Extreme Sports

‘Janvar’ is the story of the huge impact of a skatepark on a small Indian village. inertia

I am feeling lucky. Sometimes, great things come through my inbox. to like January, From filmmaker Danny Schmidt, a short, beautifully filmed documentary on the huge impact skateparks have on a small village in India.

Schmidt, who lives in Salt Lake City and grew up skating, heard about the park in 2018. “I was immediately interested,” he told us. “Skateboarding was life-changing in this little faraway place. I wasn’t necessarily surprised — skateboarding changed my life even when I wasn’t much older than these kids — but I thought it was a story about The world should know.”

Janwar is a village in Madhya Pradesh, a rural state in central India where people still live a traditional Indian lifestyle, hours away – and the world for that matter – from the capital city of New Delhi. skatepark, dub Janwar Castle, was created in 2015 by Ulrike Reinhardt, 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 street children in Afghanistan.

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“I asked artists from all over the world to make us artboards[out of skate decks],” she said recently. Mashable, “And we found 19 of them, including one from Ai Weiwei, a Chinese activist and artist. We auctioned them off on eBay through Skate-Aid and raised $16,000, enough to build a skate park. An architect friend from Germany came to help us build the park. Reinhardt also worked to obtain donations for decks, trucks and equipment for young skaters.

And the effect is impossible if not spectacular. As Schmidt deftly explains in Grand Doc, the villagers revere the park with an almost confusing reverence: the old guard doesn’t really understand skateboarding, but they can see its athleticism, it keeps their kids occupied. , and that creates happiness, which we need these days more than ever.

“My only hope for audiences watching the film is to feel something positive,” says Schmidt, “to see the smiles on the faces of children and feel that infectious joy for themselves. Our world is full of stories and documentaries that are full of stories and documentaries.” Makes you feel hopeless, and I just wanted to tell a story that would offer something different, if only for 10 minutes.

Find out more about Janvar Castle and other skatepark projects at rural-changemakers.com

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