The new documentary “I Am Thalente” follows the South African skater Thalente Biyela (Thalente means “talent” in Zulu) as he travels to the United States to pursue his dream of becoming a professional skateboarder. Homeless since a very young age, Thalente’s early childhood in Durban, South Africa was mired in violence, poverty, and drug addiction, but skateboarding served as a refuge from the tragedy around him, and his commitment to the sport helped make a name for himself in the Durban community. With the help of many people who took him under their wing, he soon traveled to Los Angeles to pursue a serious skateboarding career and to truly make it. Watch director Natalie Johns discuss Thalente’s story and her deep connection to the young skateboarder above.
Natalie Johns is best known for her work with musical artists, specifically with music videos, live performances, and short films. Some of these include live performances by Iron & Wine, A$AP Rocky, and Death Cab For Cutie, as well as videos for Rod Stewart and Essie Jain, and a series of four short films written and directed for the release of Morrissey’s “World Peace Is None of Your Business.” She also received an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Directing of a Variety Special for her concert film “An Evening of Nostalgia with Annie Lennox.”
“I Am Thalente” will be available to download from iTunes this Friday. It will screen in Boulder, Colorado tonight, as well as various other locations in the weeks ahead.
“I Am Thalente” is the inaugural film release of Seed&Spark. Check out the film’s page for more details.