By Austin Watts
After 5 years of anticipation it was my privilege to host the 3rd and final movie premier for the epic film Ride Among Us – the Integrity and Mutiny team film created by cinematographer, graphic designer and wakeskater Mitchell Reed Cobb.
The very reason The Liquid Playground opened its doors was to support the rider owned/operated companies so premiering Ride Among Us was very important. After learning more about Mitchell’s vision during one of our NorCal Convergence events and spending some time with Ryan Lemons out at Surf Expo in Florida my need to release this film on the West Coast became all the more profound.
People needed to experience the stories I was hearing about the Bayou Boys in Louisiana, Nick’s sessions down in Ana Maria, and Jenny’s rise to the top as an amazing female rider…..this premier was the public’s chance to see the heart, soul and dedication that these riders put in day in and day out. The teasers from Wesubsist’s Mutiny Monday’s and the random videos clips I was sent via text the entire past year were getting me so pumped.
Four months before the event, I started mapping out my game-plan. My focus was not only to show the heart that went into the movie but also my respect and admiration for the Integrity/Mutiny brand. Why not create a full on gallery exhibit to showcase the progressive riding that was going down as well as the amazing work from photographers alike! I eagerly started collecting shots of the team from Richie Getter, Brooke Geary, Roland Lugo, Josh Letchworth, Garrett Cortese, Bryan Soderlind, Scott Alexander, Travis Watts, and Chris Barcellos. Through this process though, I found it difficult to find shots of a few of the team riders and during that search, the importance of this film became even more apparent since these amazing riders received such little media coverage. I was on a mission.
I soon realized that the shop couldn’t support the enormity of the event due to the hype surrounding the Ride Among Us release. In searching for venues, I found a classy joint where we could easily fit our 220+ attendees – the Los Gatos Bar and Grill blew the film up on 2 projection screens and 15+ monitors surrounding the bar which all played the movie synchronized to the solid soundtrack. In addition to the film, the gallery exhibit came out flawless and included over 30 prints in the lounge displaying the diversity of the team. Drink specials created by the LGBG team started flowing and you could feel the energy as the place started getting packed. The pro rider guest list was insane – Film director/producer Mitchell Cobb flew out with Josh Norman and Ryan Lemons from Louisiana; Jen GilanFarr and Nick Taylor made the journey from Florida, and Integrity owner Erich Schmaltz rolled down from Oregon joining Bobby Miller, Integrity true.
This was the first film premier that I had not pre-screened and I was full of butterflies. I was blown away right off the start with Collin Gee’s opening section and then Josh Norman’s front big heal?!?! Other new faces like Andrew Fortenberry killing it on the tech side and behind the boat like what?!?! Seeing our very own Jen GilanFarr throwing her huge shuv at Retention last year and Nick Taylor’s closing section riding the Silver Dragon in China silenced the room. LP team riders, Keaton Bowlby and Leif Erkkila also had appearances in the ‘Friends” segment and straight killed it. During some of the sections, pro skater and friend Ryan Lemons was giving me a play by play making this all the more memorable.
Overall, it was an amazing night. What a great sight it was to see so many people show up for the release of an independent wake skate film – this shows the change in focus towards supporting the autonomous cinematographer and the hard working team who created the film and made it to what it is today. This is the year for wakeskating and it was a pleasure for the LP to share this with the West Coast. Grab a copy and support your local shop! LOVE LIFE
For more info on Ride Among Us or to buy this film check out www.integrity-familia.com