PREMIERE / Videostill / Dom Diaz / INTERVIEW

Now, the name of Dom Diaz might be unknown to a lot of you as the man himself is still young and also operating from Guadalajara in Mexico - another country the skate scene of which comes with its lots of criminally underrepresented local talents, on the worldwide radar. A longtime big VX-1000 and film enthusiast, Dom has released a few web edits before under the alias Zimm Skateboarding and now, "VIDEOSTILL" is the title of his new full-length video, four years in the making. The whole film is the subject of today's premiere and, to celebrate, we caught up with the author for some public chit chat.

LIVE Skateboard Media: Yo Dom! What’s up? May you please introduce yourself to our readers, where are you from, when did you take up skateboarding and how? How was your local scene then, and how did documenting skateboarding come into the picture, assuming that didn’t come first or earlier?

Dom Diaz: My name is Dominique, I’m twenty-one years old and I’m from Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico

I actually started filming and taking pictures around the BMX scene when I was about fourteen, fifteen years old but honestly, there was something about skateboarding that just really got me into it and has taken over my vision ever since; I watched a lot of skate videos from the nineties and started going out with some local friends to skate around the city and by that time, I had gotten my hands on a big Sony PD-150 - kind of like a VX-2000 but with a bulkier mic.

The feeling that skateboarding gave me was unlike anything else; I really found myself there.

"Mexico is too colorful to make a 'darker' montage"

LSM: How long have you spent working on this full-length video, "VIDEOSTILL"? How difficult was it to get done, and what was it that originally prompted you to tackle such a rather ambitious project? Can you describe how the process went, from getting the first couple of clips to it growing into this final piece? Could you articulate some of your motivations?

Dom: Well, at first, I didn’t have a defined idea of what I was doing; I first started out doing a couple of short montages featuring locals from Zapopan, a city near Guadalajara in Mexico - and then one day, we started getting more and more people to film to the point where I eventually decided to start making a longer video.

By that time I was really influenced by Josh Stewart's "STATIC" videos, especially the third and fourth which had this, like, darker vibe. Funnily, Mexico is too colorful to make a "darker" montage, so the end result looks very different, after wrapping up footage from four years of filming all around.

"I wanted it to look the way it felt"

LSM: How common are skate filmmakers in Mexico and out of those, how many of them are still favoring the Sony VX-1000? What is your personal take on the utilization of that camera, why did you choose to use it? Also, "VIDEOSTILL" comprises a good amount of Super 8 film and I know you shoot photos on the side - could you describe your apparent appeal to the analog format? How easy is it to work with such gear in Mexico?

Dom: I always loved the feeling of watching a physical video, 411VM, VHS tapes, Hi-8, DV cameras. Of course I started digging that in a completely different era when (at least here) Battle At The Berrics and Street League were all people talked about, whereas I was into that feeling of watching actual tapes.

It's not a big problem to find at least Mini-DV tapes here but of course, it’s a constant investment. When I decided to get into Super 8, it was a little hard to process them in Mexico but the attention to this format and other film options has been raising over the last few years, and it's generally becoming more accessible to use.

LSM: Some people treat their independent productions as messages, would you say you were aiming at one in particular with "VIDEOSTILL"? I can sense both a testimony to the local rippers you filmed with and appreciation for skateboarding as a worldwide activity, most notably highlighted by the Magenta mini part. So, since it appears to be nothing geographic, was there a certain aspect of skateboarding you tried to highlight via the use of those aesthetics, names, spots, clips? How did you choose the skaters you included in your film?

Dom: I don’t think I really had a specific message to give; it’s all just a montage of street skating and I wanted it to look the way it felt, convey how it feels when someone wants to skate because of the feeling of skating and not because they need something in exchange, with no pressure at all; after all, we skate to clear our minds from everything else around us.

"When I say independent, I mean it's really one or two guys working alone"

About aesthetics, I could say the whole transition came when I started watching skate videos, especially from Alien Workshop: all the different formats and colors, the visuals and of course the skateboarding in there really made me want to capture skateboarding in a similar way. There were way too many people I had footage of, and I kind of started filtering out what I liked in styles and visuals; throughout that time, the only person I was filming with almost every day was Gustavo Cortés, who managed to film a part in about a year and half.

LSM: Always a risky one but, can you try and describe the skate scene in Mexico altogether for those who’ve never experienced it? How big is it, how tight-knit is it? How strong is the street skating culture there as opposed to, say, the overwhelming mall surf vibes from the touristic areas? How does it look like in the most urban or suburban locations, is there an industry, an underground network of independent productions, magazines, publications? Local videos (of any era) that left a mark on you, that you’d be able to hook us up with, or anything underrepresented?

Dom: The Mexican scene overall is pretty big, there’s skating for almost any taste, from trendy videos with technical lines to heavy videos full of crazy hammers, and anything in between. Unfortunately, there isn't much space for those who are not destroying a big set of stairs or a crazy long rail for an ender. 

There’s a lot of people making their independent videos and zines around - when I say independent, I mean it's really one or two guys working alone on them. There are other larger exposure networks like Drop In, Ollie Shit and Urbe Skate; really good videos like “Ellos Dicen Usted Es Tonto” and “Uso Publico” and currently, the guys from Milquinientos Veintiuno who keep the VX and Super 8 combo alive, and put some good montages out there.

"I’ve been seeing more people dare express their own vision, and it really encourages me to continue"

Honestly I think there’s really good skating in Mexico, and it would be nice if everyone from here could work to get more exposure outside the country; there’s a lot of good stuff to be seen from over here.

LSM: Alright Dom, let’s wrap this up! Shout outs time, any final words for now? Any people you would like to thank?

Dom: Well, the skateboarding scene in general has definitely been changing lately, which hopefully will result in many good projects from everyone; I’ve been seeing more people dare express their own vision, and it really encourages me to continue doing this the way I do it. Many thanks to Diego of TSM skateboards who was the first person who supported me on this project, as well as all the people I met and skated with throughout the making of all those montages, André Musich, Gustavo Cortés, David García, Willy Figueroa, Martin Nuñez from Lúdica skateboards, and LIVE Skateboard Media for the chance here!

Live Skateboard MediaLive Skateboard Media

Wait to pass announcement...