Blading wouldn’t be anywhere without people like Kaspars Alksnis. While most people solely enjoy the act of rolling, there are people like him dedicating all their time and energy towards the bigger picture. Creating events, producing media and big projects to push our sport and keep it alive: the Latvian scene is small yet strong and healthy, all due to the work of Kaspars and the whole TheRolling crew. Real street events with unique spots being built to make a difference, blading as a part of a huge extreme sports festival, tours, edits and full-length videos, TV and radio appearances, that and much much more is part of what they do to promote blading.
Their latest project is just another example of what is possible if you take a handful of friends and decide to fully commit to a project. What started as a fun tour with riders of different sports, ended up becoming a 53 minutes long documentary being premiered in sold out theaters and promoted on national TV and radio stations. We talked to Kaspars about how it all started, what it takes to make such a thing happen and what went down on the actual tour. Take a look yourself and get the full documentary on Sellfy today!
Interview: Johannes Jacobi
Photos: Kaspars Alksnis
Download the movie here: sellfy.com/PazustLatgale
Hey Kaspars, thanks for doing this with us. Where are you right now and what did you do before you started answering my questions?
Right now I’m at home lying on my sofa and listening to hiphop. Before that I was at my parents house, chilling with my four brothers and making super delicious lasagna.
For those who don’t know you, can you maybe give us a short introduction about yourself, who you are and what’s your involvement with blading?
My name is Kaspars Alksnis. I’m 23, and live in Riga, Latvia. Fell in love with blading almost 15 years ago. Last 10 years I have been a member of Therolling family who inspired me to do more things for the Latvian blading scene, like organising events/competitions, working on our social media, doing all kind of projects, photography and filming. Living a busy, but good life!
You have been involved in a project called “Pazust Latgalē“. Please explain what it is about.
“Pazust Latgalē” (Lost in Latgale) is a unique project which brought together some of the best Latvian extreme sports athletes from rollerblading, skateboarding, BMX and MTB, to have trip of a lifetime in unexplored territory of our own small country. In the end it all resulted into a 12 days adventure which we transformed into a 53 minutes long documentary film, which has now been seen by around 2000 people during 5 different cinema sessions.
From a rider’s point of view, the idea was to show that it is possible to put these four sports together and make something impressive, as an example that there shouldn’t be any hating on each other, because we are so similar, only with different type of objects under our feet.
If we look from the every day normal people’s view, then basically the idea was to make them understand that you don’t need to always travel far away abroad to have one of the most amazing adventures of your life. All you need is already here and it’s very important to appreciate it. Beside that, we just wanted to inspire people to get out of the comfort zone and make their dreams come true, together with their friends. Our story is proof that it is easy, so just do it!
Who did come up with the idea and what’s your part in it?
The idea came from my friend Gusts who rides MTB. Once in a bar, while we had some drinks he just came up to me with this idea. In the beginning I was not sure about it at all, but then we changed some things and the project was written. So basically, at first I was doing all the planning stuff: dates, routes, riders, filmers, equipment, posters and so on. During the trip, I was one of the riders and organizers, plus I did some photographing and extra filming. And in the end, I took over the production of the film, helped with premieres and did all kinds of work on social media. Now I’m still working on the social media aspect, making sure that our film is available through VOD, and visiting youth centers/schools where we show film and tell inspiring words about life.
How did you get it financed?
All the riders in the project put their own money in, some of our supporters did the same and the biggest help came from Monster Energy who supported us big time. Overall it wasn’t too expensive to make this project real.
Was there any worries beforehand, about having problems between the different sports, or was everyone confident that it was going to work out great?
Everyone was super hyped about this, and it becomes a perfect situation when riders and supporters from different sports can come together and make it all happen. It probably wouldn’t work in every country, but in a place like Latvia where the market is small and you can experiment with innovation and ideas, it worked out great.
How was it being on the road with the guys? Different sports, different spots… How did it work out in the end?
It worked out really easy. In the bus we got used to the situation really fast and everybody started to live like a family from day one. When you did your trick or “jackass” style stuff, the others were there behind you to support or have a laugh, but when you were not riding then you just chilled or helped a brother out with some ideas.
The movie premiered already and the theaters seemed absolutely packed. How did you get the word out and why do you think it is that so many people came to watch it? In most other countries I don’t see such project attracting that many people.
We created a Facebook page were we put all the info about our project, and kept it updated with fresh news, photos from the trip, and some interesting stories. This page gained a lot of followers from different sides and interests. Plus we did more promotion on other social networks by sharing posters, trailer and info. In the end it turned out amazing and some of the biggest Latvian magazines, radio stations, TV programs and social networks chose to promote our project without even asking, which was a big surprise for us. We think it happened because we kept it true, patriotic and people loved it. People started to spread the word and somehow it reached the right people at the right time.
Why do you think there aren’t there more projects like this one? Why don’t different extreme sports team up more often to make big things happen?
Maybe it is because there isn’t too many people who would go all in and sacrifice themselves in the name of non-standard ideas, which will take a lot from them and in the end, give back more spiritual values or help the growth of a scene rather than just money in their pockets. It’s the same old story of thinking and doing things outside the box, which is often based on uncertainty. It’s not for everyone.
What would you say was the biggest difference between the riders? Different work ethic, different attitude, something you could name?
Hard to tell, but I would say their attitude in non-typical situations, or how much one is ready to push to make big things happen. Each rider was on their own level, so at some point it made everything easy.
To bring this to an end, can you tell us a funny, weird or crazy story that happened on tour?
One of the best places we stayed for the night was next to Razna’s lake, halfway through the trip. We were riding on the roof of our bus almost all day long, and then we found this perfect place to stay. It was blocked with a special entrance, and horizontal trees over the road. We just took it off and drove inside. Built all the tents, started to prepare food and made some drinks to celebrate the evening. Then out of nowhere some guy showed up and as we found out he was owner of that place. He was shocked about our unexpected visit, because that place was right in the middle of a natural park and nobody has ever stayed there, never ever, not even this guy who had been taking care of that place for many years. So basically we invaded his holy temple, but in the end, after half an hour of talking he allowed us to stay there and I don’t know how, but he even came to watch our film in one of the extra premieres. Latvia is a small place, so everything is possible!
All right, thanks a lot for doing this. Any shout outs?
Massive THANKS goes to all “Lost in Latgale” crew who made it all real. Shout out to TheRolling family and thanks to you guys for letting others know whats up. Keep it going. Dream big!
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