Daewon Song is one of the most accomplished and admired professional skateboarders on the scene today. How he got there, and the influences that shaped him along the way, form the basis of the lively documentary Daewon.
Born in South Korea and moved to Gardena, California at a young age, Daewon was the product of a broken home. As he details in the film's centerpiece interview, he was raised by an overworked father he felt he barely knew, and an erratic and strict disciplinarian mother. Now in his forties, he looks back upon his upbringing as a blessing in disguise; what might have seemed intolerable at the time eventually infused him with the discipline and ambition to reach great heights in his chosen sporting career.
Starting at the age of 14, following the separation of his parents, he filled his time and placated his frustrations through skateboarding. He quickly gained a fan base among fellow amateurs. As his inherent talents began to develop, he invented and furthered a series of breathtaking tricks such as the hard-flip. "Daewon's skateboarding really affected you, because every time you saw him he would raise the bar," observes one admirer in the film. A speedy ascension through the ranks seemed inevitable.
Throughout the film, we hear from Daewon's friends, colleagues, fans and business associates. Their enthusiasm for the man and his skills is infectious. We learn how he revolutionized skateboarding, achieved monumental acclaim, overcame potentially debilitating injury, and built successful business empires revolving around his passion. We also witness how he committed himself to exploring new ideas and reinventing the possibilities of skateboarding, a gift that eventually earned him a place in the Skateboarding Hall of Fame alongside other influential legends of the board.
Collectively, Daewon plays like the portrait of an artist inside a sportsman. Aside from his great displays of skill, viewers will likely find themselves most impressed by his approachable demeanor and authentic humility. The film unfurls in a cozy, colorful and good-natured manner. Even if you aren't a skateboarding enthusiast, the film offers much to admire and enjoy in its portrayal.