Kootenay filmmakers premiere documentary this weekend
Twenty years later, the story of a once-in-a lifetime journey of four Kootenay skateboarders will finally be told.
The full-length documentary titled “Hicks on Sticks,” is set for its Kootenay premiere on Saturday.
The film will screen at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at the Old Theatre in downtown Castlegar.
Film director, Soren Johnstone, grew up in Trail and Rossland and film producer Mike Babiarz, grew up in Castlegar.
In the summer of 1999, Johnston went along for a ride as official videographer of a small-town skateboard and music tour, affectionately dubbed “Hicks on Sticks.”
The goal of the tour was to inspire kids in rural communities by exposing them to skateboarding and music they wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to see in person, said Babiarz.
The film follows the lives of local skateboard legends, Eugene Voykin, Mike Evans, Shane Wallace and the late Josh Evin.
Without financial backing, the tour began with the towing of a 5,000-pound portable skateboard park, behind an old van with failing brakes.
The young team’s longstanding friendships were tested as they traveled nearly 3,000 km through the mountains of western Canada to put on eight shows.
Combining original footage of the tour with old home videos and recent interviews, Johnstone and Babiarz weave a tale that spans two decades in the lives of these young men.
“Hicks on Sticks” talks about all these small towns in 1999, that didn’t have skate parks,” said Babiarz.
“Every single town the tour went through now has a skate park.”
“It’s not just a film about skateboarding, music or the tour,” said Johnstone in the press release.
“This film is an honest documentation of the most pivotal 20 years of their lives.”
At the 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival in California, “Hicks on Sticks” was awarded outstanding achievement in filmmaking.
This is the second feature film for Johnstone and Babiarz.
Their first was “Play with Fire”, a 2009 gritty flick that was set in Trail.
Johnstone and Babiarz’s film company, Warren Lane Pictures, is based out of Vancouver.
The name Warren Lane was taken from the dead-end street in West Trail.
“Just wide enough for one car, it precariously snakes along a hillside in the interior of British Columbia,” explained Babiarz.
“Looking out from Warren Lane, your view is encompassed by a giant lead and silver smelter that the township of Trail was built around.”