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Branch Brook Park Roller Rink, located in Newark, NJ, is one of the few remaining urban rinks of its kind. This concrete structure is nestled in a public park bordered by public housing and a highway. Upon first glance, the exterior resembles a fallout shelter; however, the streamers and lights of the interior are reminiscent of 1970s roller discos. This 55 minute documentary depicts a space cherished by skaters and a city struggling to move beyond its past and forge a new narrative amidst contemporary social issues.

Two main characters emerge: Bonesaw, a tough talking, tattooed member of the Garden State Roller Derby Team; and Gralen, a deeply spiritual Gospel Night skater. On the surface these two characters are different, both ideologically and in their social and racial backgrounds. The film, however, reveals a shared past of violence and drug abuse from which the rink provides a much needed refuge. In telling the story of a roller rink, the film touches on "urban renewal" in Newark, resistance and the 1967 uprising, contemporary downtown gentrification, segregation and inequalities, and the ways people play. The Rink is a tribute to the dwindling affordable spaces of diversion in American cities, places where citizens can congregate, create community, and enjoy life.


If you are interested in adding your venue to the screening list below, please contact us! Especially if you are a roller rink operator.