Spencer Legebokoff is always on the lookout for places no one else wants to go.
Sometimes it’s an alley, or maybe a forgotten parkette. In Kelowna his camera was drawn to a drainage ditch. If it’s good for skateboarding and visually interesting, he’ll film it.
“You really learn a lot about a city filming because you’re in every alleyway, behind every building,” said Legebokoff. “You’re not just looking for the main drag, you’re looking for the weird stuff. It could even just be some really cool assorted bricks on the ground or a cool design on a wall that makes a clip good. Of course you’re trying to do the best tricks and performance that you can, but it helps if the environment’s good.”
Legebokoff is preparing to reveal just what he’s been doing in alleys across Canada since beginning filming in 2015. The 20-year-old filmmaker is debuting Stigma at the Civic Theatre on Wednesday. Tickets are $10, with a 7 p.m. screen time.
The film is Legebokoff’s second project after his film Locals Only, and for three years was a labour of love. After graduating from Mount Sentinel, Legebokoff began filming his friends. About 25 skaters appear in Nelson, Trail, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Kelowna for the 24-minute film.
“It doesn’t seem like that long of a film for three years,” he said. “But how it works is you could be filming for three hours and get a five-second clip — if the guy lands it. It’s not like you can set up shots, it’s not like you’re acting. You’re relying on the ambitions of other people.”
Legebokoff started skating when he was 13. He took a few years off, returned to it at 17, and became interested in film in high school.
Stigma is in part a showcase for local skaters, but also for a self-taught director. He’s setting aside filmmaking in September to start a media studies degree at the University of British Columbia’s campus in Kelowna, which means Wednesday’s premier marks the end of a special time in his life.
“Skate films come out every day. Like every hour,” he said. “So to do something with a premier is a lot more rare these days. Something with a DVD is a lot more rare these days. But to create a hard copy of a representation of three years of the best years of your life? You can hold onto that. Otherwise they’re just memories.”