(Release Info London schedule; September 24th, 2018, Genesis Cinema, 19:30)
Camille (Rachelle Vinberg) is an introverted teenage skateboarder from 'Long Island', meets and befriends an all-girl, New York City-based skateboarding crew called 'Skate Kitchen'. She falls in with the in-crowd, has a falling-out with her mother Lana (Elizabeth Rodriguez), and falls for mysterious skateboarder Jared (Jaden Smith), but a relationship with him proves to be trickier to navigate than a kickflip.
It’s 2018 and never a more fitting time for a film that has been masterfully adapted from a popular Instagram account. Crystal Moselle’s "Skate Kitchen" is the groundbreaking story about a group of badass young women. Camille lives on 'Long Island' and spends most of her days skateboarding alone. When Camille injures herself skateboarding, her mum bans her from ever skating again. But skating is everything to Camille. But the pull is too strong and, after discovering 'The Skate Kitchen' on 'Instagram', Camille heads to New York City, board in hand. Seeing that the crew she follows on 'Instagram' are going to be at a 'Lower East Side Skate Park', she's there in a heartbeat, and not only proves her ability but quickly fits in with everyone. The diverse, staunchly independent group skate together and discuss life in bedroom hangouts, all the while carving out their own unique space at the park. There, the women quickly adopt her as their own and, before she knows it, she's living her dream skating and partying with her very own crew. But Camille comes to understand the complexities of the group dynamic when she befriends a boy from a rival group of skaters. When Jared attracts Camille’s attention, things get complicated in the group, and she finds herself in a male world, sleeping on a sofa while guys at the other end of the room flick between nature docos, skate videos and porn.
"Skate Kitchen" is a real skateboarding collective, and the cast are real skateboarders. The girls are incredible actresses, and they've taken on these personas that are inspired by their own selves. That's a contrived storyline. The girls are all friends and they all hang out together. The boys are all friends. Everybody in the film is friends with each other. There's this kid Alex, he's like the honorary 'Skate Kitchen' boy. He's in the film as Charlie. The film hirings him as a cultural interpreter, because he literally sit and helps the skateboarders with their skater accent. They all have the craziest slang that nobody knows besides them. It's feels authentic to their world and the way they talk and stuff. All the locations are the actual places that they skateboard. It's a film about freedom and friendship, in which the real-life skaters play versions of themselves.
This film is about a group of skateboarders in New York City that empowers people to skateboard. It's an authentic take on one young woman’s road to self-discovery as she learns the importance of female friendship and doing what you love. It's especially inspiring for women because it's pretty intimidating to get out in the park and actually learn. Because when you're learning you fall a lot, and it's inspiring to see these girls that just don't give a fuck and do their own thing. Also, they're not your traditional skateboarder chicks, not all of them are tomboys. They're very diverse, which is very cool. They're really just super open-minded. They're not mean girls at all, which to me is probably the coolest thing about them. The film hits a new stage with women where women are here to support each other rather than compete with each other. There's really not a competitive aspect of their world. There's is, because of the skateboarding, and every sport is to some extent. But, they're there to support each other.
There's darkness hanging around the edges of the film, but, while it does owe Larry Clark’s NYC classic a shoutout, this is definitely not Kids. The film’s best scenes, which resonate proudly with a sense of community and camaraderie, are when the crew are skating. The camera moves fluidly with the group as they take Manhattan, while Moselle’s documentary eye gives the film its grounded, observational realism. The film combines poetic, atmospheric filmmaking and hypnotic skating sequences. "Skate Kitchen" precisely captures the experience of women in male-dominated spaces and tells a story of a girl who learns the importance of camaraderie and self-discovery.
Social media is something that's really big in their lives, and that's how they communicate with the skate world, and how they communicate with each other. It's a big part of bringing their world together. They're commenting on each other's clips and now that they've 'Skate Kitchen', which has a ton of followers. So they build their online presence, and they've a really huge community of people that follow them and everything they do. So, it's an important aspect of the film to include the world of 'Instagram'.