MAD | Music/Art/Design
America’s roller rinks have long been strongholds of regional African-American culture, places where—despite barely concealed racist "rules" meant to keep black Americans out—the nascent hip-hop scene experimented with moves, music, concerts and competitions in a quest to affirm and expand urban African-American identity. But, for a while now, gentrification—rink owners (usually white) selling to condo developers and other speculators—has been killing African-American roller-rink culture. Co-directors Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown travelled throughout the US for years documenting this fading scene and capturing the different forms and styles rink culture has taken in various big cities, as well as the personalities of the skaters and owners who refuse to quit. Inspiring and occasionally sad but lit with the spark of hope (the film provides some evidence of a cultural comeback for roller-rink culture), United Skates is a charming, energetic and enlightening work that provides entry into a terrifically entertaining world of style, slang, dance and music.
"Like such trendsetting classics as Paris Is Burning and Rize, this kaleidoscopically vibrant, essential-viewing survey plunges audiences into a dazzling underground scene, celebrating the endangered art form it finds there… Winkler and Brown provide an invaluable ‘people’s history’ of the role these arenas played in the rise of black music…[and their film,] bolstered by daredevil, high-speed cinematography and a rousing soundtrack… shines a spotlight on the wild moves and blinged-out shoes that haven’t always been welcome on America’s [dance] floors."—Peter Debruge, Variety
Audience Award, Tribeca 18
Closed captioning using CaptiView devices will be available for the October 6th screening at International Village. Devices can be requested from the Cineplex box office on the 3rd floor. There are a Limited number available on a first come first served basis. Click here for more information about CaptiView.