Vans, the global leader in skateboarding for more than 50 years, is proud to present A Look Back: DogTown and Z-Boys, a retrospective of Stacy Peralta’s award-winning documentary that marks the film’s 20-year anniversary. Directed by Glen E. Friedman alongside filmmaker Eric Matthies, A Look Back: DogTown and Z-Boys revisits the documentary’s original cast to explore the film’s impact—not only on their lives, but on the culture of skateboarding.
Many original Z-Boys return to the screen for A Look Back, including Peralta, Peggy Oki, Wentzle Ruml, Skip Engblom, Paul Constantineau, Jim Muir and Tony Alva. A Santa Monica native and one of Vans first skate team riders, Alva’s name is forever linked to skateboarding’s origins. As a teenager in the ‘70s, he collaborated with Vans to create the brand’s first true “Off The Wall” shoe for skateboarding. More than four decades later, Alva’s story is just as powerful, immortalizing him as a revolutionary who turned Dogtown into skateboarding’s intrepid capital.
“The original film not only shed light on the foundation of modern skateboarding, it showed us the stories of those who made it happen,” Friedman said. “Our film goes a bit deeper into what some of the participants thought of the film they stared in, and how it has since affected their lives and their brothers who have passed since its release 20 years ago.”
Friedman, who makes his directorial debut with A Look Back, is universally considered as one of the most prominent photographers of his generation, most well-known for his influential images of rebellious artists from skateboarding, punk and hip hop. Ranging from the Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C. and Ice-T, to Z-Boys Alva and Jay Adams, Friedman’s photographs cemented the importance of these radical subcultures at their beginnings. His work is included in notable international collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smithsonian Institution. Eric Matthies, who co-produced the film, is known for his broadcast, cinema and multi-media projects, and has produced globally recognized documentaries that have garnered a PGA Award, Grammy nomination, NAACP Image Award nomination, LAFF Audience Choice award, Saturn award, and Social Justice Fund nomination. A Look Back: DogTown and Z-Boys premiered globally on September 23 at the 2021 Paris Surf & Skate Film Festival.
“The Zephyr crew had an enormous impact on my peers and I, not only as skaters, but as artists and filmmakers,” Matthies said. “This project was a great opportunity to give something back to our skate community.”
The original DogTown and Z-Boys documentary rose to critical acclaim after its release in 2001, led by director and original Zephyr skateboard team member Stacy Peralta, and was co-written by Craig R. Stecyk III and co-produced by Friedman. Chronicling the rise of skateboarding in backyard pools in 1970s’ Santa Monica and Venice, the original documentary drew on a compilation of vintage images and video clips combined with present-day interviews, encapsulating how the Z-Boys ultimately created a skateboarding subculture that defined a generation and influenced those to come. The original documentary won two awards at Sundance Film Festival and an Independent Spirit Award in 2001.
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