Nice write-up for our Skatopia documentary in the Parkersburg News & Sentinel.

Film looks at city native – Parkersburg News and Sentinel.com

ATHENS, Ohio – A Parkersburg man who has created a hardcore skateboarding haven in rural Meigs County is the subject of a new documentary to be shown during the 37th Athens International Film and Video Festival, which opens Friday and runs through April 29 at the Athena Cinema at 20 South Court St. in Athens.

“Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy,” about Brewce Martin, will be one of the competition films opening the first night of the festival. It will be shown at 9:15 p.m. Friday. It was produced by Headlamp Pictures of Plattsburgh, N.Y., by director Laurie House.

This year’s lineup features new independent films from around the world selected from an all-time record number of entries, officials said. More than 250 titles were chosen from 1,100 submissions by a selection process that started in October.

Martin grew up in Parkersburg where he was a paperboy for The Parkersburg News, covering a route in Vienna for a year in 1978. He won his first skateboard in a Parkersburg News and Sentinel contest for paperboys and at the age of 12 he went to city council meetings to try to get a skateboard park built.

He graduated from Parkersburg Catholic High School in 1983, the same year a half-pipe was built in City Park as the first local skateboard attraction. Martin went to college in Florida and has traveled around the world in the years since leaving Parkersburg, visiting 33 countries.

He returned to the Mid-Ohio Valley for a period in 1993, living on Progress Ridge Road. On Feb. 1, 1996, he started Skatopia near Rutland, Ohio, about 20 miles from Athens.

In the years since, Skatopia has become a mecca for hardcore, underground skateboarders. The place has been featured in mainstream and skateboard media, including Rolling Stone, on MTV and in Thrasher magazine.

Tony Hawk, Bam Margera and many other famous skaters have visited and are featured in the movie. Skatopia is featured in one of Hawk’s videogames.

In addition to a wide range of skateboarding terrains and other attractions, Martin has also created a skateboarding museum on the site, with many skateboards and other items he’s collected over the years.

The first production skateboards started coming out between 1959 and 1961, Martin said, growing out of rollerskates and scooters instead of surfboards, as many people believe.

“Life is a struggle, that’s what the film is about,” Martin said of “Skatopia.”

For years, he has been following his dreams but said any dream requires work, struggle and hardship to achieve and maintain, whatever it is, and there is always good and bad to be dealt with. Martin believes a little work on a daily basis adds up to a lot of accomplishment, which he believes is illustrated by what has been accomplished at Skatopia.

At the film and video festival, cash prizes are awarded by guest jurors in four categories: documentary, experimental, narrative and animation. Awards will be announced on the final day of the festival.

Competition shows before 5 p.m. are free admission. Admission to International Feature Showcase films that begin before 5 p.m. is $5 and all shows after 5 p.m. are $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for seniors and children. Tickets can be purchased at the Athena Cinema.

The full schedule of screenings is available at the festival Web site at www.athensfest.org.