Director Alexander Garcia: On Skateboards and Film

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You might say that film director Alexander Garcia is skating to the top. His upcoming project, Paved New World is his second film relating to the world of skateboarding along with his recently completed Skate God.

While the two are very different films, both have a shared passion for the sport.

“What attracted me to Paved New World was that when I first read the script, I felt each character had such a strong humanity and they were much different from other archetypes; they were characters we seldom see in other films,” he explains. Another attraction: “The script comes from the amazing writing duo Scott Marcano and Kip Koneig, who wrote Bio Dome,” Garcia explains. “The whole coming of age story is something that I feel will never go out of style. If I were to go back to films such as Stand By Me and films out of John Hughes’ library like Sixteen Candles, or Pretty in Pink, all those films have one thing in common – they’ve become a part of a timeless pop-culture.  Films of today do not have that elasticity.” At least until now. According to the director, Paved New World has all the makings to become a classic.

Garcia feels that the audience for the project is both general and niche. “It caters to the skateboarding subculture and will evoke what Lords of Dogtown did for the 40-something crowd, especially since the story takes place during the 90s,” he says, but notes that the project will appeal to a broad cross-section of mainstream viewers.

Garcia is working with star Daniel Pinder who plays Slim in the movie, an actor he worked with before in Skate God.  Pinder, well known for his role as Michael on Chicago PD – and for his love of skate boarding, seemed a perfect fit. Garcia was drawn to the actor for the pivotal role.

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“It would be disingenuous for me to say that Daniel is the embodiment of the Slim character.  That would be selling his acting ability short. Daniel is innately one of the most gifted performers out there today,” Garcia asserts. “He has the range to delve into any character by injecting himself into any role he takes on, which helps keep the realism intact. Your best actors are the ones that tap into their own inner being, becoming one with the character and playing off of their own idiosyncrasies.”

The chemistry between Pinder and actress Claudia Lee (Kick Ass 2) who plays his love interest, Jayce, in the film, was another part of the appeal, Garcia says. “Viewers will love his relationship with her.”

With Paved New World being the second project for Garcia involving skateboarding, the question had to be asked: what role did skateboarding play in his decision to make the film?

“I started skateboarding in the 80s when skateboarding hadn’t quiet found its footing yet. I continuously skated into the 90s…I turned professional in ’93, when skateboarding was on a downward slide because there were no monies to be doled out. It really came down to the artistry back then more than anything, which I feel is missing from today’s skating.”

Of course that changed again in the late 90s with a new incarnation of skateboarding including skateboard star Tony Hawk’s entrance into video gaming. “That’s when skateboarding really became a permanent mainstay in the extreme sports family,” Garcia says. He continued to skate professionally until 2007, and still uses his pro-model skateboard. While he no longer participates in contests, he carves out the time to skate at least once a week. Garcia was inducted into the freestyle skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2008.

He feels strongly that skateboarding exemplifies the idea of being an original and going against the grain, which he says has always been his personal mantra. “That’s why skateboarding was so attractive to me. When I started skating, there were no skateparks in existence so you had to skate in parking lots, underground parking structures, and you had to try to find your own safe haven. Mine happened to be my garage,” he laughs.

Gracia made the transition from pro skateboarder into filmmaker due to his long-standing love for cinema.

“That stems from when I was 6-years-old, going to the movies with my Mom in my hometown of Lakewood, Calif.,” he says.  “I would see films in every genre ranging from romantic comedies to thrillers to action, which in the end made me into a multi-genre storyteller. Horror films have always been my passion,” he adds.

His love of filmmaking took a back seat to professional skateboarding after high school, and he never attended film school. As a self-taught filmmaker, he says  “I have always leaned more toward being self-taught and less reliant on schooling and that comes directly from skateboarding.  I created my own personal style, I didn’t emulate anyone else, and it didn’t come from any book.”

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Currently, Garcia is working on a wide array of film projects in multiple genres along with his producing partners Anne Stimac and Stuart Arbury.

“One of the projects was derived from a children’s short story that I penned when I was 12 years old titled Libby’s Dreams. It deals with a detached, over-imaginative little girl with the ability to enter different worlds through her dreams. That helps her to fit into the world she comes from.  The Florida Project’s Valeria Cotto is set to star in the film as Libby. I’m also working on a mystery thriller, Gallatin 6, staring Tilky Jones and Daniela Bobadilla, and Apparency, which I like to describe as a supernatural love story centered on reincarnation — with consequences. And of course, there’s Skate God which is going to be a game changer in the sci-fi/dystopian genre.”

