Every once in a while, a film is born out of the action sports lifestyle that actually says something. Or maybe it’s the people born out of the action sports lifestyle that actually say something (finally)?
Either way, that’s where we find ourselves with, BRUJAS, from director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, a web documentary that says a whole lot, really quickly.
BRUJAS is an all-female crew from New York City. A self-described “feminist skate gang,” they’ve received a fair bit of press from mainstream pubs like GQ, Vogue and the New York Times, thanks to several viral social media posts. The name BRUJAS, or “witches,” has Spanish roots but is derived from the cult film, Skate Witches, a 1986 flick featuring female skateboarders. The BRUJAS crew, it seems, is known as much now in the New York boroughs for their social awareness as their skating. “Miles came to us with the idea and we’re always psyched on an empowering story,” Lindsey Hagen, executive producer for Stept Studios out of El Segundo, Calif. told The Inertia. “Miles is Brooklyn-based, and his girlfriend is embedded in the female skate scene and knew Arianna Gil, one of the founders.”
The crew sets its sights on racial equality, women’s issues like sexual awareness and exploitation and other problems facing urban female youth, many of which are broad and far-reaching. But you have to start somewhere. “(BRUJAS) has brought about a rebellious spirit to create and produce spaces that are resistant,” Gil says in the film. “Just by getting together, everybody has grown so much becuase those experiences create actual support and people need that.”
While the film’s subjects are often anything but focused on one major issue–in one scene, the crew talks about being priced out of New York neighborhoods as “urban renewal” raises real estate values, in another, drugs and menstral cycles–the message is there: come together. Talk about issues. Try to find real-world solutions in a non-violent way. According to the film, BRUJAS organizes community workshops, events at local art museums and youth outreach.
The film, sponsored by Red Bull, is a step outside the box for the typically apolitical flicks often backed by the sports drink. “I think Red Bull supports the positive act of getting out and skateboarding, whatever your political stance or background is,” Hagen says. “They’re excited about the community that skateboarding brings together.”
BRUJAS, the film, certainly profiles a unique community in all its earnestness as it tries to affect the world in a postive way. And we could always use more of that.