Arrondissement de paris
Our Second Off Size project is an offering from two actors in the French scene, Greg Dezecot and Olivier Fanchon. Filmers, as you call them…
Under this rather vague moniker, you can find varied sensibilities and talents. These two got the experience of two full lengths with Frame By Frame and Skate Pistols, and this allows them to have a clear vision of what they want to show you now. And this is also why we decided, with Nike's support, to team up with them.
You could sum Parisii up in one feeling: the one of discovering a city full of spots, just there for you! But let them give you the grand tour…
Interview: Benjamin Deberdt
Photo: Jo Dezecot
You should introduce yourselves, first…
Greg: I am 28, and have been living in Paris for three years, now. Originally, I’m from he countryside, a small town of a thousand inhabitants –outside of Tours–, that get their food delivered by crows, with only one spot: a patch of asphalt in front of my house. That’s it! Paris actually happened when I decided to stop working in skateboarding. I was some sort skate class teacher, with that whole organized sport feel, which really isn’t my thing. So, to be more in line with what I like about skateboarding, I decided to find a job in another passion of mine. I have been filming for a long time now, so I decided to work in that field. So, to be a video editor, I moved to Paris, as this is where all the production companies are located…
Olivier: As for me, I’m 31, and not really a Parisian, as I live in the suburbs! [Laughter] I live real close, in Clamart, in the South of Paris. I moved there in 92, I believe. This is where I started skating, in my small town, and to be frank, this is quite recent that I’m more focused on Paris. As soon as you’re out the inner city, you’re a Parisian, but not really… You’re just the suburb guy! [Laughter]
Did you meet around the Frame By Frame video project?
Olivier: Before that…
Greg: Yep, Olivier had been filming with the Nine Yards guys [Defunct French brand, Ed’s Note] and Sam Partaix was their little kid, then! So, he started filming with Sam, and coming to visit him in Tours. We had grown up skating with Sam, so we meet Oliv’ as he became a regular fixture in Tours.
Olivier: Apart from skateboarding, I really fell for the place, I even thought about moving there, at some point.
Greg: After that, I filmed Sam’s skateshop video, Skate Pistols, and Oliv’ gave us a lot of footage. From there, we started doing this website, called Behind The Lens, with Romain Bâtard, where we would post various montages and photos from a bunch of people… We got tired of it, and thought we should end it with a bang, by putting out a full length on DVD, Frame By Frame.
Olivier: What really got us psyched, with Romain, was Ludo Azémar’s Patchwork video. When we saw it, we thought: “Godamm, that guy just put out a full length with all these people in it, on his own!” We were shook! We decided we had to do something…
Getting ahead, how did the whole Parisii idea developed?
Greg: It didn’t happen overnight… We finished Frame By Frame six months after I had moved to Paris, and as everybody who has filmed a full length skate video, I just wanted to put the camera in the bag, and go skate. I was tired of carrying stuff, but soon enough I got frustrated by all the spot I would see, here, and couldn’t skate because of my level, let’s say. Speaking with JB Gurliat, a photographer that lives here also, we started toying with the idea of a project about Paris, not its skaters. Then came the idea to stay away from putting out a DVD, but to develop something on the web, around a map. It took a while to get to fruition, after that… Some times, I would get loads of footage, and some others not film one thing in six months, so I would end up thinking I’d never actually do it… Then, last year, I spoke Oliv’ into joining the project and refine it wit me, so it wouldn’t just be my vision.
Olivier: On Frame By Frame, we actually edited one part together, which was the Paris one, incidentally. And we really enjoyed working together. And, also, then, we managed to do something about Paris, while still avoiding the famous spots. So we knew it was doable.
Greg: Also, to break that whole program of “Filming, filming, filming” then edit for three months in a row, we arrived to the concept of a blog where we would upload short montages regularly, which we thought was more modern and in the way of how people watch skateboarding videos nowadays.
Olivier: Basically, Greg is an editor, and I am one also, so we do have a good dynamic together, on that whole level!
How would you sum up your first idea, and how it id evolves from there?
Olivier: Personally, after Frame By Frame, I kind of wanted to give up on filming skating, which is why I admire Ludo’s endless enthusiasm… Filming skateboard videos is insanely complicated. It is a bit like doing a full-length movie on your own! At a time, Pacôme Gabrillagues had this site where he would post montages of his friends, where they always looked like they had so much fun, while not necessarily trying to film the latest cool trick. And I knew that if I would ever start another skate project, it would be in that spirit. So, when we started talking with Greg, we quickly agree on that format.
Greg: We can’t film everybody and every single spot, but the basic idea is putting out montages that give that sense of good times from the sessions. That’s the heart of Parisii. While the real difficulty is getting the skaters to break out of that format where a video is to showcase your level. Here the subject is the city, and the session… And having fun!
Olivier: Where usually, when you want to have fun, you don’t film! [Laughter]
Greg: Another difficulty, sometimes, is dragging people out of their territories. That, and the weather…
Olivier: We want to show that every little thing can be fun. And I believe that this is what these types of edits gets you more amped to go skate with your buddies then a “serious part”, because you wish you could have been part of that session!
Greg: Hence to idea to make the city the star, not one skater, or a group of skaters. The star is the city and the fun you can have it. But to avoid it to turn into a maelstrom, we logically decided to divide it by districts. So, it is a team effort, between the skaters and us, to showcase Paris and its neighborhood, which are really diverse and rich…
Sounds like a good program… Any last word?
Greg: I think both of us would like to really thank all the skaters that have been supportive of the project from the beginning, and who skate with us…
From now on, you can follow Parisii on its dedicated space and map.