Contributor

Stacy Peralta

Documentarian

You could sum up Stacy Peralta’s continuing artistic expression in three words: “Point of View.” World champion athlete, captain of industry by age 21, director, writer and producer in video, television and feature documentary. His laurels include both a World Skateboard Championship and a Director’s Award at the Sundance Film Festival. He is credited with inventing the Action Sports Video and reinventing the Action Sports Feature Documentary. He has written screenplays and has had screenplays written about him for big studios like Sony Pictures. And he who now brings his wealth of experience and point of view to Made in America, his latest and most provocative artistic endeavor.

Stacy Peralta was born and raised in West Los Angeles, California, growing up on the beaches of Venice and Santa Monica. But Peralta was also a product of the streets, where he and a band of fellow “Dogtown” teenagers became the vanguard of the 1970s Skateboard Culture. Peralta rolled this status into a real profession, earning product endorsements, TV and film appearances and a Skateboarding World Championship—all by the age of 19.

During the early 1980s, Peralta chose to “retire” as a professional skateboarder, and joined George Powell to form Powell-Peralta, then the leading manufacturer of skateboard related products. Producing, directing and editing 1984’s Bones Brigade Video Show, Peralta literally created an entirely new genre of film. Equal parts action, entertainment and personality, Peralta’s series of 8 “straight-to-video” skate films revolutionized sports media, establishing a template that has become the standard in today’s action sports industry.

In 1990, Stacy left Powell-Peralta to become a full-time writer/director, working in network TV, producing documentary, comedy, various series and specials.

In 2000, Peralta wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Dogtown and Z-Boys, an unflinching chronicle of the birth of modern skateboard culture. Dogtown and Z-Boys won both the prestigious Directors Award and the Audience Award at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. The film then went on to win “Best Documentary” at the Independent Spirit Awards as well as an international release through Sony Pictures Classics.

Riding Giants, his second feature documentary and a dramatic examination of the world of big wave surfing, was chosen for the opening night premiere at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival—an honor never before bestowed on a documentary. It too went on to an international run with Sony Pictures Classics.

Made in America is not only Peralta’s most personal project. It has also been his most difficult. After watching Los Angeles burn in 1992 and with a young son at home, Peralta found himself questioning why this was happening for a second time in the same city and why were the two most infamous African-American gangs created here in L.A.. After a very long road, he has created the film he set out to create 15 years ago, an insider’s look on a subject that very few on the outside know anything about.

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