Holding On : 5 Years removed.

By Dan Dobbin.

Five years on from debut of the seminal documentary film ” Holding On : The Skid Kids Story” we catch up with one half of the production team in Simon Bruncke to get his recollections and reflections on the release of the film.

It’s been five years since ” Holding On” premiered. Looking back now, what are your reflections on that time?

It was crazy dude. I’d just started a new job, bought a house and had a wife and 2 young kids all requiring my time and attention. I pretty much spent every spare minute I had for almost 3 years hassling Trent (Holding On Editor, Assistant Producer/Director and Director of Photography) and finding time to produce, promote, manage and sell the movie.

If you can, talk us through the original genisis of the film, and then the process of bringing that idea to fruition?

I’d thought of making a movie about the Skid Kids after watching the Dogtown and Z Boys movie in the early 2000’s, but it wasn’t until Trent and I were catching up over a few beers at a mate’s place that the process got started. Trent’s a fellow bodyboarder and great mate that works in the media industry and when I pitched him the idea he loved it and it all went from there.

Wingo, Simon and Trent.

Although I did the majority of putting everything together, Trent deserves all the credit for the final product. The amazing job he did of editing the almost 50 hours of interview footage we shot and endless hours of archival footage into the final product completely by himself was incredible.

Where do you think that” Holding On” stands in the history of bodyboarding films? It seems like it really was the first film to try to follow a narrative and be informative as well as entertaining?

It’s kinda hard for me to say where it sits amongst other bodyboarding films because like you say it’s really the only film in the sport to tell a story in the way that it did. I guess when it got to Number 1 on iTunes for documentary’s in Australia, I knew we’d made something special.

Did you have any outside films or documentaries that influenced how the film looked and presented?

Oh man so many. I grew up obsessed with Strohy’s Underground Tapes movies, which are what got me started bodyboarding in the first place. My mate Jarrod’s older brother would force us to watch Taylor Steele’s surfing movies to try and get us to ride surfboards, but we actually loved watching them because they had great music and we’d imagine what bodyboarders would do on the waves that the surfers were riding.

Later on I enjoyed Andy Lawrence’s movies and obviously the Tension and No Friends series were awesome as well, but what I really started to love were the documentary’s that other “Extreme” sports were doing so well.

The most influential for me at the time of making Holding On were the Dogtown and Z Boys skateboarding doco, the Parks Bonifay wakeboarding doco and surfing docos Bra Boys and Riding Giants.

What was it like being in contact with and probing into the lives of legends like the skid kids?

A grommies dream come true for sure. As a kid I had posters up on my wall of pretty much everyone we interviewed.

Was there anything that came out of your interviews and research that really surprised or moved you with the crew?

As a grom I’d always heard rumours about what Wingnut had gone through with his dad passing away and his struggles with being bipolar, but getting to know him and having him open up to us about it was really quite powerful.

A line up of legends.

I was also surprised by how fondly everyone talked about the sport of bodyboarding. I expected a lot of them to be a little bitter about not earning much money or not having the career they thought they deserved but they all still love it, which is awesome.

We’re you happy with the impact the film had? It seemed to reach the broader surf community and be well received.

Yes and no. We knew bodyboarders would love it and we got some great feedback from people outside the sport as well but we thought it’d make a bit more of an impact with a mainstream audience than it did.

More legends.

You took Wingnut along to many of the premieres, what was that like?

Awesome. The guy is such a legend! We had some pretty fun times cruising from town to town surfing and partying with bodyboarding royalty like Damian King in Port Macquarie, Garth Macgregor in Newcastle and Eddie Wearne in Vico. Plus, watching bodyboarders of all ages just completely frothing over him at the premieres was one of the highlights of the whole experience.

We hear that Nugget was in particular good form at the Byron Bay premiere, can you share a little ( or a lot) about that ?

There were some pretty wild scenes at some of the screenings and after party’s. Unfortunately though what goes on tour stays on tour, sorry.

Nugget and Chopper.

Any plans in the pipeline for another film in the future?

Trent and I have a few ideas for our next film including a Mike Stewart doco, but various factors have made it hard to get any of them off the ground at this stage. We’re still hopeful of getting stuck into a new project soon though.

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