It’s a documentary about a group of skateboarders. But it’s much more. “Virgin Blacktop” is really a movie about how a group of kids bonded over skateboarding, and became lifelong friends. The project which features more than four decades worth of film will make its world premiere on the Central Coast this weekend, as part of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.
Filmmaker Charlie Samuels says the kids lived in four towns north of New York City. While they came from different places, and had different backgrounds, they shared a love of skateboarding.
Samuels says members of the teams became all kinds of things as adult. Some were very successful, while others had a tougher time, ending up in and out of jail.
At a reunion in 1994, in Samuels New York apartment, he started shooting video of the members of the skateboarding team as they did skateboard stunts. He had a cable TV show, and he thought maybe he could turn the video into a story for the program.
Samuels started searching for some of that old Super 8 film of the Wizards in action, and says what he found was amazing, enough for a feature length documentary. He started interviewing the skateboarders for the project.
Samuels worked on and off on the project for more than two decades, until his wife gave him an ultimatum; Finish the project, or drop it. So, he stepped into high gear about three years ago. He raised about $40,000 through a crowd-sourcing campaign to fund completion of the documentary.
Samuels says while his group bonded over skateboarding, he feels that it’s something everyone can relate to. As kids, we had our groups, whether it was running on the track team or working on the yearbook.
“Virgin Blacktop” will premiere this coming Saturday, at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. It will be show at 1 p.m. Saturday, at the Bay Theater in Morro Bay.