Photo via Active Ride Shop
Cha Cha is a bar in Los Angeles that skateboarders flock to like degenerate humming birds to a humming bird feeder filled with rotgut whiskey. It's been called the Max Fish of LA, and, like The Fish, has cultivated such a reputation that it has become something of a tourist attraction for visiting skaters. Every Thursday Atiba and Ako Jefferson, co-founders of the Skateboard Mag, DJ at Cha Cha as "The Blackouts." Back in February the Skateboard Mag, along with a few other sponsors, helped cement Cha Cha's status as one of the best places to get drunk for people who ride skateboards by supporting the first Cha Cha Lounge Independent Skateboard Film Festival.
The call for submissions was announced on February 4, and the awards and finalist screenings took place from May 28 through May 30. The contest was judged by Jerry Hsu, Keven Long, and Atiba, as well as a few others. Competition was fierce, but in the end there can be only one, and Marque Cox took home the gold for his video, Roach Clips.
This footage of Marque was taken shortly after the announcement was made. After he collected himself I gave him a call to chat about the film.
VICE: Hello, Marque. What can you tell me about the Cha Cha Independent Skateboard Film Festival?
Marque: Basically people just sent their videos in to Cha Cha Lounge, and they had different categories. Someone won first place for each category, and when you won you were awarded points. Then, whoever got the most overall points—for video quality, sound, skateboarding, all that stuff—got first place in like, the big package I guess.
Did you have some stiff competition?
When I sent it in I didn’t know what to expect. Then, while I was watching the other videos I was thinking, oh my god, these guys are really good. And then I was thinking, my video is going to play any second now, and all of a sudden it said on the screen, “Grand Prize Winner: Marque Cox.” I was just like, what the fuck?!
Did you have a favorite out of the other videos?
Yeah, there was one where the dude was skating naked the whole time, that was pretty funny. Then there was another where they rented out, like, a little amusement park and they skated all the shit in there. They also went on the rides and stuff. It was awesome.
"Amusement (Sk8)Park" by Alex Hodges and Brandon Gable.
Did you make Roach Clips with the Cha Cha contest in mind, or was it something you were already working on?
Actually, I heard about the contest two weeks before the deadline. I was like, oh shit, I wanna make something sick for this, so I just started making a video for the contest. Some of the footage that ended up in the video is older and some is really new.
What's the biggest pain in the ass about making a video with your pals? Like did you ever have deadlines that you needed to meet and they were all too hungover to skate or anything?
Probably just getting people motivated to skate—getting pumped up to skate something big. Because a lot of times no one really wants to jump down something huge, so you kinda have to be like, “Dude you got it, man! First try, you got this!” Usually, though, my friends skate pretty well when they’re hungover.
I saw your part in "Hail Skatan" and you've got some pretty fancy moves yourself. What made you want to start filming other people's skating?
I’ve been super hyped on skating my whole life and I wanted to turn pro like everybody else—I wanted to get hooked up. And then I broke my ankle once and was out for a year. And then the second day after that healed I was out filming for another video part I was trying to work on and I broke my other ankle and was out for another year. Then I did the same thing again—I broke the other ankle—and so it was super stressful. I was all depressed. I just thought, shit, I think I’m not supposed to skate—something’s telling me not to skate. I was going on three years off my board when I got a camera from a friend, like a VX, and just started filming. Then I met this guy Eric Bragg, who used to film for Active and now he films for Plan B and Redbull, and he showed me the ropes. I learned how to edit from working with him on the Krooked 3D video.
So you got into filming by working on a 3D video?
That’s jumping into the deep end there, isn’t it?
It’s definitely tricky stuff. Eric pretty much just told me what to do, over and over, and how to make every clip 3D. That was the first 3D video that he had made, too, and he put my name in the credits. I was all hyped.
Yeah, that’s a pretty great introduction to the world of skate videos. Switching gears for a minute, I snooped your vine account earlier. How long have you been into throwing ninja stars?
Ninja stars! [laughs] Hilarious.
Is that something you guys do a lot over there?
No, not really. That was actually just a little game. We were skating with some Toy Machine dudes and the photographer for Active had some ninja stars and a dartboard. So after we got done skating that day we just started throwing ninja stars everywhere.
"Suck it Sundays"
I also snooped around your Vimeo account. Why didn’t you submit “Suck it Sundays” to the Cha Cha contest?
Oh, “Suck it Sundays”! [laughs] I don’t know, me and my friends were all hungover one day and just hit the skate park for no reason. My friend did a trick and he was like “suck it!” Then I had the idea to get everybody doing tricks and saying “suck it.” It came out pretty fucking funny.
What else do you have in the cooker?
There’s this company called Quiet Life, it’s like a clothing company. I’ve been filming with those dudes and all the team riders are guys I grew up with, so I’ve been doing little videos with them. Right now I’m working on my first full-length video for Active Ride Shop, which will come out sometime around November.