Words: Stan Leveille
Photos: Jill Schweber

Since it's later-than-usual release of LANDLINE. last January, Vans has been no stranger to breaking the mold when it comes to releasing movies on their own terms. This past weekend, Montreal played host to a premiere of Van's latest projects, Together Forever a snowboard film by Tanner Pendleton, and Courtesy a skate project directed by Jake Kuzyk.

The event took place at Cinema L'amour. A name I carelessly mentioned to the border agents when entering Canada. This very memory triggered a maniacal grin when I walked up to the marquee for the first time to discover it was, in fact, a historic adult-film theater. Above the large poster advertising the Vans, films hung a neon "Adultes XXX" sign. The other films recently played were Raw 29 and Don't tell my boyfriend I'm cheating 2.

Promptly at 9:25, a white stretch limousine pulled up with the Vans pros boisterously popping out. Slowly, the crowd worked their way into the deceivingly large theater. A not-so-clandestine looking historic performance stage complete with an ornate balcony and second story box seats held the Montreal crowd as a DJ played beneath the screen-sprinkling in the SoundCloud raps of some of the Canadian skaters. Slowly people took their seats, and the first movie, Together Forever, began rolling to a hushed and attentive crowd.

According to Vans, the film will be released in mid-January, so I won't give too much away, but Together Forever was very emotional and features largely Dillon Ojo footage. Throughout the premiere, mixed between loud cheering, one could hear the continuous audio of clinking Corona bottles resonating throughout the theater. A solute. A nod to the heavens above.

After the movie, emotions were visible within the crowd and many people were hugging with real looks of appreciation for each other. I was right there in the hometown of a passing legend, watching a project in his memory with his closest friends and family. To be honest, a part of me felt like I didn't belong there–like I couldn’t possibly understand the true pain that so many people in that room were feeling. And the truth is… I couldn't ever. But even a brief understanding of the deeper implications of Dillon's passing is another reminder of the amazing effect he had on so many people. Thank you Vans crew, and thank you Montreal for welcoming me into your home for the weekend. Make sure to check out both of these movies when they drop online.

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