A STUDENT FILM EXPLORING THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF SOUTHSEA SKATEPARK
A group of young film students from the University of Portsmouth recently finished an insightful short documentary film about Southsea Skatepark’s history and also how it meshes in with Southsea and the people who live here. We caught up with two of the filmmakers to find out more. You can watch the full film below.
You guys are studying at the University of Portsmouth, what course are you on and what are your backgrounds?
Jake: We’re on Film Production together , we’ve both come from college doing media based courses and we’ve also both come from skateboarding/BMX backgrounds.
What first got you interested in find out out more about Southsea Skatepark?
Rob: We’ve both came from areas where there has been old skateparks near us such as, Harrow and Skaterham. So we were both interested in how a skatepark with so much history wasn’t getting the attention it deserved.
You’ve interviewed a few skatepark legends, how was that?
Jake: Interviewing Don was brilliant, he knows everything about skateboarding and he’s such a laugh to hang out with.Barry was Rad too, a really nice guy that we could tell cared dearly about the skatepark and felt really passionate about the topic. John was a real help with the documentary, giving us a load of archive footage to work with.
What eras of the skatepark does the film cover?
Rob: Our film talks about the beginning of the park when it was originally a roller rink in the 1950’s to when the park was officially named a skatepark in the 1970’s and finally through to the present day.
What aspects of Southsea do you think the film captures?
Jake: We wanted to capture mostly how the skateboarding scene has moved away from Southsea and times has changed for older parks such as Southsea Skatepark. We also wanted to put across how older generations have chosen to stay in Southsea as the younger generations tend to come and go and return to Portsmouth later in life. I think the film shows that there are people in Southsea, such as yourself (Strong Island) and Barry that still put effort toward’s keeping Southsea so unique.
How does the skatepark relate to the wider Southsea do you think?
Rob: We used the Skatepark as a metaphor for the entirety of Southsea as we feel like what has happened to the skatepark has happened to Southsea where the “Prime time” has been and gone. However there are still people in Southsea who are willing to put the effort into making Southsea great again by opening new and unique shops and new events for everyone local to enjoy to keep Southsea fresh and interesting.
The film has now been released and already been featured on Crossfire, Sidewalk, etc, how has the feedback been?
Jake: Better than we could have imagined! I still cant believe it got such good feedback. I’m stoked that Sidewalk and Crossfire have put it on their sites, I grew up reading Sidewalk Magazine and I never thought i’d see anything I made feature on such a well known magazine. Everyone involved in the project loved it considering only me and Rob were from an Skateboarding/BMX background i feel they got the learn about the history of the park and the skateboarders that used to go there.
How did the film go down with your lecturers?
Rob: All of our lecturer’s loved it, we were concerned about the fact they had no idea about skateboarding or the history behind the skatepark that they would feel disconnected however they really enjoyed it. So all together we received really good feedback which we were stoked on.
Watch ‘Transition’ below:
We also wanted to put across how older generations have chosen to stay in Southsea as the younger generations tend to come and go and return to Portsmouth later in life