Skate films have come a long way since the days of VHS. Back then, compilations of dudes doing tricks in parking lots were advertised in the back of Thrasher magazine. In recent years, though, we’ve seen skating move to the multiplex, with top-notch camerawork in glorious high definition. To emphasise the growing professionalism of skate-film culture, this summer ACMI is showcasing two movies hailed for leading its resurgence on the big screen: Skate Kitchen and Minding the Gap.
Skate Kitchen tells the story of 18-year-old Camille (Rachelle Vinberg, a member of New York’s real-life Skate Kitchen collective of female skaters), who spends her days cruising around Long Island and scrolling through online skate videos. What follows is both an insightful glimpse into the struggles young women face to establish themselves in male-dominated spaces, and an irresistible hang-out movie populated by compellingly real characters – played mostly by first-time actors and full-time skaters.
Bing Liu’s documentary Minding the Gap – which is showing as a double with Skate Kitchen – begins as a seemingly straightforward look at a group of young men skating their days away in the crumbling streets and abandoned car parks of Rockford, Illinois. But this coming-of-age tale takes more than one unexpected twist, as the carefree days of rolling and bantering are replaced by more adult concerns that no amount of stunts can avoid.
Both films are exclusive to ACMI, with tickets sold separately – but there’s also a discount pass available if you’re interested in checking them out as a double feature. If you’re a budding skate filmmaker, ACMI is offering a Skate Video Masterclass with Chris Middlebrook, who has been making skate videos for 25 years.
Skate Kitchen is screening from January 17 to February 6 and Minding the Gap is screening from January 17 to March 4. More information here.
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