I AM THALENTE follows Thalente Biyela, a black 17 year-old homeless skateboard prodigy in South Africa who catches the eye of the professional skate-world when a DIY video of him skating goes viral. A group of top pro-skaters and figures in the skate world, including Kenny Anderson and legend Tony Hawk, offer Thalente support and an opportunity to pursue his dream of skating and competing in the U.S, to rise about his circumstances and help him shape his own future. South African born director Natalie Johns has created a moving international portrait of teenage struggle and ambition, capturing the extreme highs and lows of success and failure – all framed by the thrilling backdrop of skate parks and competitions from South Africa to Los Angeles. Featuring a vibrant ensemble of young skaters, professional legends, and the memorable figure of teenage skater Thalente Biyela.
I AM THALENTE is the inaugural release of the new distribution wing of successful crowdfunding and streaming company Seed&Spark, who is at the cutting edge of film distribution and innovation. Seed&Spark is leveraging their success in crowdfunding to create a film distribution system that micro-targets audiences and engages communities on a grassroots level. Through their digital ecosystem and event screenings, they have created the framework for audiences to be inspired and support this skateboard doc with a conscience.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:
Filmmaker Natalie Johns was born in Zimbabwe, grew up in South Africa and established her career in London where she specialized in live entertainment television and documentary film. Johns found her passion for filmmaking through a love of music; songs put into words what Johns could not. Growing up in South Africa she was deeply affected by the disparity in the world around her. She went to film school with the desire to create images for music but was drawn to documentary by stories of journalists who were instrumental in ending the war in Vietnam and Apartheid in South Africa. She began her career capturing the live experience of music and this evolved into the desire to create experiences and connect story to audiences, raise awareness or simply help people to better understand one another. Creating moving portraits of the people she works with, Johns cares about the ‘experience’ and seeks out the humanity in every story.
RELEASE PLATFORMS / SCREENINGS:
I AM THALENTE will be released on digitally through Seed & Spark on May 13th, 2016 across digital platforms including iTunes, Time Warner, Comcast, Brighthouse, Cox, Verizon, iTunes, Amazon, Googleplay, Vudu, Sony Playstation, and Xbox. Also currently playing theatrically as event screenings in cities across the nation, including Los Angeles, Austin, Providence, Cambridge, San Diego, Minneapolis, more cities TBA shortly.