To the Maxxx Films

Be a Good Sport

Not quite the Mountain Dew-soaked ode to extreme that it has
been in the past, this year’s To the Maxxx category is a
treasure-filled grab-bag of thought-provoking surf films, mountain
bike documentaries, skateboard devastation tours, a mother’s look
at her son’s rise to water polo glory, and the obligatory
death-defying motocross debauchery. But don’t let the downshift
fool you — not only is this year’s lineup still holding more than a
few “Holy shit! I can’t believe that just happened” moments, but
it’s grown to include some truly artistic, satisfying films. And
with six world premieres, the maturation seems to be agreeing quite
nicely with the film fest’s only purposely misspelled category.

The fun starts with Billy Savage’s documentary-styled look at
the birth of mountain biking in Klunkerz. À la the wildly
successful Dogtown and Z-Boys skate doc a few years ago, Klunkerz
takes you back to the first baby steps of mountain biking in the
hills of Marin County in the late 1960s and ’70s. Classic footage
and even more classic denim-armored characters — some of whom have
gone on to become mountain biking royalty like Gerry Fisher and Joe
Breeze — makes this an enjoyable, educational, and entertaining
movie.

Then there’s the world premiere of the S.B.-flavored skate film
Cali Summer. Erik Hatch’s travel-mentary chronicles the antics of
several skaters as they barnstorm California, pillaging every
skateable surface they encounter while traveling from Oakland to
the O.C. Knowing no road trip is complete without a wee bit of
alcohol-infused fun, the boys break up the skate sequences with
healthy doses of raucous hedonism.

Another world premiere is Chasing the Dream, which examines one
part of the weird, cutthroat billion-dollar business surfing has
become in recent years. Directed by Angelo Mei, the film follows
eight young wannabe pro surfers from Huntington Beach High School
as they chase their dream of one day being on the World Tour, and
all the ugliness they encounter along the way.

Of Wind and Waves presents the truly inspirational tale of the
94-years-young surfing, gliding, and sailing legend Woody Brown.
Rough around the edges, but full of timeless advice and captivating
stories, this bio-documentary from San Francisco’s David Brown
tells the story of one of surfing’s most overlooked legends. There
are true gems of wisdom hidden in this movie that are rewarding for
all.

Sunday, January 28, features the most To the Maxxx films,
starting with two unicycle films that will show before We Just Work
Here. From the makers of last year’s To the Maxxx hit Pure Sweet
Hell, this year’s entry proves an interesting trip inside the
eclectic and talented artists, craftsmen, and athletes of Santa
Cruz Bicycles. Later that day is Beneath the Surface, which reveals
the life story of Olympic water polo hero and current UCSB coach
Wolf Wigo. That night at the Arlington, the surf travel film Peel:
The Perú Project, an on-the-road adventure full of empty, perfect
South American waves from young filmmakers T.J Barrack and Wes
Brown.

zz.jpgPerhaps the best film in the category — a
maybe one of the true hidden treasures of the entire festival — is
Zen and Zero, a gritty, melodic, surf-stuffed tale of five Austrian
surfers looking for philosophical enlightenment and waves on the
road from Los Angeles to where the road ends in Costa Rica. Made
with a shoestring budget and shot in 16mm, this movie has been
taking festival audiences by storm for the past year.

At the back end of the festival is the world premiere of The
Forgotten Coast. With footage from the furthest corners of the
world, this movie puts the spotlight on some underground surf
nomads who risk life and limb for tube time in the tropics.

And lastly, the “wow” factor is sure to be in full effect when
On the Pipe 3 has its world premiere on Tuesday, January 30. The
latest from motocross’s biggest names and shot entirely in high
definition super 16mm, the action regularly begs the question, “How
come these guys haven’t died yet?”

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