International skateboarding icon Tony Hawk has come on board as an Executive Producer (EP) of the Vancouver-made short film 'Joe Buffalo' which has made the festival rounds and was released to a wide audience for free online this October.
The film follows the story of Joe Buffalo, the first residential school survivor to become a professional skateboarder.
What exactly does it mean for someone to come on board in this role long after a film has wrapped and been released? Director Amar Chebib tells Vancouver Is Awesome that "it means that Tony is throwing his weight behind it as a celebrity to help it get the attention we feel it deserves."
Chebib notes that Hawk isn't investing money into it, as you might assume an EP would do, but is investing his name and his brand.
He notes that without the bird man's profile they "would not have gotten coverage in a major Hollywood industry publication like Deadline," and they are now throwing their hat in the ring for the Oscars.
And while there is a huge advantage for the film to have a celebrity endorsement like this, on a personal level Chebib says that "it feels amazing" to have Hawk backing the film, as the director has always been a fan of his. He says, "My younger sister was joking that teenage Amar playing the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on Playstation would be freaking out right now... and he kind of is."
Coming up next for the Vancouver director is a film about Darius Sam, a 21-year-old prodigy ultrarunner from Lower Nicola First Nation, just outside of Merritt, B.C.
Chebib explains that the story is similar in some ways to Joe's in that the subject also had a very challenging upbringing, "with all the cards stacked against him."
The film should release sometime next year. For now, check out Joe Buffalo.