When Mikey Alfred announced his plans to make a feature film, people thought he was crazy. Their doubts stemmed from the notion that Illegal Civ was only capable of creating skate videos and short movies specifically for YouTube, and that a full-length film about becoming a pro skater wouldn’t appeal to a mainstream audience. But then Alfred and IC finished NORTH HOLLYWOOD and the project took off; it was fully backed by the community, championed by the likes of Pharrell and Tony Hawk and finally picked up for wide release.
“We wanted to get the film out traditionally and got turned down by everybody,” Alfred told HYPEBEAST Diaries. “They also told me ‘you’re psycho for trying to make the main character white and you’re black,’” he added, “and it’s like, what if we just want to make a movie?”
Determined, Alfred sought support from his community for funding and putting the project together, ultimately raising enough money and gaining ample traction to make the film a reality.
“The craziest part is just like, everybody has skate dreams, and then Mikey was the guy that came to North Hollywood skate park that was just putting stuff on YouTube,” said Aramis Hudson, a skateboarder and actor for Illegal Civ. “Seeing him go from the little short films … to like, having a full-fledged movie with directors, assistant directors, it’s like, ‘how you do that?’”
The feature film is Alfred’s collection of lessons learned from more than a decade of creating popular skate videos, and a testament to his abilities as a filmmaker.
“Now I’m in a position where I have to prove that my projects can make money,” Alfred said. “I’ve already proved that I can make the movie, but in this time we’re in right now before it releases on Amazon and all that stuff, you know, that’s what I’m thinking about.”
He added that worrying about the movie’s reception or future filmmaking projects is pointless. “There’s nothing really that I can do by tripping about it, you know? I just gotta see if people like the movie. Hopefully I get to make more,” Alfred said. “If not, that’s it. Back to the skate videos,” he added with a laugh.
Regardless of what the future holds, to Alfred and Illegal Civ, the core of NORTH HOLLYWOOD and all their future projects will always be about family and community.
“I think everyone is stoked,” Alfred said of the film’s upcoming release. “It’s kind of just homies making it happen.”
NORTH HOLLYWOOD is now available to stream on all major VOD platforms.
Earlier this month, NORTH HOLLYWOOD’s Ryder McLaughlin, Aramis Hudson and Nico Hiraga spoke to HYPEBEAST about film and the challenges of growing up while staying rooted.