With projects like this in Garcia’s quiver, Paved New World is just the start of a brave new career.

  • Genie Davis

Paved New World Offers Brave New Role for Actor Daniel Pinder

 

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Daniel Pinder, well known for his role as Michael on Chicago PD – and for his love of skate boarding – is about to start in a new film project, Paved New World . With a powerful role inspiring his craft, he found the transition to a big-screen project inspiring.

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“We start filming in October in Los Angeles and I can’t wait. The movie is set in the 90s and follows two teens, Slim and Kilgore on their last day of summer as they travel across town to watch their skate boarding idol attempt a suicidal skate trick,” Pinder explains. “It’s really a coming of age story about these best friends on a journey of finding themselves.”

Pinder terms the story eminently relatable, and he feels he’s fortunate to be able to help tell it. “My character Slim is really spectacular. He’s very artistic; he’s a rebel at times with a sensitive side. He’s the kind of friend that everyone wants in their group of friends, the friend that will take a bullet for you.”

The film, written by Bio-Dome creators Scott Marcano and two time Emmy nominated and Golden Globe winner Kip Koenig of Greys Anatomy is directed by Skate God director Alexander Garcia. Pinder will be sharing the screen with actors such as Nash Grier from The Outfield and You Get Me, and as his love-interest, Claudia Lee of Kick-Ass 2 and Hart of Dixie.

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Pinder has loved acting since his childhood. “I get to entertain whoever the audience is and hopefully make an impact on their lives.” He says that he always knew that he wanted to impact other people’s lives, but wasn’t always sure how.

“Through watching movies or television shows that I liked, I started to see that the characters in these shows go through things I might have been going through at that time or things I might go through in the future, and it’s like the characters were teaching me or showing me ways to deal with the things in my life.” Calling this a moment of discovery, Pinder says this was when he knew that “acting was the thing for me, and the way I wanted to help other people.”

Pinder was raised in Fargo, North Dakota, far from the Los Angeles and New York acting scene. His friends and family have been supportive. “We all push each other to work hard to succeed at whatever we want to do,” he relates.

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Pinder’s first role on Chicago PD made him fall in love with acting. “Michael was my first role. I got the part two months after dropping out of culinary school,” he laughs. “I was living in Minneapolis at the time and I actually self-taped my audition in my basement. I got called back again the night after my tape was submitted asking for more video of me, and I was told it was down between me and about 8 other guys.” He got the call every actor wants to hear – you got the role – the night of his father’s birthday party.

Pinder says he relates well to the character, and was able to bring his favorite hobby – skateboarding – to the character, too.

Along with Paved New World, the actor just finished working on Alexander Garcia’s film Skate God. The skateboarding hobby Pinder has long enjoyed is useful for this role, as well.

The just-released film, which also involves actor Peter Fonda, deals with the descendent of Greek gods in a dystopian future. Pinder plays the role of Clash. Director Garcia is also working with Pinder on an upcoming mystery, Gallatin 6.

But it’s Paved New World which is most on Pinder’s mind right now. Having a lead role is an exciting first.

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“I really did fight for this part. I actually flew down from Fargo to Los Angeles to meet with Scott Marcano and Kip Koenig who wrote the film. They told me their vision, and I told them what I wanted to bring to the project and we really clicked. I think what makes me right for this part is that I understand Slim and in a weird way I feel like I’ve been very close to this character most of life,” Pinder asserts.  “What I most identify with in him is his passion. I’m very excited for everyone to meet Slim.”

Pinder adds “Besides the amazing team behind the movie, what really drew me to Slim was that he makes choices that I didn’t have the courage to do in my real life.”

Of course, pursuing acting itself was a courageous choice, and Pinder does have a few salient words of advice for anyone who wishes to follow in his footsteps. “Always stay unique because that’s what people are looking for. Work hard, stay true to yourself, and don’t change just to fit into the L.A. scene. You can do it no matter where you live as long you’re willing to put in the work,” he smiles. “If I can do it while I was living in Fargo, you can do it too.”

  • Genie Davis; photos provided by Daniel Pinder

Paved New World is set to release June 21, 2018.