Bohemia Euphoria celebrates female filmmakers from various demographics and parts of the world in the indie film space. This time around, we are shining the spotlight on the filmmakers behind our most recent live premiere, Boarders, a character-focused documentary following a group of British skateboarders on their journey towards selection for Tokyo 2021, where skateboarding will make its debut as an Olympic sport. Boarders tells the story of skateboarding in the UK – from its beginnings in the early 70s all the way to its current-day popularity and rise to an Olympic sport. Although traditionally a male dominated sport, Boarders is the creation of two women filmmakers, Annika Ranin and Jasmin Morrison, and the two main selections for the 2021 Olympics were young women.
On Annika Ranin
Annika Ranin is a director, producer and journalist, and has worked on a number of factual and documentary projects in film, TV and radio both in the UK and in her native Finland. She has experience in developing engaging stories for a variety of mediums and has always had an interest in music and subcultures. Boarders is her directorial debut. Annika holds an MA Degree in Film Distribution and Marketing from Birmingham City University and a BSc in Film Production from University of York.
See here for her filmography.
On Jasmin Morrison
Jasmin Morrison is an experienced film professional working in production, post production and film finance. In 2019, Jasmin and Annika Ranin founded UnMannered Limited, a production company focusing on documentary and narrative projects with strong artistic and internationally commercial appeal. Having previously served as the Investment Manager at London based The Fyzz Facility, Jasmin has been involved in the financing of over 100 feature films and has experience working from conception to distribution. She is the founder and owner of Soul Cognition, a production and consultancy company which is committed to educating filmmakers on the topics of film finance, sales and distribution. She is also the Head of Business Affairs in the Original Film team for UK Broadcaster Sky. Jasmin serves as a consultant for Breaking Through the Lens, is a British Screen Forum Future Leader and a BFI Network x BAFTA crew 2021 participant.
See here for her filmography.
Did you know that skateboarding originated in California from surfing, when surfers who got weary of having to depend on waves decided to find a way to simulate the same action on the ground?
Annika Ranin’s Boarders touches on several types of skateboarding – slalom, pipe, vert and more, and makes vital commentary on how replaceable skateboarders are in the multi-billion dollar sport due to the competitive nature of the industry. Skateboarding pros Sam Beckett, Alex Hallford, Jordan Thackeray and Alex deCunha travel and go all out for skateboarding competitions and navigate complex personal relationships, working through several injuries and surgeries. They also explain that training in the UK puts them at a disadvantage, since the country doesn’t have bowls and skateparks that match up to the ones they compete in outside the country. It comes as no real surprise that the two young women selected for the Olympics this year train in the U.S.A., which has much larger and more elaborate bowls and skateparks. Annika was keen to focus her film on the boarders who train primarily in the UK.
The film highlights the magnitude of the pressures faced by pro skateboarders and the inadvertent calming effect that the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK had on them, which resulted in less pressure from their sponsors and so being able to skateboard for fun again. Jordan, aside sustaining a lot of injuries over the years, had to undergo surgery to remove scar tissue. In his own words, “a lot of skaters end up changing their tricks based around how injured they are.” In his experience, it’s never been “thought of as necessary for skaters to be given medical care and stuff by their sponsors.”
As the documentary progresses, we come to learn more about the unbalanced scales in the industry, such as the lack of an “agency that represents skateboarders in terms of dealing with contracts from massive corporations.” Team manager Darren Pearcy outlines some of the challenges he faces in his role, including a lack of financial resources and skateboarders neglecting their health and wellbeing because they don’t view themselves as athletes.
In 90 minutes, the character focused documentary successfully captures the essence of British skateboarding culture – the euphoric feelings of floating and invincibility while skateboarding, how much of a downer the weather in the UK can be for their sport, even the importance of wearing Vans. It is refreshing to see the sport pushing for inclusivity at the end of the documentary, encouraging tween girls to get into skateboarding.
Parents communicated to Annika and Jasmin how useful skateboarding is for their children, teaching them values like waiting their turn, clapping for someone when they do well or helping them up when they fall. This starkly contrasts the way skateboarding was viewed in the UK only a few decades ago. In the documentary, Winstan recalls on more than one occasion being chased by people wielding bats. and turning up to skate at Southbank only to find that water had been poured all over the place to discourage him and his friends from skateboarding.
Following the film premiere was a live interview and discussion between guest host Samantha Bruce (who started skating when she was 13), Annika, Jasmin and skateboarder and filmmaker Winstan Whitter (featured in the film) and a Q&A session where the floor was opened up to the audience.
Though not skateboarders themselves, Annika and Jasmin sought to make Boarders because of the culture “being quite influential” in terms of “street footwear and fashion”, which gives it a much broader appeal beyond the act of skating. Timing-wise, Annika believes the film came out at the right time. “This is the first time that skateboarding’s going to the Olympics. It won’t be like this the next time.”
Not to be missed, you can stream Boarders right now by clicking on this link.
Here are some other excellent films made by diverse women filmmakers, available for streaming on our platform:
Each one of these titles is supplemented by exclusive interviews and Q&As between a guest host selected by Euphoria, some of the brilliant minds behind the film and the audience, who participate using a chat box on the page.
You can also watch the following films entirely directed by women online on our website:
A Girl From Mogadishu (Mary McGuckian)
T11 Incomplete (Suzanne Guacci)
Blush (Debra Eisenstadt)
Women’s Day (Dolya Gavanski)
Heavy Craving (Pei-Ju Hsieh)
Clementine (Lara Gallagher)