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SXSW Review: ’Skate Dreams’

March 14, 2022Ben MK

The fight for women's equality has been ongoing on for centuries. Yet, although we've certainly come a long way from the way things once were, the battle is still far from won. Whether it's equal pay or equal representation, women are still continuing to strive to prove themselves just as talented, inspirational and unflinchingly determined as their male counterparts. And in the documentary Skate Dreams, director Jessica Edwards introduces viewers to one such group of women, whose contributions to the world of professional skateboarding have helped make the sport as inclusive as it is today.

Invented in the 1950s, skateboarding has been a part of youth culture for the last seven or so decades. Nonetheless, when it comes to gender, there's no question that the sport remains largely male-dominated — a fact that women like Mimi Knoop, Lisa Whitaker and Nora Vasconcellos are dead set on changing. The coach for Team USA skateboarding at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, a skate archivist and the founder of the Girls Skate Network, and the professional skateboarder behind Adidas' Nora collection, the trio are just a few of the women Edwards turns her lens on, as she explores the many ways skateboarding has helped girls from various walks of life overcome personal obstacles and find their inner strength. Ultimately, though, it's up to the next generation of female skateboarders to carry on their legacy, a task that, while still challenging, should prove somewhat easier, now that Knoop, Whitaker, Vasconcellos and others like them have paved the way.

From the skate parks of California and Seattle to a Cambodian non-profit organization dedicated to empowering kids through the sport, the result is a celebration of the power that women have, not only to challenge stereotypes, but also to accomplish the goals that they set their minds on. And even though Skate Dreams communicates this solely within the context of skateboarding, clearly it's a message that transcends the subject matter.

Skate Dreams screens under the Documentary Spotlight section at the 2022 South by Southwest Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 22 min.

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