THEOTIS IS LOS ANGELES
When most people think of Los Angeles, they think of the glitz, the glamour, the actors and the Ferraris. However, when filmmaker Joris Debeij thinks of the city of angels, he thinks of the empowering stories of the city’s inhabitants.
After moving to LA from Europe, Joris made it his goal to capture the lesser-known tales from all over Los Angeles. He set up his website, I Am Los Angeles, on January 1st this year, and has since been creating inspiring video portraits that capture the spirit of what it is to be a real Angelino.
The reason Joris is featured on The Berrics this week is because the subject for his latest video is none other than skateboarding’s own Theotis Beasley. “I picked Theotis because I think his story is interesting”, says Joris. “I like to tell the stories about people and places where the average person hasn't heard from yet, and I like to show a different side to LA. Sometimes I do this in combination with a popular subculture. Skating is huge in Los Angeles. After some research it was pretty obvious that Theotis would be a great subject.”
Hailing from Inglewood, California, Theotis had to dodge gang violence and crime on a daily basis when he was growing up. Now at the age of 20, Theo is the proud owner of one of the largest lists of sponsors in skateboarding. Joris recognised that Theotis’s story of triumph over adversity was worth committing to film and made it happen.
The filmmaker was obviously impressed with Theotis’s work ethic too. “Working with Theotis was great,” he says. “He’s a very easy going guy and is good in doing his thing in front of the camera.”
Joris is determined to capture the full spectrum of what it means to be a real Angelino, from all sides of the city. The videos on his website are broken up into five sections – The West Side, Central LA, South LA, The East Side, and The Valley.
The video portraits themselves are high quality, extremely well produced, and encapsulate the spirit of each individual subject. If you’re a fan of the Theotis portrait, then it’s well worth heading over to I Am Los Angeles and spending some time checking out the rest of Joris’s work.
In the 10 short months that I Am Los Angeles has been online, Joris has created over 14 videos, sharing the stories of LA locals from wildly different backgrounds. Among others, he’s profiled musicians, surfboard shapers, bodybuilders, cyclists, eco-warriors, artists and other filmmakers, and he hints that Theotis might not be the last skater he works with. “I am sure there are more skaters with interesting stories,” he says. “So who knows, I might create a portrait about another skater with an interesting story from LA.”
See more from Theotis on the Altamont site.
Joris Debeij is a freelance Dutch filmmaker living in Los Angeles. He's the founder of the I Am Los Angeles website. You can see all of his work on his personal website.
Oliver is a freelance journalist and writer from the UK who writes for skate mags and a few other non-skate publications and websites. Learn more about Oliver on his website and follow him on twitter.