Vans Doc ‘Never Catch Pigeons’ Opens NBFF – Review

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Never Catch Pigeon, a Documentary about Vans Founder, Paul Van Doren Opens Newport Beach Film Festival with a Second Sold Out Screening.

Never Catch Pigeon and Eleven More Hard Lessons From Mr. Paul Van Doren, a Documentary about Vans Founder, Paul Van Doren opened the Newport Beach Film Festival at 7 p.m. tonight and earned itself a second screening immediately afterwards at 9 p.m. because of how quickly the feature sold out.

I live literally one freeway exit away from the Vans offices and pass by it every time I drive up the 405 North on my way home. It has kind of become a landmark to remind me that I’m almost there.

Never once did I image the history of that building and what took place to develop the icon shoes that have become synonyms with skater culture in Southern California and later the world. I had no clue that the full name of the founder was Van Doren until watching Never Catch Pigeon and Eleven More Hard Lessons From Mr. Paul Van Doren, a documentary about Vans Founder, Paul Van Doren.

Mr. Van Doren a Dutch-Italian-American was a high school drop out who’s mom hooked him with a shoe factory job interview at Randy’s in the Northeast that drove a young man with ideas to being a man of the people.

The absolute truth: Paul Van Doren was Punk Rock before it ever existed. He embodied the American spirit and a kid from New England made good in life because he held to his convictions and didn’t his soul selling soles.

Van Doren cornered the market organically in the extreme sports markets of skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX racing and with the help of his son Steve and granddaughter, innovated the Punk Rock/Extreme Sports crossover with the Warped Tour.

Throughout the documentary produced by Brian Etting and directed by Doug Pray, we meet Van Doren himself, his sister, childhood friends, his ex-wife Dolly and children Steve, Cheryl Van Doren, Kathy, Paul Jr. and Janie Van Doren.

Throughout the documentary we learn about a man who had his father’s Dutch, no-nonsense attributes with his Italian mother’s zest for life allowed Van Doren to see through all the BS of life…including his own actions. We learn the dozen of hard life lessons that should be taught in every business school and why we should Never Catch Pigeons (watch the documentary and find out).

Sometimes it is difficult to open a film festival with a documentary, but Never Catch Pigeon and Eleven More Hard Lessons From Mr. Paul Van Doren, is one that blew me away. It was not so much a documentary about a guy and a shoe company, it was a man of the people making good on life, accepting his faults and still forging forward.

Sadly, we lost Mr. Van Doren this year and the tribute at the end of the documentary will make the hardest of hearts melt. Vans is still run like a family business with his son Steve as one of the faces of the company, even after the buy out, but what makes Vans special is not the waffle soles, but the soul behind the company and that was Paul Van Doren Sr.

Never Catch Pigeon and Eleven More Hard Lessons From Mr. Paul Van Doren, a documentary about Vans Founder, Paul Van Doren opened the Newport Beach Film Festival at 7 p.m. with a second screening at 9 p.m.

  • Overall Score
5

Summary

Paul Van Doren was the soul behind the soles, a business man that understood what the clientele wanted and gave it to them. Never Catch Pigeons takes his dozen life lessons and opens a crack in the window for up to take a peek at what it takes to become a legend.

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