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SXSW 2012: Danny Way talks jumping the Great Wall of China in “Waiting For Lightning”


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The documentary “Waiting for Lightning” premiered at SXSW earlier this week and told the life story of skateboarding legend Danny Way. The pro skateboarder has had some pretty huge accomplishments in his 36-year-old career, including jumping the Great Wall of China in 2005, breaking the land speed record on a skateboard in 2009 and winning numerous Big Air Gold Medals at the X Games.

IFC had the chance to catch up with Way and the documentary’s director Jacob Rosenberg while we were at SXSW to talk about why they felt now was the time to tell Way’s story.

“We really aim to tell an autobiographical, really narrative-driving film about his life trajectory that has taken him through all these great moments in his life and ultimately to the Great Wall of China with a ramp that he’s created,” Rosenberg said.

In the documentary, the people who know Way like Rob Dyrdek, Tony Hawk and Travis Pastrana would often describe him as being “determined.” Way agreed that he often gets focused on things that he wants to accomplish, like creating a ramp that would jump over the Great Wall.

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“I think that that is a perfect reflection of the fire that people see in Danny’s eyes, where when he has a goal, he is a fast train going towards that goal and nothing distracts him,” Rosenberg said of his subject.

The film doesn’t only touch on Way’s professional achievements, though. It also shows much of Way’s personal life and the troubled youth he had to live with. In a clip from the documentary, Way’s brother talks about how the two of them turned to skateboarding to escape life at home.

“I have a lot of healing to do from a lot of the experiences that I’ve gone through, and I’ve definitely got some wounds still, it takes all those to start mending the past,” Way said. “Having that positive feedback really helps me to feel like I’ve moved past a certain point in my life.”

Rosenberg discussed why he thought “Waiting for Lightning” would be an important film for Way to make. He agreed that it was part of the pro skateboarder’s healing process.

“It was very clear to me that this was Danny’s gift to share to the world of being the type of skateboarder that he is, and that’s the type of skateboarder who really is willing to take a personal sacrifice to achieve a goal on a skateboard,” Rosenberg said. “And I think that the film really does a good job of explaining where that need comes from, and that’s the balance. That’s where some of the darkness comes in, and also where some of the brightest light shines.”

Are you looking forward to watching “Waiting for Lightning”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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