SKATEBOARDING'S PROGRESSION HAS often been inspired by film. Stacy Peralta's legendary Bones Brigade videos of the eighties taught skaters a new bag of street tricks after liability concerns had closed skate parks and nearly killed the sport. In the nineties, footage of Tony Hawk's 900 and other tricksters' dicey aerial stunts at X Games halfpipe competitions propelled skateboarding to the leading edge of the action-sports scene. The next step may have come this past February with the release of Getting Nowhere Faster, a groundbreaking film by and about the only skaters who can still claim rebel status: women.
The 45-minute DVD laces jaw-dropping action segments of top pro skaters like Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins and Vanessa Torres with animated interludes and a bizarre plot involving a villainous doll and cowboy. It was put together by Villa Villa Cola, a four-woman production company looking to roll femme skating into the limelight. Founded by 29-year-old San Diego twins Tiffany and Nicole Morgan in 1996, the grassroots operationthe name is a play on Pippi Longstocking's home, Villa Villekullastarted by distributing grainy videos and homemade magazines on cross-country road trips, making few inroads into the male-dominated skate industry. After dissolving for several years, VVC reunited in late 2003 to make Getting Nowhere Faster, scoring a breakthrough distribution deal with action-sport-film giant Studio411. "We just decided we were going to make it happen," says Villa Villa Cola graphic artist Lori Damiano, 26, who, along with 29-year-old camerawoman Lisa Whitaker, rounds out the crew. "It came together so easily it was spooky."
The film won't erase skateboarding's gender gap overnight. Women make up just 15 percent of recreational skaters (compared with 30 percent of snowboarders), according to sports-research firm Board-Trac, and their pro-event purses are often a fourth of what the men get. Still, Getting Nowhere Faster could launch the sport's next revolution. "They've put a new face on girls' skateboarding," says top pro Bob Burnquist, 28. "And it's not just cute girls with boards. They're skaters."