Dragonslayer is one of the nicknames for has-been pro skater Josh "Skreech" Sandoval, a Californian self-appointed "skatepark bum" who threw his shot at the big time away in drugs and drink. Tristan Patterson's sympathetic but never hagiographic portrait of Mr. Sandoval follows him over the course of several months, as he travels across the US attempting to get his skateboarding career back on track while revisiting old haunts, seeing old friends and visiting his six-month-old baby from a relationship he has since walked away from. As someone says at some point, "Skreech"'s skateboarding prowess was "random chaos" and, by taking that definition literally, he threw away his life.

     Mr. Patterson uses it as not only a celebration of the skateboarding lifestyle - a kind of modern-day cowboy freedom - but also as cautionary tale about how life can go wrong. Divided into a number of thematically arranged chapters that end with a disappointing yet ambiguous conclusion that holds some hope for the future, Dragonslayer's short length flies by on the energy of Mr. Patterson's smart editing of footage shot by his DP Eric Koretz and by both Mr. Sandoval and pro skate photographer Josh Henderson using consumer cameras. The unshakeable energy of the footage, breathlessly edited by Jennifer Tiexiera and Leslie Calhoun, underlines simultaneously the attraction and pitfalls of the lifestyle, while never forgetting there is something truly glorious in the way "Skreech" turns its back deliberately on conventional society.

Director, Tristan Patterson; cinematography, Eric Koretz (colour), with additional photography by Josh Henderson, Josh Sandoval; music, T. Griffin; editors, Jennifer Tiexiera, Leslie Calhoun; producer, John Baker (Animals of Combat), USA, 2011, 73 minutes.
     Screened: IndieLisboa 2012, Castello Lopes Londres 2 (Lisbon), April 27th 2012.


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