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This Is What It’s Like To Be A Skater In Cuba

A short doc explores Havana’s skate scene.

October 13, 2016

For decades, skateboarding was considered a pastime for dopey outliers, the domain of stoners and mischief-makers. Negative perceptions of skate culture have softened in recent years, in part thanks to the growth of the industry into a multibillion-dollar market and the emergence of the skatepark as a legitimate, sanctioned space. Skateboarding will be an official category in the 2020 Olympics; social issues like gender diversity and sexuality are increasingly being addressed; and skate-related music and fashion dictate much popular culture. And along the way, it's become globally ubiquitous. Still, some stigma persists.

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In a short documentary called Ciudad Libertad, filmmaker Isaac Gale explores what it's like to be a skater in Cuba. "We had no idea what to expect from the skate community in Havana, and once we arrived quickly realized that they weren't much different from the community in America — teens looking for any space to skate and quickly getting chased out by the age-old conventions (aka fat security guards)," producer Jake Heinitz told The FADER in an email. The doc follows a handful of skaters in Havana as they Macguyver outdoor spaces into makeshift ramps and half-pipes, and challenge the unfair stereotypes they're up against.

This Is What It’s Like To Be A Skater In Cuba