Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator

Director: Helen Stickler

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Director Helen Stickler showed incredible foresight and understanding of a culture by documenting an underground artistic movement that swelled to gargantuan proportions in her short film, André the Giant Has a Posse, which played at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. In her latest film, she documents another movement that exploded with far more tragic consequences.

With its freestyle nature and hardcore edge, skateboarding became the definitive activity for youth culture in the 1980s. However, its crossover into mainstream acceptance did not come without a price. At the forefront of the movement was Mark "Gator" Rogowski, whose aggressive style and flashy moves propelled him into the spotlight of celebrity. But as the theatrical day-glo excess of vert skating lost its cool, Rogowski's life spiraled down a sadly familiar path of postfame disintegration.

Using Rogowski's tragic tale as its thread, Stoked portrays a culture consumed by greed and fame that crumbles and reinvents itself with horrific consequences. Utilizing interviews with all the key players and amazing archival footage documenting the various stages of Rogowski's career and psyche, Stickler once again displays an impressive knack for giving us an unforgettable tale from the underground that will appeal to all.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details


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