Anthill Films pay tribute to the Canadian Chainsaw Massacre himself, Stevie Smith, with their 92-minute feature film, ‘Long Live Chainsaw’.
Available to download Worldwide now, ‘Long Live Chainsaw’ is Anthill Film’s masterpiece tribute to the man, the myth, the legend that is Stevie Smith.
Our man Pete has dried his eyes after watching this masterpiece, and gives his thoughts on Anthill Films’ latest creation.
Photos by Sven Martin.
It was never going to be easy to try and tell the Stevie Smith story. He’s a rider that is still a fan favourite years after his passing and doing justice to his legacy was always going to be a balancing act. Ninety-two minutes goes by in a flash, you’ll get the World Cup downhill fizz, you will cry, and you will laugh.
“Getting old and having nothing to show for what I’ve done…” That opening quote will send a chill down your spine.
Long Live Chainsaw kicks off where Stevie enters the World. In a delivery room with his uncle holding his mother down as the nurses aren’t interesting. Humble beginnings is an understatement but it became obvious that Stevie’s mum Tianna was going to back her kids. That forms the basis of the Stevie Smith story.
A surrogate father introduces Stevie to BMX, selling him his first bike in exchange for pies. The rest, as they say, is history. Whoever researched this film has done their homework, and is testament to the Nanaimo community as there is some amount of footage from this time, despite the technology being ropey at best.
Soon, the seasonality of BMX pushed Stevie towards downhill, and it wasn’t long before he caught the attention on one Gabe Fox at Crankworx. Back then the team was a mere marketing exercise, but the Smith/Fox marriage started there. Gabe saw the raw talent and speed that needed honed, and soon the dream became real.
Despite living the dream, what always shone through was how appreciative Stevie was of the chances he got. His mum tells the story of the other option beyond bikes was a life of drugs and bad choices, and Stevie wanted to make the most of what his mum had given him.
Beating Sam Hill at the US Open proved to everyone, including Stevie that he could mix it with the best of them, and that flat out style was starting to turn itself into race-winning speed. Sam Hill was the king. Stevie would also put an end to Aaron Gwin’s domination by taking his first World Cup win in Norway, even the stoney-faced Gwin couldn’t help but be stoked for the young Canadian.
That all lead neatly into a battle with Gee Atherton, a true battle royale… While Gee would falter both in Canada and Norway, Stevie would finally get out of the hedge on a good run and put down the wicked runs that we knew him for. That run in Mont Saint Anne being chief amongst them.
This is where Stevie Smith shone the brightest. He really was just out for riding bikes as fast as he could. He really was living the dream, and it showed. Everyone liked Stevie Smith, he was that inimitable whirlwind of positivity that everyone hoped to match but few could even get close. It wasn’t an act.
Ankle injuries then reared their ugly heads and it would take some triumph of will to keep the man down, and that, as Josh Bryceland notes, may have been his downfall. He simply couldn’t rest up and heal. He was relentless in his drive to get back to full speed. He’d injure himself again while not being back at 100% in 2015.
2016 would see the return of the legend. Three years after taking the overall title, he’d get second place at Lourdes despite cracking his frame. Despite a front flat in Cairns, he’d prove why he was meant to be in World Cup downhill by wheelieing over the finish line. The crowd went wild.
Sadly, we know this story doesn’t have a happy ending, and despite the success story that is the first seventy-five minutes of Long Live Chainsaw, the ten that follow hit hard. You may as well let it all out, you know it’s coming.
The silver lining to the sadness that comes as an integral part of this story is the outro. You see the countless young Canadian pinners inspired by Stevie’s rise to stardom, the riders that are now household names to anyone who even has a passing interest in mountain biking.
The bike park, the legacy foundation, despite the inevitable waterworks that come with telling this tale, that energy, the whirlwind of positivity continues in Stevie Smith’s legacy. The final few minutes give you enough time to smile, wipe your eyes and pretend that you’ve held it together throughout.
Bravo Anthill Films. That was a masterpiece.
Long Live Chainsaw is available to download and stream worldwide now. Just head here.