On the eve of Chicago’s 300th shooting death this year thus far, Ryan Furgeson’s Skate or Die documentary seems all the more timely. The documentary follows Leo, a young man from Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, as he uses skateboarding to escape the gangs and violence that have been a pervasive part of his neighborhood and family.
Furgeson has shot over 100 hours of footage, focusing on the story of Leo, the rise of inner city skateboarding and the stray bullet that might end his skateboarding days. By providing a substitute for the community of gangs, the documentary shows how the sport also allows at-risk teens to express themselves and ride past the gang boundaries that create a barrier for many of their peers.
After four years of filming and more than 100 hours of footage, Ryan is seeking a final push of support to edit the film down to a feature length. With less than a three days to go, the fundraiser still has about $6,000 to go to hit their $35,000 goal. He’s already seen huge support from pro-skater Tony Hawk as well as the Chicago artistic community. Local coffee roaster, Metropolis has partnered to develop a Skate or Die blend and Jay Ryan has designed an 18×24 print, both of which are being offered as Kickstarter rewards. Best of luck, Ryan!