Crystal Moselle & the Skate Kitchen
Photographer Beth Garrabrant spent Halloween with the filmmaker and her latest subjects—an all-girl skate crew
By Jaclyn Bethany
Watch Crystal Moselle’s work and you’ll be spellbound, to say the least. Moselle is best known for her award-winning documentary, The Wolfpack, which chronicles the lives of the Angulo brothers, who grew up confined to the inside of their Manhattan apartment and learned about life through watching and re-enacting Quentin Tarantino films. Yet while she first gained attention for the documentary, Moselle prefers not to label herself as a documentary filmmaker—she simply wants to be known as a storyteller.
Eager to see her storytelling skills at work, Miu Miu tapped Moselle last year to direct the 12th installment in their Women’s Tales series. For the short, titled That One Day, Moselle presents a snapshot of the lives of all-girl New York crew The Skate Kitchen, whose members she discovered on the subway.
In addition to working on a script that’s in development at the Sundance’s Screenwriters Lab. Moselle is currently developing a feature film with the girls, based on their own experiences. “It’s sort of an extension of the short—a timeless story, but also relatable to now,” Moselle explains. “These people [my subjects] inspire me to completely embed myself in my work.” The focus on the all-female skate crew proves particularly interesting for Moselle, as “Females are a minority in the skate world—it’s cliquey and male-dominated.” Might this subject matter also serve to unintentionally parallel the often male-dominated world of directing? Moselle says such comparisons do not even enter her brain: “I have always thought for myself. I am a filmmaker and this is what I want to do,” she says. “I want to break rules, change things, and do things my way. I don’t associate myself with rules.” She admires Miu Miu because “They are giving women the opportunity to create work that’s really original and letting the filmmaker do what they want to do.”
Feeling inspired by our conversation, I asked Moselle to share some of her favorite art of the moment:
Feature Film(s): Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins and All These Sleepless Nights (“A hybrid documentary which won Sundance this past year”) directed by Michal Marczak.
Currently reading: Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés (“Mystical stories about what it means to be a woman”).
Filmmakers: Agnes Varda (“She breaks all the rules.”) and Alena Horrell, a documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles.
Female artists: I really love India Menuez, an artist/actress based in New York, along with my music collaborator, Aska Matsumiya. ★