Cha Cha Film Fest


The Independent Skateboard Film Festival debuts at the Cha Cha Lounge in Silver Lake, Calif. between May 28 and 30.

A new competition for skateboard filmmakers was recently announced, not by a major media source, but by a bar in the hipster neighborhood of Silver Lake, Calif. The Cha Cha Lounge International Skateboard Film Festival is a decidedly unique contest that will celebrate skaters and lesser-known skate filmmakers alongside those who already enjoy the spotlight.

The Cha Cha Lounge is best known as the watering hole for skateboarders, their friends and collaborators. On any given Thursday you'll find a dozen pros on hand to live it up with The Blackouts, the DJ duo of Ako and Atiba Jefferson, who're also co-founders of The Skateboard Mag.

When asked why the Cha Cha Lounge has built up such loyal patronage of the skate community, bartender and resident ripper Tristan Saether said, "I think it's the simple fact that everyone who works at the Cha Cha is in some way related to music, art or skateboarding. Because there is so much crossover in those areas, I think it naturally became a hangout for skaters. Throw in a couple of skater-oriented DJ nights and cheap Pabst and you've got a winning combo."

The connection between the Cha Cha Lounge and The Skateboard Mag provided an organic foundation to foster the idea and allow the film festival to take root. Saether explained, "It just snowballed into this thing. We started asking around for potential sponsors and they appeared." Backing the CCLISFF are respected brands like Vans Syndicate, Baker Boys Distribution, Girl Skateboards, The Skateboard Mag and tech-accessory giant Incase.

Vans Skate Marketing Manager Justin Regan explained the significance of the CCLISFF, saying, "Skate videos are the single most important vehicle for progressing the activity and the culture of skateboarding, so it's in every skate company's best interest to come together in support and to celebrate the video makers wherever the opportunity arises. It just so happens that the opportunity is arising at a bar within crawling distance to my house."

Once they had the concept and sponsors locked down, the founders looked to the Internet to announce the event and solicit submissions. Saether explained, "We aren't just looking for the next big skater or contest winner -- not that we don't want those videos too, but we're interested in it being a fairly diverse film fest. There are five different categories (short- and long-form skateboard film directing, cinematography, editing and innovation) [and] each [is] pretty much open to interpretation. From skating a parking block with your friends to throwing hammers down Wallenberg, we want to see it all."

Films completed within the last three years up to Jan. 28, 2013, are being accepted for consideration. Submissions must be received or postmarked by April 24. Films that are chosen for the inaugural CCLISFF will be announced May 21 on the official website.

Judges include skateboard photographer and Cha Cha DJ Atiba Jefferson along with professional skateboarders Jerry Hsu and Kevin "Spanky" Long. Screenings and awards will take place online and live at the Cha Cha Lounge May 28-30.

For detailed submission information and to stay up to date on the latest news about the Cha Cha Lounge International Film Festival, check out

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