Help ‘Skaterdater’ Get Respect!

Skaterdater, an Academy Award–nominated short film from skateboarding’s inaugural peak in popularity, is enjoying a resurgence — and free online screening — as the daughter of late filmmaker Noel Black rallies to nominate the 17-minute classic with the National Film Registry. Like the skateboard itself, Skaterdater’s alluring and unstable story of young love carves and crashes through landscapes precipitous and sublime, aggravating a lot of grown-ups along the way.

With a 35mm Éclair and an original surf-rock soundtrack, the Chicago-born Black made the film in 1965 as part of his UCLA graduate work. After a nod from the Academy and taking home the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or for best short, Black launched a decades-long career in film and television, which early on included the dark-comedy cult hit Pretty Poison. Black passed away in Santa Barbara last summer at the age of 77.

Carrying the torch of her father’s dying wishes, Nicole Black-Gonthier — co-owner of Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro — is reviving interest in Skaterdater through a website that showcases the film, provides biographical info on her father, and offers viewers the opportunity to add their thumbs-up to Black-Gonthier’s ultimate goal of preserving the film with the Library of Congress. Voting ends September 1.


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