“Skate Kitchen” star Nina Moran said she and her castmates — mostly real-life skateboarders, along with former “Karate Kid” Jaden Smith — had a mission in mind playing girls trying to carve out space for themselves in New York City’s male-dominated skate parks.
“I am so stubborn,” Moran told TheWrap Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman in Sundance, where director Crystal Moselle’s film premiered last weekend. “If anybody’s going to tell me not to do something, I’m gonna want to do it 100 times more.”
In “Skate Kitchen,” Moran plays Kurt, the most brash outspoken member of a new skate crew formed by Camille (Rachelle Vinberg), a shy but passionate skateboarder who defies her mother’s skating ban and gets kicked out of her home, forcing her and her pals to maneuver around New York’s skating world while dealing with the all-male crews who try to intimidate them.
Smith, who plays the boyfriend of a member of the crew, said he was drawn to the film’s exploration of “being an outcast” in a male-dominated milieu. “When you walk onto a skate park, that’s very nerve-wracking,” he said. “It’s 10 times scarier when there’s no one else of your same gender there doing it.”
Moran and her real-life skateboarding crew met Moselle by a random encounter on a train, after which they collaborated on a short film that has led them to global notoriety, magazine shoots, and a deal with Nike before this new film — with a fictionalized version of their experience.
Moran says that they’ve been surprised by what an impact they’ve had since the short film and what sort of messages they’ve received from girls who have been inspired to pick up a skateboard.
“We made it so that more girls are skating now. Before this, there was no one,” Moran “We know girls in Switzerland! In China! They hit us up and they’re like, ‘Wow, because of this…I realize that other girls feel like me because it felt like no one else feels like me.'”
See more remarks from Moran and Smith in the video above.