Thu. May 26th, 2022

Local filmmakers share the stories of three women whose lives intersect in Ottawa skate parks through a recently released Ottawa documentary, filmed and produced during the pandemic.

I am: Unlimited is an hour-long documentary that follows three colorful women who carve space for themselves and others in Ottawa’s skate parks.

The lives of skateboarders and roller skaters cross here, where they find common ground: joy on wheels. It was produced by Firegrove Studio, a collaboration between Ottawa filmmakers Mailyne Briggs, Hingman Leung and Adrienne Row – Smith.

“Viewing a park for the first time when you are not like everyone else, you are on a different set of wheels than everyone else – it’s scary,” said Armonía Joachim, a South Asian roller skater, in the film.

“You enter a space dominated by people who are not like you.”

Adrienne Row – Smith, on the right, looks into the camera during the filming while skateboarders run in the background. (Firegrove Studio)

Briggs said the film shows how three “very different individuals” gather in the same place and use sports as a way to be part of a community, but also to navigate their identity and mental health.

“They all have different lives, they’re all different ages and on different career paths,” said Briggs, director of photography and sound design.

It can be scary for women at times, as skate parks have generally been a place for white, cisgendered men, she explained.

“We’re still navigating how inviting the skate park is to different people … It really depends on what wheels you’re on and who you are and what you look like,” said Briggs, who is also a skateboarder.

The film was produced by Firegrove Studio, a collaboration between Ottawa filmmakers Mailyne K. Briggs, Hingman Leung and Adrienne Row – Smith. Briggs, right, is filming one of the women in the movie. (Adrienne Row-Smith)

The pandemic did not stop the team, says the filmmaker

“Last [October] during the pandemic, we started meeting and planned the documentary almost practically, “said Adrienne Row – Smith, the camera operator and music director.

“Realistically, it shows ingenuity and creativity despite all the events in the world … I am very proud of our team and what we were able to achieve in a very short time.”

As colorful women, Leung explained the deeper meaning of the term they chose to describe the documentary.

“[The word] boundless really represents what we are trying to show and what we are trying to celebrate. These women have not only done so much for themselves, but for society, “said Leung, producer and director of the film.

“They have opened the door for others to get through.”

Director and producer Hingman Leung, second from the right, is seen working behind the scenes during the filming. (Firegrove Studio)

Leung said she has been very inspired to interview the women who keep popping up in the skate park.

“For me as a person coming into this community relatively new, it’s so encouraging that this community exists – that I do not have to feel afraid to enter.”

The documentary aired as part of CBC’s absolutely Canadian series on October 2, and you can watch it on CBC Save.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.