A selection of cool films, books, events and skate-related stuff from Berlin's Bright XVII trade show.

A selection of cool films, books, events and skate-related stuff from Berlin's Bright XVII trade show.

Trade shows are a weird microcosm of whatever industry they represent. Because aside from all the new collections and new business going down on the stands of a trade show like Bright, Europe’s top skateboarding get-together, a real celebration of the culture occurs out in the streets.

Brands rally round – through events, exhibitions, parties and demos – to applause the talented skaters, photographers, artists, filmmakers, designers and editors that drive the whole game to the next level. Some deals are made and some deals are dropped but when the sun goes down and the beers come out the real fun begins. So here’s a totally subjective list of some things that were great at Bright XVII this year.

Phil Zwijsen x Carhartt ‘Time Chase’
Belgian skater Phil Zwijsen dropped his much-awaited Carhartt part ‘Time Chase’ before the Perus ‘Get The Beers In Dickhead’ premiere in the basement of the Freudenreich bar, a depraved little maze of caves in Berlin’s hip and wacked-out district Neukolln. This seven-minute black-and-white edit by French Antiz and Soma magazine filmer and editor Paul Labadie shows Zwijsen’s fast and creative style set against a bunch of classic and new backdrops in his home country and beyond. With key guest spots from friends Rob Smith, Bram De Cleen and Ross McGouran and illustrated breaks by French artist Vincent Guillermin, the video puts Zwijsen in the context of the people who push him to new heights and showcases his unique repertoire of hammers. The full thing can be viewed on the Kingpin website from Monday January 27.

Coping Mechanism
Carhartt also screened some films at Kino Central in Mitte by their friends including Magenta’s iconic Soleil Levant and new film Coping Mechanism by Phil Evans – who made landmark doc Format Perspective in 2011 featuring Euro skate shooters like Alex Irvine, Bertrand Trichet, Nils Svensson and Sergej Vutuc. Coping Mechanism is a portrait of the vibrant DIY skate scene in Malmö, Sweden. From hardcore old guys like the Steppen crew and park builders like Concreatures to the progressive Bryggeriet skate club/school and the steezy Polar Skate Co. headed up by local legend Pontus Alv. “I believe other skate scenes around the world could learn a lot from the scene here,” Phil Evans has said. “They have managed to create a skate scene here that punches way above its weight and is producing a growing list of skater-designed parks and DIY spots and a range of very talented skateboarders that span a large social and age spread… However, despite the scene growing in its accessibility it has managed to retain its integrity without becoming diluted or lame – old bastards, girls, DIY heads, park builders and street skaters all push their groups and agendas here in growing numbers, all to the benefit of the scene as a whole.”

House of Vans
Most Bright XVII nights were ended in Vans’ epic Alexanderplatz occupation, House of Vans Berlin 2013. A first-floor takeover in Berlin’s most famous central square comprising a music venue, gallery space and chill spot, the House of Vans provided an impressive list of events – from Angel Haze and Boiler Room on one night to the Bright European Skate Awards on another (where notable wins included Photographer of the Year Sam Ashley, Rookie of the Year Karsten Kleppan and Brand of the Year Polar). The gallery space exhibited 100 of the best covers of each of Europe’s premiere skate magazines – Kingpin, Sidewalk and Skateboard Magazine – and a trippy selection of shoes from Vans’ prolific output. Trailers for Vans’ first-ever documentary series #LivingOffTheWall, due for release in 2014, were broadcast throughout the venue and it looks pretty fucking great.

Brian Gaberman x Element A Life In Transition
OG skate and fine art photographer Brian Gaberman – who spends his down time tending to the farm he lives at with his family in North California – filtered through the last seven years of his work as brand photographer at Element to produce a book Life In Transition that was launched with an exhibition at MadeMyDay Gallery on the trendy, upmarket side of Mitte in East Berlin. The talented shooter, who became Slap staff photographer in San Francisco in the late 1990s, has nurtured a high-end, documentary style of skate photography that references the work of pioneers like J. Grant Brittain and Bryce Kanights as well as experimental cats like Thomas Campbell. The resulting images are almost like paintings in their meticulous composition and expertly skilled execution and viewing them was enhanced by the folky acoustic tunes of French Vans skater Bastien Duverdier.


The Nike SB ‘Shelter’
Last summer, at the end of Bright XVI, we took a day out to explore Berlin and stopped for a quick roll in the Skatehalle Berlin skatepark nestled in the club/cafe/climbing centre/gallery/garden complex that is Cassiopeia. The sprawling skatepark in this former factory-turned-playground – which could only exist in Berlin (or equally Copenhagen) – was a pretty rad, sometimes sketchy, street course (with a vert ramp in the back) that had been slightly cobbled together by individually sponsored ramps, rails and blocks. But for Bright XVII Nike SB decided to overhaul the whole thing in concrete and the new Skatehalle is a Valhalla of smoothness, christened by Nike SB pros like Shane O’Neill and Luan Oliveira on opening night, and now lovingly left to the hundreds of German kids who will get very bruised on its shiny new berms.

Bright XVIII, the summer trade show, will take place in July. Visit the Bright website for more info.