5 Incredible Skate Films (and they’re not all what you think)

Feature image; still from Dogtown & Z-Boys Words by Billie Jenkins

This Ain’t California, 2012 – ’We were sick of marching and training and all that shit’
Documenting how skateboarding culture developed in West Germany, a place torn by war, borders and Soviet Union values, This Ain’t California is photographically lush and emotionally poignant. After someones uncle smuggled an American skateboard through a checkpoint neighbourhood kids began to build their own boards with roller skate wheels and timber. Narrated archival footage provides a sharp insight into youth under the shadow of the Berlin Wall and the fun freedom of skating.

Tilva Ros, 2010
This Serbian Film follows a group of skaters after they finish school in a quiet and poor town. They cause trouble, shoot films, and compete for a girls attention. The story came to be after the director, Nikola Lezaic, came across an hour long film made by real-life characters Toda and Stefan of them doing skating stunts in the community with friends; some survive into the film itself.

Skateistan: To live and Skate in Kabul, 2010
Incredible short about skateboarders in Afghanistan, capturing the optimism and restraints on young ambitions. Not least Fazilla, who dreams of competing but must live within her context of a girl in war scarred Kabul.

Gleaming the Cube, 1989
So, the haircuts are naff as your nan’s knicker draws and Christian Slater is not the first name skateboarding brings to mind, but the stunt cast is mind blowing. Under the guidance of original Z-boy Stacy Peralta the line up of actual skateboarders reads as a who’s who of the era including Mike McGill, “Gator” Mark Rogowski, Rodney Mullen, Rich Dunlop, Eric Dressen, Lance Mountain, Mike Vallely, Chris Black, Ted Ehr, Natas Kaupas, Chris Borst, Steve Saiz, Tony Hawk, and Tommy Guerrero. So we’ll forgive that it looks like an episode of Goosebumps.

Dogtown & Z-boys, 2001
This time directed by Stacy Peralta this documentary shows off footage of Z-boys in the seventies, with interviews from those who were part of the scene. It won At Sundance, it’s sold over 1,700,000 copies, have you really not seen it yet.

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