The Devil’s Toy Redux
Interview With Greg Hunt by Jaime Owens
In 1966, Canadian director Claude Jutra made a great mockumentary on the evils of the rising fame of skateboarding. The Devil’s Toy takes the angle of an alarming propaganda film that would have been made about nuclear war or communism and focuses it on the youth skateboard culture being hassled by the law enforcement. With the 50th anniversary of this cult film approaching, the National Board of Canadian Film worked with 10 filmmakers from around the world, including legendary skate video makers Greg Hunt and French Fred, to redux the original version and make it in their own visionary way. We talked to Greg about his involvement in the project and have his version along with French Fred’s for you to compare to the original. When you’re done with those, click here to the site that will allow users to navigate from one film to the next and witness the evolution of skate culture across the globe through a multiplicity of lenses, as skateboarders, filmmakers, web developers, and designers all share their unique points of view.
How did you get involved in this project?
I was invited to be a part of it by Corey Adams. He’s a good friend and I trust his judgement so I was into it. He made one of the Devil’s Toy films as well.
When did you see the original and what did you think of it?
I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. I think it might be one of the first skate films ever and it’s artistically so well done. There’s some incredible shots in there and lots of humor too. I really liked it.
How did you choose the angle of your version of the redux?
Well I changed my concept a few times. I think that kind of drove the people at the National Film Board of Canada a little crazy. I was struggling with committing to a project while making the Vans video at the same time. I eventually decided to make something that was both fun and that we could easily shoot in just a couple of days. I knew I wasn’t going to have time for lots of technical shots, equipment, permits, etc. I also brought on Benny Maglinao to help me. I really love Benny’s work so that would hopefully take a little off my plate and also make the project even better, which it did.
How long did it take you to make this and who did you work with in it?
We shot everything in two days. It’s almost entirely shot on a Hi-8 camera that Benny borrowed from someone, so we shot a lot of footage. It was mostly just Benny, myself, our producer Devin, the cast driving around shooting with just a loose script. Mike O’Meally’s wife Laura handled the props and wardrobe, Danny Garcia made the music, and Mat O’Brien created the opening titles.
We’re you nervous about it not having any skating in it?
No I wasn’t really nervous… maybe I should have been? I planned it that way because I’m focused on making the Vans video so I didn’t want to spend lots of time filming other skaters or asking Vans guys to film for another project.
I only recognized Mike Anderson’s little brother in it. Was it a conscience decision to not use any notable skaters to act in it?
Yeah, I wanted it to feel like a real film from 1990 so I didn’t want anyone recognizable. I actually hardly knew Jake Anderson, Benny brought him on board last minute.
Have you seen the other directors’ entries? If so, what did you think of theirs?
Yeah I’ve seen a few. Corey and Fred’s are really awesome. I love everything those guys do. I also saw one from Serbia that’s really good. The skating isn’t that advanced but it doesn’t matter, it’s such a cool piece. It feels so real and has some great moments.
You’ve been doing lots of projects outside of skating lately. Do you want to keep doing more outside skating video projects while keeping a foot in the skate industry after the Vans video?
Yeah I do. I never want to separate myself from skating but I always like to challenge myself creatively with new things.
Greg Hunt’s Redux:
French Fred’s Redux: