Shred sticks and caves: SF State student premieres skate film at Sutro Baths

Made up of equal parts marijuana smoke, dust and excitement, the Sutro Caves filled with more than 50 people itching to see an SF State film student’s first full-length skate film “Get Yo Freak On” Thursday.

After two and a half years of filming, SF State student Sam Gershwin was ready for the premiere.

“It’s hard to film a video segment,” Gershwin said. “You never want to stop filming, and you always think you can do something better.”

SF State students Nicole Green, Erin Soden, Aimee Richter and Kelly Belko pose for a portrait at the premier of "Get Yo Freak On!" in the Sutro Baths Cave, San Francisco, Calif. Thursday, Oct 8. (James Chan / Xpress)

SF State students Nicole Green, Erin Soden, Aimee Richter and Kelly Belko pose for a portrait at the premier of “Get Yo Freak On!” in the Sutro Baths Cave, San Francisco, Calif. Thursday, Oct 8. (James Chan / Xpress)

Dimly lit by cigarettes and iPhones, Gershwin stood in front of the shouting crowd, grabbed the microphone with one hand, clutching a tall can of Modelo in the other, and said, “Let’s get it started.”

When the projector clicked on, howls of laughter and cheers boomed throughout the cave as the film opened with Missy Elliott’s classic 2001 jam, “Get Ur Freak On.”

For Gershwin, skateboarding is not a hobby, but a passion and a potential career, he said.

“Once I started skating there was always a camera there —I just like filming,” Gershwin said.

Completing the film was the latest endeavor for the skater, who said he started manufacturing and selling skateboards back in 2013 for his brand, Freakwency Skateboards.

When Xpress reported on Gershwin last spring, he said he hoped to have the film ready by October 2015. The film’s screening was the realization of that goal.

The video pays homage to variety and quality of street skating spots that San Francisco is famous for, he said.

“We only filmed street skating,” Gershwin said. “That’s what took so long. “If we did it in a park, we could have had it done in a few months.”

The film is a conglomeration of San Francisco’s skate talent. “Anyone that skates at SF State made it into this film,” Gershwin said.

Not only did SF State students make and star in the film, the campus itself was seen multiply times as Gershwin and friends shredded after hours.

SF State Student Sam Gershwin prepares the premier of "Get Yo Freak On!", a skate film he produced, in the Sutro Baths Cave, San Francisco, Calif. Thursday, Oct 8. (James Chan / Xpress)

SF State Student Sam Gershwin prepares the premier of “Get Yo Freak On!”, a skate film he produced, in the Sutro Baths Cave, San Francisco, Calif. Thursday, Oct 8. (James Chan / Xpress)

“It’s good to see all the homies of SF State in one video,” cinema major Nick Solomon said.

The video also combed over San Francisco skate spots ranging from The Embarcadero to The Bayview. No ledge, rail or staircase was safe, Gershwin said.

“I worked harder on this video than on anything I have ever worked on before,” Gershwin said. “I just hope people think it was well put together and fun and entertaining.”

Kelly Belko, Gershwin’s girlfriend and self-described biggest fan said his effort didn’t go unnoticed.

The film was awesome,” Belko said. “I saw the whole process and how hard he worked on it.”

The premiere brought together the skate community from as far away as Gershwin’s hometown, Thousand Oaks. Childhood friend Arthur Rainbolt made the trip to San Francisco for the occasion.

“It’s so cool to see him up here killing it,” Rainbolt said.

Gershwin, who is set to graduate in a year, said he knew the event might be the last time all his friends were in the same city.

“We did what we could with the resources we had and had a good time doing it,” Gershwin said.

Gershwin said he felt confident the video was well received.

“So many people came out,” Gershwin said. “It feels great to have finished this, it’s amazing.”

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