)
After working on the film for three years, off and on, it's ready to be released this summer, and this weekend they're in town celebrating with an art show called The Moving Image (a photographic history of skateboarding in New York City) at Etnies Showroom.
Where did the idea for Deathbowl to Downtown originate? We have made several skateboard films that were based mostly on road trips over a specific period of time. A historical project was appealing because it was different; also, the evolution of skateboarding is an interesting story because it is organic.
New York is an interesting place for skate history because even though it is the biggest city in the U.S. it was a skateboarding backwater for years. Then all of a sudden it became known worldwide for skating.
How did Chloë Sevigny get involved? Skating is mostly guys and we thought it would be nice to have a female narrator to give some balance. Chloë has a connection with the scene because she knows many of the skaters from the 90s, from the Kids time. And she has an awesome voice, she did an amazing job.
Did you learn anything new about skating in New York that you hadn't known going into it? Yes, I learned that in the 70s skaters were connected to the graffiti scene the way early California skaters were connected to surfing. Also that there wre endless characters in the scene here.
How has skating changed in the city today, is there still a movement going on? Skating is big in the city and skaters are riding the entire city, searching out spots in the most random parts of the outer boroughs, exploring as always.
A while back you moved your NCP Films from NYC to LA, why the move? Weather and empty swimming pools.
Which New Yorker do you most admire? The ones who reinvent the city to fit their needs and love it.
Given the opportunity, how would you change New York? Cheaper rent.
What's your idea of a perfect day of recreation in New York? Skating, duh.
What's the best spot to skate in the city? The whole city is a skatepark.