From the Streets of South Africa to California and into the heart of skateboarding
I AM THALENTE is a verité documentary about the once homeless skateboarder Thalente Biyela’s journey from the streets of Durban, South Africa, to the Los Angeles, California and into the heart of skateboarding. With the support of skate companies L-R-G and Bombshell, along with guidance from pro skateboarders Kenny Anderson, Guy Mariano, and Marc Johnson, the producers are embracing the specialist film crowdfunding platform Seed & Spark to finance the completion of this inspiring documentary.
Nineteen-year-old Thalente has been homeless since age nine. Finding refuge in the local skatepark, he was given a skateboard a year later through which he found an escape from the harsh realities of street life, and a community of friends who would become his family. As a skateboarder his natural understanding and effortless style quickly attracted attention within the industry, both locally and internationally. Last year he was given the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and the privilege to skateboard with some of the World’s best. Far more importantly, he discovered the spirit of skateboarding which is built on community, friendships and an understanding of one another, irrespective of location.
Says director Natalie Johns, “Whilst this story hinges on Thalente’s love of skateboarding, it gives insight into the challenges that homeless youths face without family, literacy, role models, or hope. Skateboarding becomes a source of strength and competence for Thalente to rise out of circumstance and make a place for himself in the world. His journey offers a unique perspective on skateboarding, the power of uncompromised acceptance, community and individuality”