Dogtown and Z-Boys

Director: Stacy Peralta
Screenwriters: Stacy Peralta, Craig Stecyk

Institute History


Skateboarding has crossed over into the mainstream population due in large part to the humble beginnings of a group of eight teenagers in an area of Santa Monica called Dogtown. It was there that this mismatched gang of kids from broken homes formed a group known as the Zephyr Team aka Z-Boys. They rode surfboards in the morning and skateboards in the afternoon and created a style all their own. Shunned by more conventional riders, these kids were social outcasts who were able to express themselves with their bodies in fluid motion. Desperate to ride, they used guerrilla tactics such as illegally skating abandoned swimming pools in upscale Los Angeles neighborhoods.

But by the midseventies, the skateboard phenomenon had caught on, and a few of the Z-Boys were scooped up by corporate sponsors and offered large sums of money to skate on their behalf. This elevated them from freewheeling street punks to celebrity skaters; they traveled the world, showing off their cutting-edge moves. Director Stacy Peralta, one of the original Z-Boys, has pulled off a wonderful feat: encapsulating a cultural movement on wheels. Reuniting the original crew 25 years later enables us to hear in their own words what it was like before x-treme sports existed. Dogtown and Z-Boys ricochets off the screen with breathtaking 8-mm and 16-mm footage and stunning still photographs of the Z-Boys in their heyday. Brilliantly crafted, melding the old filmed footage and new editing techniques with music from the era, Dogtown and Z-Boys emerges as a captivating, highly original, and consummately artistic work.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


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