"The Birth of Big Air" screening in Portland

A preview of The Birth of Big Air with Johnny Knoxville hanging out with Mat Hoffman

Earlier this year, ESPN unveiled the 30-For-30 documentary "The Birth of Big Air." Directed by Jeff Tremaine (of Jackass fame, but also former Art Director of the BMX Magazine Go) and produced by Freestylin' magazine alumni Spike Jonze and Mark Lewman, the film tells the story of how Mat Hoffman took BMX freestyle to a whole new level. Mat has inspired many over the years, but when his own idol, the legendary Evel Knievel, comes on screen to talk about Mat's accomplishments, you really feel the impact of what Mat's done.

Mark Lewman, one of the film's producers (who also provides some historical commentary in the film) lives and works out of the Portland, Ore. area. Since his days as the Editor of Freestylin' and Homeboy Magazines, "Lew" has made strides in the advertising/creative fields, and today is a partner in Portland's Nemo Design. Fortunately for Portlanders, Nemo was nice enough to host 200 BMX riders and Mat Hoffman fans for a screening of the film. It was standing room only in Nemo's photo studio, and the crowd extended into the hallway, which was lined with old school BMX bikes, courtesy of BMXMuseum.com. The entire evening, which included a special guest -- Mat Hoffman of course -- was dedicated to raise money for Mike Vincent, a friend of many in the BMX freestyle world, and a good friend of Mat's, who was hit by a car riding his bike in Los Angeles in early 2008. Mike was left with extensive medical bills, and lost his eyesight as a result of the accident. Everyone who came out donated to Mike's cause, and was entered into a raffle for prizes from Hoffman Bikes, and helmets from Bell.

Portland has been clamoring for a screening of this film since its release. The BMX scene here is huge, and many still hadn't seen the film. I've been to a lot of screenings in Portland, but everyone came out for this one. There was a who's who of legendary shredders and modern day rippers in attendance: Shawn McIntosh, Snotty, Ben Hucke, Andy Merrell, Shad Johnson, John Bristol, Marty McFarland, Mike Daily, Dean Dickinson, Spencer McCabe, Austin McCabe, Jimmy LeVan, Cody Larsen, and of course, Mat himself. Jackass regular Danger Ehren and filmmaker Lance Bangs were also seen taking in the show.


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