Funding for Natalie John’s film, “I Am Thalente” was raised using Seed and Spark. The film is now available for digital download. Famed South African skateboarder, Thalente Biyela, spent eight years sleeping on the ground in a concrete North Beach Park in Durban, South Africa with his skateboard for a pillow until he was noticed by filmmaker, Natalie Johns.
His mother died when he was very young and he tells us he ran away to escape an abusive stepfather who used him to sell drugs. “Skating makes me deal with my problems, like, I just put it on the board,” Thalente says in a video from 2012. “I don’t know if it is going to last, or if I’m going to last,” he reflects in an interview. Thalente soon became the “mayor” of that skatepark in Durban, attracting international attention to others, who began posting videos on YouTube such as this one from TheMightyAlexander.
Fade out and fade back in, the power of multi-media has come to the rescue and helped raise money to bring him to the United States where he can pursue his skateboarding.
Filmmaker Natalie Johns‘ “I Am Thalente,” chronicles Thalente’s world as he travels to the United States to pursue his dreams. John’s says she was compelled to make the film to help Thalente find a better life.
Initial funding for the film was raised using Seed and Spark.
The inspirational work, which won Best Documentary at the LA Film Festival in 2015, is available for digital download on iTunes here.