I think at one point in our lives we’ve all dreamt of working collaboratively with our closest friends. The idea of bringing a successful business to life, with those you love and trust sounds fantastic. Many would say this path is fraught with danger, but it can be done.
Mikey Alfred is the Founder and Director of Illegal Civilisation (Illegal Civ). A tight-knit crew of talented skateboarders and creatives who are on the precipice of releasing their very first feature film, ‘North Hollywood’. A film they say is “the first movie about becoming a pro skater”.
Illegal Civ was born when Mikey was just 12 years old. A group of kids rolling around the LA neighbourhoods of North Hollywood and Burbank, shooting skate videos and making vibrantly coloured clothes. Grittily determined to put I.C on the map, Mikey and his pals spread word of their brand the only way they knew how. “We’d pull up at skateparks and hand out our merch for free”.
Before long, people all over the neighbourhood were repping the material and chit-chatting about his productions. Word of mouth working to perfection. As time went by, Mikey noticed he was spending more and more time behind the lens, rather than on the board and thus put his heart and soul into the visual medium. Be sure to check out his previous work on Summer of 17’, IC3 and GODSPEED.
Soon enough, a fellow Los Angelean by the name of Tyler The Creator got in touch, inviting Alfred on tour as his personal videographer. This led to subsequent trips with none other than Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean and the late Mac Miller. As Mikey travelled alongside these famed artists, documenting their lives on the road, he continued plugging Illegal Civ all across America. From one unreal opportunity to the other, Mikey then landed himself a production role on Jonah Hill’s coming-of-age skate flick ‘Mid 90’s’. Here, he got his first taste of feature film experience and recognised it was something he and his crew could put together all on their own.
‘North Hollywood’ is based on Mikey’s life growing up. It focuses on the relatable struggle of pursuing your own dreams versus those your parents have for you. “I was in that position as a kid. I was filming skating and going on tour with musicians. I was not even considering college. This film is a culmination of lessons learned throughout high school, into the summer after”.
Sticking to his roots, the film is made up almost entirely of his I.C homies. From the lead Ryder McLaughlin to Nico Hiraga or Aramis Hudson, the movie features those who’ve been alongside him since day dot. Even those who cameo, are skilled boardriders who Alfred calls family. There’s something beautifully authentic in the way he’s backed his crew to perform on the biggest of stages. There are some exceptions to that rule, with Mikey’s dad played by the almighty Vince Vaughan plus Angus Cloud (Euphoria), Blake Anderson (Workaholics) and Miranda Cosgrove (Despicable Me) making themselves known. Keep your eyes peeled for some skateboarding royalty as well ;).
‘North Hollywood’ looks to be an authentic depiction of a teenager struggling with his identity and ultimately trying to realise his true passion. Mikey (played by Ryder McLaughlin) rides that all too familiar teenager rollercoaster, getting caught up in stern conversations with his old man, puffing on joints, chatting up love interests and of course doing what he does best, skateboarding. Although the film is produced by Pharrell Williams, it is yet to lock down a film distributor, so I guess we’ll have to wait for someone to go all-in on this one. Until then, bask in the trailer’s glow below.