RHAPSODY ON PAVEMENT / SHORT DOC (2022)
What started as "where are my sk8r girls at" became a suddenly very telling and at times serious conversation about where girls could actually skate without constantly feeling unsafe or unwelcome. This project pushed us to ask these kinds of questions about our communities.
This project came to me as pilot project from a group of creatives known as Library Lab. They were focusing on strengthening the bond between people and place when they launched this short series of docu-poems, funded and in conjunction with Westbank Development.
We quickly discovered how much we loved exploring the world of skateboarding, over a pandemic where there were very few places to gather and increasing health and mental health concerns.
Skating was new to me and frankly I've spent my whole childhood desperately avoiding anythign that would potentially conk me on the head (yet I think I've had about two concussions none the less) but I quite enjoyed scouting out places that women skated. There seemed to be an uprise of women skateboarding over the pandemic but like with any burgeoning movement, their appearance was still quite new and sometimes uncomfortable until society was willing to adapt.
We met Steph Batteiste first - a skater with entrepreneurial spirit and a cohort of the nicest, coolest hardcore women on boards we've ever met. Steph had a rough skate kid side, but she also had the tender big sister energy that she brought to teaching kids skate fundamentals at Ashbridge's park. It was easy to see that the people who skated for long enough came from the generation where it was not cool, not hip and kinda grimey and has now made its way into a mainstream - dare I say commercial - world. After all, it's in the Olympics now!
Yumi was the next gen. A kid from the burbs with all the charm and grace of a dancer on a board. She moved with her instrument, and she also saw value and potential in teaching the younger generations and particularly little girls how to skate. In fact, she is and her father had created quite a robust little company of skate school. All of this while she prepared to go to University and study teaching. A powerhouse with unlimited talent. Yumi introduced us to her friends, they skated at one of their favourite school spots, where we were told a janitor sometimes gives them tips on tricks. They bring their own rail and wax the schoolyard curbs and bounce around between the school and Richmond Green. It was perfect.
"Rhapsody on Pavement" Short Doc
Production Company Library Lab
Executive Producer Rebekah Miskin
Dir. Sara Jade Alfaro
Producer Colin Walker
Production Manager Tyler Klementti
Director of Photography John Ker
B Camera Bob Lyte
Swing Parsa Hemmati
Sound Recordist Michael Curtis
DIT Brian Lanigan
PA Yasmin Evering-Kerr
Yumi Sakura Lee
Music Composer Iva Delic
Sound Engineer Evan Jerred
Editor Oliver Whitfield-Smith
Graphics Designer Quinn Shoreman
Colourist Ana Escorse @ Studio Feather