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Jozi Days: An indie film documenting the city’s burgeoning skate scene

Bustling bodies move along sidewalks and through animated streets while in other parts of the city, leafy branches in quiet suburbs reach up to a picturesque sky. Mostly though, there are buildings and there is concrete and all of it is in excess. And through the lens of Jono Kyriakou, also known as Jono Kay, it becomes the stomping ground for Johannesburg’s burgeoning skaters.

Filmed in a number of locations across the city and featuring the likes of Trae Rice, T-Kay Modise, Taylor Sturgess and more, Jozi Days is the latest skate film by the Cape Town-based photographer and videographer, and it’s a cinematically stunning one at that.

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“I’m so happy to have gotten to witness this time and this period in skateboarding, and I’ve never witnessed it like this,” a disembodied voice sounds out across a cityscape. “There are kids coming out of every single part of Johannesburg who are skateboarders and who stand their own.”

First premiering last December to the skate community, Jono’s recently put the documentary-style short film out to the broader public and has hopes of it reaching international audiences. 

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“I think the space inspired the film. I knew I couldn’t do the type of project I wanted to do in Cape Town where I was living. Jo’burg had a need for it and the city itself is just so visually powerful,” explains Jono. “We filmed for four months. Editing and post was two months. People don’t realise how time consuming filming skating is. Three seconds of footage can take hours to film and most times a trick a day is good.”

Jo’burg isn’t the easiest city to skate either. Space is policed in Jo’burg, meaning to skate a spot and successfully film it often involves being chased away by private security. Then there are the bad days, the unskateable spots, the bails, Jo’burg’s dodgy characters and more, all of it captured by Jono. Besides boasting an all local set of skaters, the soundtrack makes use of some of the best producers South Africa has to offer including Buli, Big Space, Leeu and more.

Watch the film below and find more by Jono on Tumblr and Vimeo.

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All photos by Jono Kay.  

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