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Virgin Blacktop: a New York Skate Odyssey gets a trailer

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Virgin Blacktop is an uplifting and sometimes heart-breaking coming-of-age story about a super funky crew of suburban New York City kids. When they met in 1977, they had nothing in common except a passion for skateboarding. Despite their vastly different ages, races and economic backgrounds and with their parents hands off approach, they formed a competitive, travelling team of spirited outsiders called the “Wizards”. Now, nearly 40 years later, they remain friends but their lives have followed very different paths, from boardrooms to jail cells.

It took director Charlie Samuels, who makes his living as a professional photographer, 24 years of shooting and hunting down films to put his movie together. Along the way, he married (skateboarding on his hands down the aisle) and became the father of two but he never lost the dream of telling the Wizards’ story. He searched dusty attics for half-forgotten Super8 films, and travelled the country, interviewing former team members. The Wizards are all in their fifties now and, remarkably, all of them still skate. They recently had a reunion and watched the film for the first time. They loved it and Samuels is betting audiences will too.

Says Samuels, “In 1994 I had a weekly cable access documentary tv show in NYC that I edited on my grandfather’s VCR. When I had a reunion of my skateboard team where we built a ramp inside my apartment I filmed it on Hi8 and thought I’d cut it for one of my shows. But when I saw the footage I was amazed that the passion and energy came through so strongly so I immediately thought how I could take it beyond a half hour episode by supplementing it with interviews and a “where they are now” doc. I searched attics, basements and storage lockers for Super8 film of us and found it all. When the best time in your life happens to be documented by some incredibly talented shooters you gotta make a film about it.”

VIRGIN BLACKTOP’s next festival screening is at the Margaret Mead Film Festival, NYC on Oct 21.

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