Brooklyn’s The House of Vans filled with New York’s finest skaters and laypeople Monday to witness the premiere of indie filmmaker Crystal Moselle’s debut feature film “Skate Kitchen.” The screening was complete with plenty of skating (on and off the screen) free booze, snacks, a Q+A session with the cast and a live performance by Jaden Smith.
“Skate Kitchen” is a fictional narrative movie based on a real-life all-girl skater gang, merging the girls’ real personalities into their dramatized ones.
“I met Nina and Rachelle on the G train in New York City,” said Moselle of her first meeting with the cast. “I looked over at them, and they’re these girls with skateboards. And I followed them off the train and asked them if they wanted to do a film project with me.”
The film follows Long Island native Camille (Rachelle Vinberg) as she befriends the New York City-based skater group Skate Kitchen, leaves home after a falling-out with her mother, navigates a relationship with a skater boy from a rivaling group (played by Jaden Smith), and comes to terms with her childhood traumas as well as battles gender stereotypes in the NYC skate community.
“I knew about Rachelle, because my friend had shown me her skating on Instagram,” said Jaden Smith. “But then Crystal came to the office and kind of explained the whole story…and before Crystal had even finished explaining the story to me I knew I wanted to be a part of the project because it was just something so cool and different. So we eventually just came down to New York and we all started hanging out here for like two weeks before we started shooting.”
“Crystal knows us like how your best friends know you,” said Rachelle Vinberg of the creative process preceding the film. “Honestly, when she built our characters for us, she really put a lot of our true selves into our acted characters. I’d say a lot of the things that happened in the movie did actually happen in real life, like maybe something that happened to me that was played out in someone else’s character.”
Moselle said she really wanted to make the film “authentic” to the girl’s world, and even hung out with them and got to know them for about a year before any of the filming began.
“Skate Kitchen” is presented by Rooftop films, and the screening was part of their summer lineup of independent movie premieres. The organization is not-for-profit and aims to bring wider exposure to independent films and across New York and across the United States.
“Skate Kitchen” hits theaters August 10th.