Director Danny Hidalgo showcases the power of two Friars who skateboard with the local community in his documentary, “Limit Break: Skateboarding”. His short film is one of the 2014 John Paul II International Film Festival Official Selections and will screen on April 5th, 2014 at 4:15PM at the Paragon Grove 13 theater in Coconut Grove, FL with ten other short films.
Frank (JP2IFF Co-Director): How would you pitch your movie to an audience?
Danny Hidalgo (Director, Limit Break): Limit Break is about two brothers that skateboarded for 7 years as teenagers, but felt their vocation was religious life. They were prepared to abandon their passion for skateboarding to live a life of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience as Friars of the Immaculate. Six years after becoming Friars and having not skated, they were given obedience to obtain a skateboard and go to the skate park once a week – to “preach the gospel at all times, when necessary, use words” as Saint Francis stated.
Frank: In your opinion, how does your film fit into the 2014 theme, INSPIRATION? This question applies to the film itself as well as its production process.
Danny: This short film fits into the 2014 theme, INSPIRATION, because it involves physical and spiritual sacrifice by both the subjects being filmed and the filmmakers themselves – in order to capture and reveal beauty to the world as never seen before. Two brothers who struggled with darkness as teenagers, abandoned themselves to live for a higher calling as Friars through Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. Their beautiful sacrifice is manifest in their lifestyle of penance, and portrayed through their actions as well as how they dress in habits. Friar Gabriel explains that God has so many ways of using people’s talents to give Him glory. Skateboarding allows the Friars to help others see the compatibility of exercising the body as well as the soul. Sacrifice on the filmmaker’s part was due to time restrictions and financial restraints of self-funding. We were obedient to the Friars’ Superiors to film the Friars over a 5 day span, capturing as much content around the clock as we could. Friar Didacus reminded us to live in a state of grace, because the mind and soul are then clear and at peace. It was inspiring to see how kids at skate parks reacted to both Friars, with the question, “What are you?” After a brief explanation, fellow skateboarders welcomed the Friars based on understanding, no matter how torn their habits or foreign their ways, God used their talents of skateboarding to evangelize His Word and give Him glory.
Frank: How did you hear about the festival?
Danny: I heard about the festival in July of 2009, when Rob Kaczmark and I sought to enter our first short Reverse Momentum – Eucharistic Adoration, and narrowly missed the entry window by two days! However, I was ecstatic that a Film Festival now existed, named after the great soon to be Saint John Paul II, to honor the call of the new evangelization – which is the foundation of Spirit Juice Studios.
Frank: When did you first meet the Friars in the film and what inspired you to turn their story into a documentary?
Danny: The making of the film was a result of God’s Providence. I saw a small clip of Friar Gabriel from Australia in the early 2000’s skateboarding, doing skate tricks in a habit that most people could not do being able to see their feet. I presented the idea to Rob Kaczmark of finding this Friar and filming a short showing how God can be present anywhere, especially in skateboarding. Rob then came up with the idea of doing a LIMIT BREAK series of faith in sport. After my many failed attempts to get in contact with Friar Gabriel, Rob unexpectedly ran into a Friar at a conference who said he skated as well, that turned out to be Friar Didacus, the blood brother of the Australian skateboarding Friar. With their superior’s permission, they flew out in October of 2010 to film for 5 days straight, and in that time we uncovered that there was much more to their story.
Frank: What is the meaning behind the film’s title, Limit Break?
Danny: Limit Break is certainly open to interpretation, but to me Limit Break embodies how there are no boundaries as to where and how the Holy Spirit can operate, and how God can use a person’s talents and skills to give Him glory at all times and in all situations. For the Friars, skateboarding allows them to express their talents and evangelize through both action and word. Breaking through the secular realm of many within the sport of skateboarding is an incredible feat, one that comes with much ridicule and confusion from secular skaters that is cast upon the Friars. But they live in joy and represent Jesus every time they walk through the gates of a skate park. Not matter how many stares and whispers that surround them, they have broken through the Limits of where many thought the new evangelization would not be present. But indeed it is, in the form of Friars with skateboards.
Check out the Limit Break web series!