Skate About: a skateboarding documentary

Vandals, hooligans, trouble-makers. Skaters often get a bad rap, especially in Bristol. Skate About challenges perceptions and gives a fresh perspective on these stereotypes. In Skate About  we meet Ned and Oli, two skaters 7 years apart in age, who share their experiences being part of the skating community. Producer Rhea Haynes shares her thoughts about making the film.

Tell us about the film.

Skate About looks at the skating community in Bristol, and the multi-generational bonds that can be formed. We wanted to explore some of the deep rooted issues in this city’s relationship with Skaters, from skate-stoppers to the poor relationships with the council. However, we found that the best thing to come out of this documentary was the relationship between Ned and Oli, our two contributors. They met whilst filming this documentary, and it was really heartwarming to see a friendship blossom over their love for the same sport.

What was it like making the film? How did the team work together?

It was a really great experience to have full control over making a film. Each of us really had to step into our roles to make sure the production ran smoothly. I felt supported by my team when filming, which is a really important part of working together. We helped each other out, which created a really enjoyable filming experience.

Watching the film now, how do you feel?

It’s interesting watching our film now because it looks completely different to the film we had planned in the first place. After having to make a few changes due to bad weather conditions, our film ended up becoming more about the community and brotherhood involved in skating. It now has a much more personal focus on the contributors, and as we interviewed Ned and Oli, we learned how important the relationships made through the skating community are. I feel like our documentary took a turn for the better and has become a very heartwarming tribute to the skateboarding community in Bristol.

What would you like people to take away from the film?

I’d like it if people developed a new appreciation for how liberating skateboarding can be as a sport. For some people, skateboarding is a great escape from the norms of society, and a way to create meaningful relationships with people from all different backgrounds. Hopefully negative perceptions of skaters will be changed by seeing two boys from different generations who see skating as a sport, an outlet and a passion.

Would you recommend the BFI Film Academy to other people?

I would recommend the BFI Film Academy to anyone who wants a taste of what it’s like to work in a professional filming environment. The mentors give great advice and really support you in your production role. It’s also a great place to network and meet like-minded people who share the same passion for film as you do. I’ve definitely learned a lot from my time in the Academy that I will take forward with me as I make my first step into the industry.


Directed by – Andrew Searle

Producer  – Rhea Hayness

Camera Operator – Oliver Southall and Shanikke Hamilton

Additional Camera – Elsie Murray, Evie Fayers, Andrew Searle, Rhea Haynes and Ned Fayers

Researcher – Evie Fayers

Art Director – Elsie Murray

Sound – Zakkiya Kazzuz

Edit – Shanikke Hamilton and Oliver Southall

Additional Edit – Rhea Haynes

Composer– Shanikke Hamilton

Animation – Shanikke Hamilton

Title Design – Ned Fayers and Rhea Haynes

Poster Design – Rhea Haynes

Production Mentor – Theo Watkins

This documentary was made by participants on the BFI Film Academy programme and delivered by Watershed.

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