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Lionsgate Goes Extreme

7 Jun, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Lionsgate is renowned for embracing unconventional fare, including political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Oscar-winner Crash and the “Saw” horror franchise, among others.

The mini-major June 24 will re-release critically acclaimed surfing doc Step Into Liquid on DVD and Blu-ray for $29.99 each. A digital download edition is available at lionsgate.com for $9.98.

Artisan Home Entertainment originally released the 2003 film on DVD in 2004.

Directed by Dana Brown, the doc traverses the globe showcasing the excitement, beauty and dangers of surfing in diverse waters such as Oahu's North Shore, the Gulf of Mexico (where waves are created by massive oil supertankers), and the shores of Ireland, Costa Rica, Vietnam and Rapa Nui (Easter Island), among others.

Visual highlights include world-class surfers Kelly Slater, Taj Burrows and Laird Hamilton tackling monster waves at Cortes Bank, above a chain of underwater mountains in the Pacific Ocean 100 miles west of San Diego.

Special features on the DVD include an introduction and audio commentary from Brown, deleted scenes, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage. Other material includes the featurettes “Let's Go Surfing Surf Lessons with Wingnut and Maureen” and “Making of a Surfboard with Robert and Sam August” as well as the surfing bill of rights.

The Blu-ray edition includes the aforementioned bonus material, plus a “Capturing the Wave” featurette, all in standard-definition.

In addition to human interest stories, which Brown's father, Bruce Brown, established as documentary mainstays in his critically-acclaimed 1968 film Endless Summer, Liquid uncovers and examines what it is about surfing that hooks people's souls, becoming integral to their lives in ways that far exceed a simple pastime.

Step Into Liquid is perfect for the Blu-ray format,” said Chela Johnson, VP of marketing at Lionsgate. “This is the best way to convey the look, sound and feel of the setting and experience. It is the closest the viewer can come to seeing every drop of water — next to actually being there.”

Separately, Lionsgate will release mixed-martial arts titles Ultimate Fighting Championship Classics 9: Motor City Madness and UFC Classics 10: The Tournament at later dates.

From its infamous start as a back-alley spectacle dubbed “human cockfighting” by some critics, mixed-martial arts has evolved into a pay-per-view, cable and mainstream TV phenomenon showcasing headline star fighters shrewdly marketed by UFC and other MMA organizations.

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