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“Long Live Chainsaw,” opens with a young Stevie Smith standing at the edge of the water in Vancouver Island and a voiceover: “I’m just worried I’m going to get old and have nothing to show for what I’ve done here.”
The rest of the film—Anthill Films’ first feature-length documentary and available today for digital download—proves just the opposite, following Smith’s meteoric rise from a small-town kid racing BMX at the local track to his firmly cemented status as a downhill-racing legend. It’s a gripping story, and one that will have you in tears at the end whether or not you followed Smith’s career when he was alive or learned of him after his tragic death in 2016 in a motorcycle accident near his home in Nanaimo.
Anthill captures Smith’s lasting legacy through interviews with racing peers such as Steve Peat, Brook MacDonald and Gee Atherton, against whom Smith battled for the World Cup overall title in 2013, former team managers, childhood friends, Smith’s mom and sister, and fellow Canadian racers whom he inspired to believe in dreams that might seem impossible.
“Anthill did a truly amazing job of capturing who Stevie was and how he lived his life, ” says Canadian World Cup racer Finn Iles. “For me, watching Long Live Chainsaw was emotional—it made me laugh and cry. Stevie was my idol growing up and became a friend after I got sponsored with Red Bull. He was a one of a kind human that will forever motivate and influence me on and off the bike.”
The film is a moving tribute to a man who first captured mountain biking’s attention as a 17-year-old with his appearance in “Seasons.” In one of the most memorable segments in a mountain bike film, Smith’s mom, Tianna, shuttles him up Mount Prevost—his bike dangling off the back of her Geo Tracker as it bumbles up the gravel road—over and over in support of his goal to one day race at the highest level. Seeing him achieve that goal on-screen, and become the first-ever Canadian to win the overall DH World Cup title, makes his untimely death sting all that much more.
In the film, Anthill retraces Smith’s career, and devotes 30 minutes to his historic 2013 season, going toe-to-toe with Atherton for the prestigious World Cup title. “You all know the name, but not many know the whole tale. I raced against this man for so many years, and still to this day one of the fiercest and most competitive athletes I’ve raced,” Atherton said.
“Long Live Chainsaw” was produced in partnership with Red Bull Media House and the Stevie Smith Legacy Foundation, and all proceeds of the film will go directly to the foundation to help grow Stevie’s legacy of inspiring the next generation of riders, something he’s been doing for years.
“I think the strongest part of his legacy was that he not only taught us to believe in ourselves but also in each other. We work together, push harder and celebrate with each other. There is an immense pride to be a Canadian racer and to follow in the footsteps of Steve Smith—this will never change,” said Miranda Miller, who won DH World Champs in 2017.
“Stevie’s story belongs to the community as a whole,” says Darcy Wittenburg, the film’s director. “His life touched so many people that it seems fitting his story be told through the united efforts of the community he helped inspire. This film has been a huge collaboration from those who knew him best—family, friends and fellow riders—to every filmmaker and photographer that ever worked with him. Our hope for this film is that his extraordinary story continues to inspire future generations of young athletes. Stevie may no longer be with us, but his legacy sends a ripple of positivity out in the universe that will grow with all who come to know his story. Long Live Chainsaw.”
Long Live Chainsaw is now available for digital download on iTunes, Apple TV, Vimeo on Demand, Google Play, Amazon, Xbox Movie or Vudu: https://geni.us/Watch_Chainsaw.