Stakedance Films

History

I grew up in Southern California during the 80’s. The church I belong to (Mormon Church) would put on these amazing dances every other week. They were called Stake Dances. Much of our social lives were built around these dances. Cool music (sometimes DJ’d by guys from KROQ), cool girls, and then going to your local eating joint such as Bob’s Big Boy or for us a placed called Twohey’s after the dance. We did this week in and week out. It was innocent, it was youthful, but most of all, it was a blast. Stakedance’s are part of my cultural heritage and it’s in that spirit that I bring you Stakedance Films

I grew up in Pasadena, CA. I attended Brigham Young University where I graduated with a degree in Humanites and minored in Film. From there, I was accepted to the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena where I received my MFA in Film Directing. In my last year of grad school I met my beautiful wife. She was getting her PhD at UCLA. Instead of going to my graduation ceremony at ArtCenter I got married on that day. It’s been the best. My wife had secured a teaching position at Brigham Young University, so we moved up to Provo, UT right after our honeymoon and have been here since. After school, I started directing commercials. I was signed with a few production companies. I have always wanted to teach in conjunction with my filmmaking. After securing a body of work in commercials, I proposed a TV Commercial Production class to BYU (modeled after a class I took at ArtCenter). To make a long story short, I am now a full-time professor at BYU where I get to do “creative works” projects as part of my scholarship. It’s been an amazing experience. Since that time, my wife and I have been blessed with two beautiful children.

My work recently has consisted of documentaries-specifically surf documentaries. I grew up surfing and it occupied a substantial part of my life growing up. I’ve incorporated a more sociological perspective to the culture of surfing with my documentaries. There are a lot of fantastic surf films that show people riding amazing waves in amazing locations, but I found myself getting bored with these films after a while. I was much more interested in the unique issues or topics that surrounded the surf culture. The first issue that captivated me for a long time was the notion of the surf culture being co-opted by corporations. How had we gone from a culture with a counter-culture ethos to one that was being traded on the stock market? This thought was the impetus for me making my first surf documentary Riding The Wave. I had the privilege of filming Bob McKnight, the CEO of Quiksilver, Steve Pezman of the Surfer’s Journal, Paul Naude, CEO of Billabong, Bob Hurley, CEO of Hurley, Dave Parmenter, former pro and now prominent shaper and many others about these issues. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of doing this film and got to meet a lot great people along the way.

I remember saying to myself that if I never did another surf film I’d be totally happy because I did the exact type of surf film I wanted with Riding The Wave. After the success of the film and as time passed, I started becoming interested with how connected the surf culture was with the arts-painting, music, photography, etc. Did other sports participants create art and did the fans of these other sports actively attend art shows? These questions were the focus of my next film entitled Hanging Five. Here I had the privilege of following five amazing artists who surfed and had the chance to examine their work and try to find out why the culture of surfing is connected to the arts. The five people I followed were: Andy Davis, Julie Goldstein, Tyler Warren, Wolfgang Bloch, and Alex Knost.

Over my career, I have really enjoyed shooting commercials and more recently documentaries. But they have all seemed like stepping stones to one day possibly shoot a narrative feature film. I had the privilege of shooting my first feature film this past summer. It’s a film I wrote called Wes and Ella. The film has a very “carpe diem” sensibility to it. Do we live our life to the fullest, take risks, and try to be who we really want to be, or do we let fear rule us. These are some of the ideas explored in the film. I was very fortunate to work with two talented actors-Scoot Mcnairy and Jocelin Donahue. We have just completed the film and are starting to get the word out.

I hope you enjoy this site and find stimulating the things that are discussed here.

Christopher Cutri