I feel lucky. Sometimes, very cool things come through my inbox. Like Janwaar, from filmmaker Danny Schmidt, a short, beautifully filmed documentary on a skatepark’s gigantic impact on a small village in India.
Schmidt, who’s based in Salt Lake City and grew up skating, heard about the park in 2018. “I was immediately intrigued,” he told us. “Skateboarding was changing lives in this tiny far-off place. I wasn’t surprised necessarily – skateboarding changed my life too when I wasn’t much older than these kids – but I did think it was a story that the world should know about.”
Janwaar is a village in Madhya Pradesh, a rural state in central India where people still live a traditional Indian lifestyle, hours away – and worlds for that matter – from the capital of New Delhi. The skatepark, dubbed Janwaar Castle, was created in 2015, in part by Ulrike Reinhard, a 54-year-old German community activist and author. She says it was inspired by the Skateistan project, a charity that created a park for Afghanistan street children.