GLENS FALLS – After securing numerous awards on the international film circuit, Spa City director and photographer Charlie Samuels will see the debut local screening of his feature documentary film, “Virgin Blacktop: A New York Skate Odyssey,” at the Adirondack Film Festival on Oct. 19.
An uplifting story shot over four decades, “Virgin Blacktop” tells the story of the lives of a disparate crew of kids from Hudson River towns who had almost nothing in common when they met in the 1970s. The film uses the vehicle of skateboarding to tell the story which will make its world debut as an official sport in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Samuels – whose photography has appeared in the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, Vogue and The New York Times, among others - directed the film. He was also the spokesperson for over 3,000 skateboarders who lobbied the city of Saratoga Springs to re-open “The Bowl” on Lake Avenue eight years ago.
“Virgin Blacktop: A New York Skate Odyssey" premiered at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival in California in 2018. The uplifting and sometimes heart-breaking coming-of-age story is about a super funky crew of suburban New York City kids who first met in 1977 with nothing in common except a passion for skateboarding. Despite their vastly different ages, races and economic backgrounds and with their parents hands off approach, they formed a competitive, traveling team of spirited outsiders called the “Wizards.” Now, nearly 40 years later, they remain lifelong friends, but their lives have followed very different paths, from boardrooms to jail cells.
The 83-minute documentary feature film screens locally at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 at The Wood Theatre, Adirondack Film Festival, 50 Elm St., Glens Falls. A Q & A session will follow. For more information, go to: adkfilmfestival.org, or call 518-798-7479.