Rachelle Vinberg, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Jaden Smith
Director Crystal Moselle follows her stranger-than-fiction 2015 documentary The Wolfpack with another strong Sundance hit. In this, her first narrative feature, she portrays a real-life New York female skater crew of the same name as the film, Skate Kitchen. Poetic and atmospheric with hypnotic skating sequences, the film offers a millennial – and female-centred – spin on 80s skater classics such as Trashin’, with an aesthetic and New York youth milieu reminiscent of Larry Clark’s Kids.
In Skate Kitchen Moselle has given each skater a character to play and individual fictional arc to play out, but the film feels authentic as each of the first-time actors manage to retain their own personalities while stepping up to the challenge of the film. Co-starring with this mainly non-pro cast is Jaden Smith of The Get Down and Karate Kid fame.
Skate Kitchen comes most fully to life when it’s in motion with its spectacular skating scenes; the film’s lively main characters are mesmerising to watch as they cruise through New York whilst also wending their way through the concurrent complications of teenager-dom. In an earnest and natural way, the film also captures perfectly the experience of women in male-dominated spaces and subcultures. Behind the scenes, the Skate Kitchen crew has now grown from a group of friends to a skateboarding phenomenon, picking up fans from the fashion world to Pharrell Williams.