We sit down with director Matt Harris to talk about his new film, ‘Rom Boys: 40 years of Rad’.
It’s one of the world’s oldest and most unique skateparks, but following a devastating fire, it’s financially on it’s knees. Meet the park’s middle age skaters, BMXers and street artists, who against all the odds, are fighting to keep the park alive for the next generation. Welcome to Britain’s Dogtown.
Shot in stunning 4K this is the first time a feature length documentary has looked at the early British skateboarding and BMX scene from the late seventies and eighties. Rom Boys features archive footage from the past 40 years and over 30 interviews with some of the worlds biggest names in skate and BMX.
GVN: Hey, congrats on the film! How long has a journey has it been on it?
Matt Harris: I’d say its been a lifetime leading up to this point but in reality this film has taken 5 years from idea through final delivery. A long and arduous five years at that.
GVN: And are you a filmmaker first and foremost? Or does something else hog your daylight hours?
Matt Harris: I’m a freelance Director of Photography working as a hired gun for TV docs, commercials and corporate shoots mostly, but I also run a small digital design agency working on branding, websites and all manner of graphics for social media and print.
GVN: Do you have to be a young skateboarder or rider to make a movie like this?
Matt Harris: Haha…I’m waaay past young. But thanks for the compliment !I don’t think a younger guy could have taken this on. I wanted to tell the story from the first generation of skaters (of which I’m in that age group so that should tell you something) through to the current day. To do that you need to have something in common and be on that same wavelength with your interviewees.
GVN: Are you releasing the film independently? Can you talk about the decision to go that route?
Matt Harris: The film is being distributed by 1091 Pictures who are probably the very best distributors out there for this type of film . I toyed with the idea of independent distribution but I think unless you have a name behind you or lots of marketing dollars to throw at it then you’re better off getting behind some guys who can put you front and center on the video store shelf.
GVN: What about a narrative feature with a fictional storyline? Ever considered one based on Rom Boys?
Matt Harris: I’d never say never and have been asked this before, it would have to be pretty out there to top the day to day craziness that goes on at the skatepark in real life ! I don’t know maybe something with an alien abduction at the park or it being the secret headquarters for the criminal underworld of east London…Hmm now there’s an idea..
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