Park Life

SKATE KITCHEN Crys­tal Moselle turns her lens to the fe­male-first col­lec­tive shak­ing up the skat­ing scene…

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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.


Jaden Smith with Rachelle Vin­berg, who stars as New York skater Camille.

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