“ ‘Kids‘ brought that skateboarding subculture into pop culture. ‘Kids’ made Supreme pop, because skating in New York was a far cry from cool before the film came out,” Hamilton Harris remembers in an interview with Vice. Harris was the young man who taught uninitiated viewers how to roll a blunt in Harmony Korine‘s controversial breakout film. While Korine’s drama provided a snapshot of a particular time and place, Harris’ upcoming documentary “The Kids” aims to tell the true story of first time actors and bystanders from the movie.
Harris says he first got the idea for the documentary following Harold Hunter’s death in 2006, and he’s been slowly compiling interviews with key “Kids” participants, including Chloë Sevigny and director Larry Clark.
“After the movie happened, people who weren’t in it —but who were a part of the group— had gripes with this intrusion into our lives and people making money off it, while we’re still struggling, starving, and finding our way through life, alone. That’s not to say [the filmmakers] did us wrong on that, because those of us who were in the movie chose to be. But there was a lot of dysfunction both prior to and after the film’s release—people going from being in this little subculture, dealing with these complex situations in a sleepless city, to being a part of this new pop culture, with all that dysfunction and trauma squared,” he explained. “It’s still a very sensitive topic—there’s a lot of resentment. So this documentary is quite a responsibility on me, you know what I mean? I had to do a lot of reflecting on myself first to get to the point of even doing this interview, 20 years later.”
Harris wants to remind filmgoers that skate culture united kids of every background only by happenstance, and that the kids in question were not prepared for their culture to be rocketed into the mainstream. “Growing up in housing projects where only black, Puerto Rican, or possibly poor white families lived, it wasn’t hip to ride a skateboard. And within our group of dudes—white dudes, Spanish dudes, Indian dudes, Chinese dudes, Albanian, Muslim, Christian, atheist, alcoholic, whatever—skateboarding was a gateway to bringing people together.”
No word yet on when “The Kids” might be released, or if Korine himself will add his voice to story of the movie that launched his career. Here’s a clip from Kids, Harris’ bid for celluloid immortality.