DOCUMENTARY | 10 – 15 MIN. | ADDICTION, CREATIVITY AND CONNECTION, HONORABLE MENTIONS
Every Sunday, a group of sober skaters get together in Venice, CA to ride – wild and free.
But What Does It Mean?
EXPLORE THE FILM'S MEANING →
Even when we feel that we have a sense of a film’s meaning, there is often more to uncover.
Watch this video to better understand the film and why we selected it for the festival.
CLICK TO EXPLORE THE FILM'S THEMES
Where do you belong? And what could a heightened sense of belonging help you achieve? On a blank piece of paper, draw carefully and slowly a circle for every group where you feel you belong. Base the size of the circle on how important the group is to you. Do any of the circles overlap? Feel free to add colors or to label each to distinguish between the circles. Once finished, hang prominently.
Meet the Filmmaker
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Hailing from Northern Michigan, Lije Sarki is a filmmaker, writer, and producer who brings his humble Midwest attitude to everything he does. From shooting skate videos with his friends to producing Hollywood motion pictures with movie stars, he has garnered a versatile and unique skillset. At the moment, Lije has a number of films and television series in various stages of development and production – from docu-series to narrative feature films. With the success of THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON, he has been able to focus on stories that really ring true to his core values. During post production on PBF, he wrote, directed, and produced CONCRETE KIDS over 17 nights with two 9-year-old boys and $25K – it can now be found streaming on Hulu. Currently, Lije is developing a series at Snapchat with his close friend and writing partner Ari Basile. Today, Lije lives in Venice, CA where he rests with his wife and two children. He still surfs and skates every single day.
WHY THEY MADE THE FILM
“I got sober nearly six years ago. I wear my recovery on my sleeve because it is 100% responsible for the life I have today. From my teenage years on, I softened every meaningful experience I had with alcohol, mainly because I never learned how to do most things without it. When I got sober, I had to learn how to do everything again; be intimate with my wife, watch sports, spend time and interact socially with other people, be vulnerable, find friends that liked the same stuff I did – the list goes on and on. One of my biggest fears was that the fun was over. That was the most terrifying part: the idea that I’ll have nothing left in common with the friends I have without the drink and that I’ll have to start all over. This isn’t an attack on drinking by any means. For an alcoholic, there just isn’t a choice. I think that’s why people go back to using and drinking so often when all they want to do is stop. They need that connection and the only one they might have is a polluted one, at least for the addict or alcoholic. Little did I know there was a world beyond my wildest dreams standing by. I was introduced to the SUNDAYS squad pretty early on in my recovery. A group of sober skateboarders? I was like, “no fucking way”. I honestly can’t remember how I came across it, but I remember how small it was when I got there. There couldn’t have been more than five or six people in the crew. I instantly loved it. It was intimate and not very threatening, they adopted me right away – and it was really fucking cool. There was no way I ever thought anything was going to be cool again once I got sober. I instantly related. See, skateboarders will take anyone in. Skaters have always been a group of “outsiders” but once you are one, you get to always feel like an insider. These were guys and girls just like I used to be, recovering from alcoholism. We would share stories every Sunday morning and then go skating. I really hadn’t skated seriously since my late teens and pretty much left it behind when I started drinking. Now I was fully back in the mix and it inspired me like nothing else. I felt alive again, and young. Sobriety was actually sort of fun with the whole skating aspect. The more I got to know the group the more fun I had. It wasn’t only fun as I started to care about these people and their lives. Over time, we’ve all grown together, had kids, got jobs, lost jobs, lost loved ones, experienced broken relationships, and dealt with relapse. Through all this we’ve had each other’s backs and continue to share our experiences, strengths, and hopes with one another. Some of these people have become my best friends and part of my family. For a lot of the folks in this group it’s the only family they have.”
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ABOUT THE UNLONELY PROJECT
The UnLonely Project broadens public awareness of the negative physical and mental health consequences of loneliness while also promoting creative arts-based approaches to reduce the burden. Click here for mental health resources.