Take 180 kids, give them skateboards and take to the city streets. In Kabul it might seem like a foolhardy prospect, fraught with potential dangers. However, for the third time running on June 21, the simplicity of the idea became the beauty of it. Go Skateboarding Day is an international holiday dedicated to celebration of the sport, from Afghanistan to China to the Americas. As Skateistan students first trickled, then poured through the park gates on to the road, bursting through the attendant ranks of photographers, officials and police, nothing could have stopped them.
Finally, dusty and triumphant, the skaters stormed back into their park for a celebratory contest to the beat of Afghan dul drums. The boys’ contest was won by Mohammad Bilal Mir Bat Zai, 15, who is disabled and skates by sitting on his board with crossed legs. The girls’ contest winner, Hanifa, 14, works on the street along with her younger sister. It was clear to see the high spirits of all who participated in Go Skate Day Kabul, who, without exception, could feel proud of who they are and what they represent.
This documentary film follows Skateistan and its founders through the year 2009, documenting their daily struggle to break down social, gender, and ethnic barriers between the children of a war-torn country. The film also gives an intimate look into the lives of some of these street kids. The documentary film follows them through their daily routines and become witness to the changes in their lives that are triggered by their discovery of skateboarding.
The movie is nominated for most valuable documentary of the year by the Cinema for Peace Foundation.
The film premiere take place on Saturday February 12 at 5p at Radialsystem in Berlin. www.radialsystem.de
To Live and Skate in Kabul is now available to watch online. The beautifully shot documentary was filmed in January 2010 and follows two Skateistan students, Murza and Fazila, through the streets of Kabul.
After winning 2 awards at the L.A. Skate Film Festival in September, legendary director Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and the Z-Boys and Riding Giants) wrote to the director Von Einsiedel saying “the film really knocked me out, it brought tears to my eyes and made me realize why I’ve ridden a skateboard all of my life.”
The film has been officially selected for a number of other festivals worldwide.
Skateistan is extremely proud to announce that the documentary film To Live and Skate Kabul by director Orlando Von Einsiedel has won two awards at the 1st annual L.A. Skate Film Festival. The nine-minute documentary featuring Skateistan was awarded “Best Documentary” and “Best Photography” during the awards ceremony on September 2.
The film was shot in January 2010 and shares the thoughts and experiences of two young Afghan skaters, one male and one female. Murza and Fazila have both been a part of Skateistan since before the indoor skatepark/classroom facility was built in late 2009. They first began skating at Mekroyan fountain, an empty, Soviet-era concrete bowl in Kabul. Von Einsidel’s beautifully shot documentary follows them through the streets of the city: it shows them skating the corridors of the battered and broken Darulaman palace, and playing on their boards with other kids in the empty Russian swimming pool on Bibimaru hill (which has never been filled with water and was used for executions under Taliban rule). Today, both Murza and Fazila teach skateboarding to other Afghan youth at the Skateistan Park.
The documentary will be shown at other festivals around the world this fall. The trailer for To Live and Skate Kabul can be seen below:
Last year Skateistan organized the first ever Go Skateboarding Day in Kabul, with more than 30 boys and girls taking part in a competition and skate session through the city`s streets. Go Skateboarding Day is a international holiday recongnizing the value of skateboaridng for youth around the world.
To recognize this special day the Skateistan team and the kids will be skateboarding through the streets where Skateistan was born, to the Skateistan park. Upon arrival at the park there will be a competition and all-day skate session, followed by a live Skype conference at 11PM between the kids at Skateistan and the Skate to Kabul supporters in Basel, Switzerland. The skaters in Basel have collected donations for Skateistan and are taking part in a Go Skateboarding Day event where they`ll skateboard along the streets for 5000m distance to represent the 5000 km distance between Basel and Kabul.
So go out yourself skateboarding and join any Go Skateboarding Day event around in your neighborhood!