It all began at a party in Chino, CA.
Tristan Patterson was at an abandoned airfield to catch a band when he came across a guy with a green mohawk: Josh Sandoval (aka "Screech"). After seeing the guy on a skateboard, Patterson set out to make a seven minute movie about the kinda washed-up punk skater. Over time the project (backed by Christine Vachon and Killer Films) evolved into a feature doc that would go on to win the grand jury prize at SXSW and the top award at Hot Docs.
"Dragonslayer" is a terrific new non-fiction movie with a lot of love for its leading man and a disjointed cinematic spirit that makes it a thrill to watch on a big screen.
Riffing on 70s films and teen revolt movies like "Rivers Edge" and "Over The Edge", as he explained tonight at Silverdocs, Patterson put the camera in his subject's own hands at times, aiming to create an in-the-moment portrait of a California kid (and his striking young girlfriend) from Fullerton who skates inside the dilapidated pools of foreclosed suburban homes.
"Screech is a dragonslayer," a friend of Sandoval's once told Patterson, describing the skinny slacker (and giving the movie its title). The director said tonight that he was drawn to the idea of documenting a guy whose life lacked a safety net.
He's created a tender portrait worth watching.
Pictured (Above) "Dragonslayer" director Tristan Patterson and producer John Baker at Silverdocs tonight in Maryland. Photo by Eugene Hernandez. (Below) Josh "Screech" Sandoval (center). Image courtesy of the filmmakers.