“Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy” will make its local premiere on Friday, April 23 during a special screening at the Athena Theater during the Athens International Film and Video Festival in Athens.
The screening begins at 9:15 p.m. and according to Laurie House, one of the filmmakers, it’s a chance to do a “classy premiere” in a location as close to Meigs County as possible.
“The movie has been well received by skaters partly because it’s not an adulatory biopic like most skate movies,” House said. “It really shows it like it is — warts and all — an approach Brewce has fully supported to his credit.”
Brewce is Skatopia founder Brewce Martin who created Meigs County’s skating Mecca in Rutland Township. Martin has traveled to the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and the Santa Barbara Film Festival for screenings of the movie. House said Martin will be on hand Friday at the premiere, along with numerous “skatopians.” There’s also an after party planned with bands from the movie performing though those details are still being worked out.
Filmmakers House and Colin Powers of Headlamp Pictures spent a year living in Meigs County and documenting the life of Martin from 2005-06. The two accumulated over 400 hours of footage they shot and 150 hours of archival footage to wade through to get the film down to under 100 minutes.
House has described the film as a “twist on the American Dream,” adding it’s no different than “Field of Dreams” conceptually, except the concept may be “trickier.”
Martin has described the film to The Daily Sentinel as: “It’s a documentary and about living your dream. Every little kid has a dream about what they want when they get older. My dream is to have a utopian-like skating environment. The reality of Skatopia is we’re sharing our dream with other people so they can understand, hey, you can live something you believe in.”
House said she and Powers enjoyed living in Meigs County during the year of filming which included making friends beyond Skatopia. The couple now live in the Adirondacks where Powers is the director of production and programming for the local PBS station and House has been working on the Skatopia movie edit and distribution.
The documentary opened last year, selling out its preview screening at the Tribeca Cinemas in New York City, N.Y., attracting Rolling Stone and Newsweek magazines and skate magazines. There have also been follow-up screenings in Denver, Colo., Seattle, Wash., and Amsterdam.
“It’s been a long haul getting the film made and now getting it out there,” House said. “The crash in the economy completely changed the independent film market. Most filmmakers now have to act as their own “general contractors” rather than just handing the movie over to one distributor and getting a check.”
Despite the economy, House has pushed on and now that the film is finished and has traveled the world and United States, it’s time for it to come home, or as close to home as it can get and still be screened — namely, Athens. House hopes the locals come out to support the film during its premiere and the piece of Meigs County which has been preserved onscreen.
Tickets can be purchased at the box office on Friday night for those wishing to attend the screening.