SKATE KITCHEN Crystal Moselle turns her lens to the female-first collective shaking up the skating scene…
Igrew up around skateboarders my entire life, but I literally knew two that were women,” says Crystal Moselle, the director of award-winning doc The Wolfpack, who’s making her narrative debut with Skate Kitchen – a semi-fictionalised account of the titular New York collective. “To see these girls with skateboards was like, ‘Whoa!’”
A chance encounter with two of the group’s members, Rachelle Vinberg (whose outsider Camille is the focus of the film) and Nina Moran, on the subway a little over two years ago resulted in a dreamy short film for fashion brand Miu Miu, but Moselle’s itch remained unscratched. Rather than a second doc, however, she pursued a compelling blend of fact and fiction.
“With a documentary you have to step back and observe. I didn’t even feel like observing,” she
explains of the decision to give each girl a fictional character to play, while remaining true to the essence of their lives. “Then we threw in some narrative changes and stakes. It feels authentic from that point of view.”
The result is an intoxicating summer daze story content to hang out with the Kitchen’s cooks as they carve a space in the male-dominated skating scene and forge life-long bonds in the face of the isolating loneliness of teenage life. “There’s nothing that can fulfil that until you actually find your tribe,” Moselle smiles. “[Rachelle] didn’t find that for a long time.”
While the cast consists primarily of acting amateurs, there is one recognisable name on the call sheet: Jaden Smith, whose Devon drives a wedge between the girls. “He was super down to do it, but I was worried it wasn’t going to feel authentic,” Moselle says. “So he came and hung out for two weeks, chilling on my couch with the girls and in skate parks. It really just felt right.” Whoa is right.
ETA | 28 SEPTEMBER / SKATE KITCHEN OPENS NEXT MONTH.
Jaden Smith with Rachelle Vinberg, who stars as New York skater Camille.