Film ‘Skate Dreams’ to chronicle rise of women’s skateboarding

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Mimi Knoop, right, and the USA Women’s Skateboarding Team will be profiled in Jessica Edwards’ “Skate Dreams.” [Photo courtesy of Film First]

The Games of the XXXII Olympiad ended Aug. 8, but the historic achievements in women’s skateboarding in the Tokyo Summer Olympics will live on in film.

Film First, the Brooklyn-based production company behind hit documentaries like “Helvetica” and “Mavis!,” recently announced that its ninth feature film, “Skate Dreams,” was in production at the Olympic Games in Tokyo as well as in the United States and Africa.

Directed by Jessica Edwards and executive produced by Gary Hustwit, “Skate Dreams” will be the first feature-length film to chronicle the rise of female skateboarding from its early days as a vibrant, if marginalized, part of the subculture to its international debut as an official sport at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

“Skate Dreams” will profile six female skaters from around the world who are on a mission to transform the sport into a more inclusive and diverse global community, according to a news release.

The film profiles pro-skater and activist Mimi Knoop, from her beginnings as an advocate for women in the sport as she accepts the job as the coach of the first U.S. Women’s Olympic Skateboarding Team.

“We’ve been working for a long time to create opportunities where none existed prior out of sheer necessity.” Knoop said in a statement. “As skateboarding makes its debut on the global stage, I’m excited to participate in a film that tells the untold story that led us to this moment.”

The Women’s Olympic Street and Park Skateboarding Competition debuted at the 2021 Summer Olympics. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, 13, took home the first Olympic gold medal in women’s street skateboarding, while Rayssa Leal, also 13, from Brazil, earned the silver. Japanese skater Funa Nakayama, 16, won bronze, according to Time.

It’s through Snoop’s story in “Skate Dreams” that audiences watch a global revolution unfold: an outsider sport once only practiced in abandoned swimming pools and vacant lots becomes the fastest growing sport in the United States. Young American women like Nicole Hause and Nora Vasconcellos use social media to bypass traditional skateboarding gatekeepers to create successful careers on their own terms, and around the globe, women like Chansangva (Tin) Kouv in Cambodia, Sandy Alibo in Ghana and Jessyka Bailey in Brooklyn use the freedom and independence of skateboarding to propel a global shift in gender and racial equality on, and off, their skateboards.

“Since my 9-year-old daughter decided she wanted to pick up a skateboard, I’ve been fascinated and inspired by groups of skaters defining their communities on their own terms and using the sport not just for personal independence but as a way to lift each other up.” Edwards said in a statement. “As skateboarding gains global attention on sport’s biggest stage, I want to highlight the struggle and journey that it took to get here.”

Film First’s accomplishments in both short and long form documentary films have generated awards, critical accolades and commercial successes, including a Peabody Award for “Mavis!”

Joining Film First on the production is producer Erin Owens (“Cartel Land,” “The Punk Singer”) and executive producers Hustwit, Bowie and Jeff Barnett-Zunino, Molly Gochman and Michael Armilio.

“Skate Dreams” is produced in association with Topiary Productions. The award-winning studio And/Or has been engaged to handle graphics.


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