SKATE DREAMS MAKES HISTORY
Jessica Edwards' Ground Breaking Documentary Is Now Streaming
VIEW THE TRAILER ABOVE
It’s hard to truly encapsulate the weight and historical significance of SKATE DREAMS. In fact, as I type and retype this intro, I’m brought back to watching an earlier version of Jessica Edwards’ documentary and how it brought so many things in and out of frame as I stared at my laptop.
What was illuminating is that our entire perceptions of skateboarding and skateboarding culture have historically been shaped by what’s greenlight—what the magazines print, what videos are made, and what stories are deemed as “worthy” enough to be told.
Obviously, social media’s been a powerful counter to the traditional narratives we’ve been fed for decades but also, for such a “question everything” society as we’ve become, skateboarding rarely challenges those narratives. It’s easy to think of skateboarding beginning with whatever entry point it started for each of us personally and there are few resources to dig back, if one is so inclined. Sure, you could dig around YouTube, buy old mags and zines on eBay, or have people there before you relay their POV, but for such a video-driven culture, skateboarding lacks a lot of history and context.
Let’s put it this way: It’s really easy to ignore what happens outside the lines of traditional skate media and ignore other stories, narratives, or movements within skateboarding. Having spoken to several folks who were around before my time, they have a different view of skateboarding’s history, one that reflects a more diverse culture than many were privy to in the pages of magazines or in videos. Also, there’s a need for more stories and deeper dives into skate history and as Jessica articulates, SKATE DREAMS is as much of a time capsule as it is a jumping-off point for further documentation and storytelling.
Part of documenting the present and future of skateboarding is taking a look at its past and SKATE DREAMS does a fantastic job of telling a story that—despite being so integral to skateboarding culture—has to fight to be told.
Well, depending on what streaming service you prefer, SKATE DREAMS is out, available, and here for you to dive into and hopefully share with your friends.
Read the synopsis below, followed by a brief interview with Jessica Edwards, and then smash around on some buttons on your device of choice and find it, please.
NICOLE HAUSE: COURTESY OF JESSICA EDWARDS
SKATE DREAMS is the first feature documentary about the rise of women’s skateboarding. It profiles a diverse group of women whose pursuit of self-expression and freedom has helped create an international movement. The story spans the trailblazing pioneers of the 1980s and the next generation of Olympic contenders as they defy industry gatekeepers and fight for professional equality. SKATE DREAMS showcases the charismatic personalities and indomitable spirits of these amazing talents on and off their skateboards. Directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Jessica Edwards.
Featuring Nora Vasconcellos, Mimi Knoop, Nicole Hause, Jordyn Barratt, Jessyka Bailey, Kouv ‘Tin’ Chansangva, Cara-Beth Burnside, Lisa Whitaker, Amy Gunther Ellington, Jessie Van, Jaime Reyes, Alexis Sablone, and young women around the world brought together through skateboarding.
Can you talk about what inspired you to take on this project and tell such a massive and poignant story?
In 2018, when my 6-year-old daughter wanted to start skateboarding, I started looking for documentaries or books that told the history of women in skating, and there wasn’t anything out there yet! Five years ago, there was very little in mainstream skate media about women or non-traditional skaters. At that point, Thrasher had only put three women on the cover in their almost 30 years of history. But what mainstream and skate media lacked in representation was made up for on social media. On places like Instagram & TikTok, there was a flourishing community of non-traditional skaters. As a filmmaker, I often get excited about ideas that don’t exist but should. That coupled with my daughter’s burgeoning interest in skating, and the fierce badassness of the women’s scene and their insane progression, made it a no-brainer as a film project.
Documenting such a large and underrepresented culture is not only a huge task but a heavy one. Can you talk a bit about the importance of this time of filmmaking?
Representation is the foundation for everything.
You can’t be what you can’t see.
There’s a lot of work that needs to happen once you have representation, but it’s the first step. If you have gatekeepers out there, traditionally they’re going to represent what and who they know. That applies to most systems and definitely to skateboarding. That’s why we really didn’t see non-traditional skaters burst onto the scene until folks could tell their own stories, and connect with each other and fans on social media.
SKATE DREAMS is just one step in telling this story and we felt the weight of that responsibility because when we started out there were so few narratives. It’s definitely changing now. Now, we have websites like Yeah Girl, magazines like Mess and Dolores and of course, Amelia Brodka’s film Underexposed, and resources on Instagram like @womxnsk8history. I hope there are a million more non-traditional skateboarding stories that we get to experience in the near future, SKATE DREAMS will just be one of many.
Since completing the film and releasing it to the world, what changes have you seen in the community and skateboarding as a whole?
Women’s skating is night and day from what it was when I started the project in 2018. When we started, women could really only earn a living as pro-skater by doing contests. And now that is completely different. You have a ton of women going pro for board and hard good companies that help them cultivate other sponsors and make enough of a living that they can skate every day. That was not happening 5 years ago. And we trace some of that in the film, especially Nora and Nicole’s storyline.
Also, the progression of women is INSANE. And it’s mostly coming from the crew under 15 years old… We were filming at XGames in 2019 when Misugu Okamoto rocked an incredible 540 in the Park competition and then went on to sweep the podiums for most of the pro-events that year. She set the bar high and the rest of the pack quickly followed. By the time the Olympics happened in 2021, the women were taking the competition by storm. And now you have a 13-year-old hitting the 720! The sky’s the limit for these kids.