Monday, 5 September 2011

First Look: Dragonslayer

As part of its First Look program, from 6-16 October the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) presents Dragonslayer (2011), the debut documentary from award winning director Tristan Patterson.

Embodying the spirit of Larry Clarke and Gus Van Sant, Dragonslayer follows the adventures of washed up pro-skateboarder Josh 'Screech' Sandoval who travels around the USA in search of abandoned swimming pools, and tries his luck at skating competitions along the way. Spending much of his time drinking beers, smoking bongs, and hanging out with his girlfriend, Screech's life is on a path to nowhere in particular. 

An exercise in low budget filmmaking, Dragonslayer was shot in high definition video through the lens of an SLR camera. Capturing the beauty of the American landscape in the most unassuming locations and intercut with skater-operated flip camera footage, the film is a portrait of suburban angst, punk rock attitude and quiet reflection.

As Tristan told IndieWIRE, "I was trying to capture lives unfolding without interfering with them. It was wild, because [my subjects] didn't know what I was doing and I didn't know what they were going to do. It's frightening and unusual to make a movie where everything is happening in real time."

With a haunting score by T.Griffin and an indie-rock soundtrack including Thee Oh Sees, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Best Coast and Dungen, Dragonslayer was a hit on the international festival circuit and won Best Documentary and Cinematography at the 2011 SxSW Film Festival.

ACMI Film Programmer Kristy Matheson says, "Right from the opening sequences, Dragonslayer is a captivating film. Tristan Patterson gives his characters and the audience so much space to breathe. Nothing feels forced here, it is hugely cinematic but in a very understated way."

Praise for Dragonslayer:

"There is a palpable emotional immediacy to Patterson's portrait style of filmmaking." - LA Times

"The viewer feels as though they are watching a beautifully shot scripted feature akin to Lost in Translation or Before Sunset. [Sandoval] cuts a Holden Caulfield-esque picture on screen." - Realscreen

".a bounty of beautiful imagery and fresh angles on skateboarding culture." -

"Low-key and observant, the movie's a portrait of a generation swooping brilliantly through an empty swimming pool". -The Boston Globe

The First Look season of Dragonslayer screens at ACMI in Melbourne from 6-16 October 2011. For program information and session times visit

Tristan Patterson, 73 mins, USA, 2011, Digital Betacam. Source: Madman Entertainment. Courtesy: Madman Entertainment.

Further information

Frances Mariani
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2475 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 655
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