SXSW Film Review: Skate Dreams

Sweet, badass documentary redefines "skate like a girl"

Skate Dreams

The phrase “skate like a girl” was something tossed around while growing up in the 90s as an insult, a jape to put down friends while skating around, doing kickflips out on the corners of their block.

The sport of skateboarding has drastically changed now. As seen in the opening of Skate Dreams, a chapter in Seattle has taken back the term, titling their organization and competition “Skate Like a Girl.” It’s here Cambodian skater “Tin” Kouv Chansangva takes the top prize, a pioneer in her country, where she’s recognized as the first female skater.

Jessica Edwards’ documentary on the rise of the female skate stars of today is vibrant, an edgy tapestry of hard-working athletes whose success has encouraged inclusivity in the sport. There’s a common thread in women-lead sports documentaries that try too hard to cheer on what is depicted as the impossible, but Skate Dreams keeps a level head that feels like a weight lifted. It manages to be both inspiring yet accessible, a documentary that’s celebrating the growth of females who have picked up a skateboard despite deterrents.

Nicole Hause’s journey through the documentary is particularly poignant – from competing to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to her accident and recontextualization of what matters most when it comes to her career. Hause and roommate Nora Vasconcellos have a candid conversation at a picnic table in their backyard, over weird social media DMs and their futures with the sport. In contrast to Rachelle Vinberg’s journey with sponsorship on skate-focused TV show Betty, Hause finds happiness and a new wave of innovation with her Nike sponsorship, a positive outlook on brand collaborations that ten years ago would have been blasted. These are moments that are often looked at with defeat – who wouldn’t be gutted by losing a chance to compete at the Olympics? However, Edwards’ vision doesn’t discount the beauty in self-discovery and pivoting goals, which is why these women are so lauded by their fans.

Skate Dreams is a bright, sweet, and badass film – a kaleidoscope picture of incredible and talented skateboarders who are devoted to their totally wicked passion. The documentary ends with Chansangva coaching young girls to not give up, young skater girls in the making. Someone better tell the boys the future of skateboarding is female.

Skate Dreams

Documentary Spotlight, World Premiere

March 14, 2:45pm, Rollins Theatre
March 16, 5:30pm, Alamo South Lamar

Streaming March 12-14

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Sound and Vision: The Meow Wolf/Spatial Connection
Sound and Vision: The Meow Wolf/Spatial Connection
Did SXSW give a preview of the technology behind the next portal?

Richard Whittaker, April 14, 2022

MSNBC Gets Behind the Story of <i>Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets</i>
MSNBC Gets Behind the Story of Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets
New documentary talks to the people who bought Gamestop shares

Ikram Mohamed, April 8, 2022

More by Jenny Nulf
Minions: The Rise of Gru
Kevin, Stuart, yee Bob nama bok, yee ba veela doegab tadtee de Otto!

July 1, 2022

Chloe Okuno Explores Horror and Gaslighting in <i>Watcher</i>
Chloe Okuno Explores Horror and Gaslighting in Watcher
Terror's rising director on the quiet perils of showing emotion

June 8, 2022


SXSW 2022, SXSW Film 2022, Skate Dreams

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle