Kiddo & Talking Duluth With Stephen Pestalozzi
We’re always glad to feature video projects from our home state of Minnesota, but the subject of today’s post, Kiddo, is special in a few ways. One, the video comes not from the Twin Cities area (where virtually all MN skate videos are produced), but from the more northern city of Duluth. Second, there’s something unique about this video’s look and feel, almost like the entire project was a little more ‘designed’, for lack of a better term, than most skate videos we watch.
Above, you’ll see our favorite part from the video, featuring Duluth mainstay Nate Hynum. Below, an interview with the video’s ‘creative director‘ (again, for lack of a better term), Stephen Pestalozzi.
Let’s start off with you - we know you as a graphic designer and not so much a filmer - is Kiddo your first video?
Yeah, pretty much. I’ve done little videos in the past, but I always thought filming and editing were really cool. It was always a part of skating I loved. But I just skated with my buddy Mike Rapaich, had a good time - he made the videos. I had a couple ankle injuries back-to-back, and Mike was just like ‘You should get a camera.’ So I did, and I messed around with little web edits, made some snowboard edits, and decided we should film a whole video together. Me, Mike and Steve Seitz decided to do a one-year project, and as it went on decided to make it two years. And now, here it is.
How did your background as a designer influence how you approached making Kiddo?
I’ve always been interested in graphic design, and the cohesive package that you can get from a branding project or something like that, so I knew right away that this whole thing needed to have its own look and feel. Especially if you were around here (Duluth), you saw it coming. We had stickers and t-shirts rolling around from the beginning. I looked at it as filming project, but I also took it as an opportunity to make a brand out of. Not a ‘brand’ but...you know what I mean? I tried to give it an overarching, cohesive feel. I wanted it to be one whole package.
Were you guys mainly filming around Duluth?
We’re in such a small city, it’s tiny. We have super harsh winters, last winter it cracked down to -30°F, -40°F...it’s just crazy to me that in the summer we can still film whole skateboarding videos and find spots. I knew we’d be traveling a little, but I wanted it to be all Duluth footage. The brick streets, the fucked up sidewalks with all the cracks in them. That’s Duluth.
When I went to New York I got it, shit is gritty in its own way there. But when I came back here, I was just like ‘…yeah, our shit is pretty jacked.’ Getting a trick at any spot here, you’re just proud of whoever got the trick. They’re just weird spots. Our city is so small that we’re just working with what we’ve got and skating everything that could possibly be skated. In bigger cities, you pass by spots that could maybe be skated and you’re like ‘Nah, we’ll go somewhere better.’ But here there just aren’t that many spots for us to do that.
We took a couple trips to the cities (Minneapolis / St. Paul). Steve Seitz, who’s kind of a Duluth legend...I think he’s even in the first skate video that was ever made in Duluth. He drives out to Los Angeles every winter, so there’s footage from there.
So what’s the scene like up there?
Damage supported the project, they’re a big part of everything up here. They’re just the glue holding it all together. It’s the shop everybody can go to and get stuff. For how small of a city we are, we’re really lucky to have a shop like that. Duluth has this thing going on, you’ve got your core people who grew up here, then there’s this wave of college students who come through because of the University (of Minnesota - Duluth). They’re in town for 4-5 years, and they become part of the scene.
Andy P and Justice, who share the first part in the video, they’re from The Cities, but came to Duluth to go to school.
So the stand-out part to us was Nate Hynum.
Yeah, Nate is ripping. He’s just a pure skate rat. He’s the dude that’s calling you with half an hour of sunlight left being like ‘I have an idea, let’s get it!’. Some of the other guys in the video, Carter Ngyuen and Caleb Gibson, they’re younger, they have all day to fuck off. But when you’re nearing 30 like Nate, you have more responsibilities...but Nate’s all in. I think he worked the hardest for his part. There were a few tricks we went back for many times, and there were so many ‘last tricks’ he never got. There’s one where I think he’d been there eight times and gone through four boards – he’s just super dedicated.
He’s also in a big...well, big for the area bluegrass band. He’s just a ripping mandolin player. I kept trying to be like ‘We should record some mandolin music for the video!’, but it never ended up happening.
Being that it gets so cold in the winter there, do you guys have an indoor park?
We’ve had a few in the past, but not currently. The last one we had flooded out two or three years ago. Their pipes burst when it got super cold and the ramps got soaked. Winter comes and nobody can go skating, they drive 2 hours to The Cities just to go to Familia HQ or 3rd Lair. The hype dies down a bit, and the scene gets disconnected for those months, there’s so many people you don’t see.
I mean, winter is long here. A lot of people go snowboarding, there’s some crazy snowboarders here. If you don’t live somewhere where it snows, skateboarders can be like “Snowboarding...that’s kinda weird.’ But if you live here, you have to do something, some way to entertain yourself. But as soon as it hist 30 degrees and there’s a dry patch somewhere, my phone just starts blowing up. I get all these ‘Wanna film?’ texts (laughs). ☉