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If you were a skateboard daredevil at the Rom, you must catch this drive-in film premiere

PUBLISHED: 12:01 09 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:25 09 October 2020

The feature film will premiere at the skatepark on October 10 - and show there for one night only. Photo: Matt Harris

The feature film will premiere at the skatepark on October 10 - and show there for one night only. Photo: Matt Harris

Matt Harris

A feature film about Rom skatepark in Hornchurch will premiere at a special drive-in at the park on Saturday.

The skatepark has been closed since September last year. Photo: Matt HarrisThe skatepark has been closed since September last year. Photo: Matt Harris

It was the world’s only full-size listed skatepark but closed in September 2019 after 41 years following a fire. The management also cited rising insurance costs and a poor attendance record as reasons for closure.

Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad documents the park’s middle age skaters, BMXers and street artists, who against all the odds, are fighting to keep to bring it back to life.

The premiere, which will be shown for one day only on Saturday, October 10, will be a drive-in cinema experience at the park in Upper Rainham Road.

Directed by Matt Harris, the film is the first time a feature length documentary has looked at the early British skateboarding and BMX scene from the late seventies and eighties.

Rom Boys won best feature documentary at Paris Surf and Skate Film Festiva in Septemberl. Picture: Matt HarrisRom Boys won best feature documentary at Paris Surf and Skate Film Festiva in Septemberl. Picture: Matt Harris

It features archive footage from the past 40 years and interviews with UK and US skate and BMX legends such as Lance Mountain, Bob Haro and Andy Ruffell and other key figures from the UK action sports and street art scene.

Matt says: “This is the first time a feature film has looked at this sub-culture from a distinctly British perspective.”

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In 2014 the skatepark was given grade II listed status. Heritage minister of the time, Ed Vaizey, said: “The Rom was built in the late 1970s. Its listing is a testament to its design and highlights how the UK’s unique heritage reflects all parts of our culture and history.”

Rom skatepark was the first skatepark in Europe to become a protected heritage site in recognition of its cultural importance. Picture: Philip Toscano/PARom skatepark was the first skatepark in Europe to become a protected heritage site in recognition of its cultural importance. Picture: Philip Toscano/PA

The Rom, which occupies 8,000 square metres, was among a rash of skateparks built as the seventies craze swept Britain, many were later demolished.

Made from seamless, pressurised concrete, the Rom is closely based on Californian skateparks.

After closing, the management’s have tried to ensure the closed park is maintained properly whilst applications are made for funds to try and reopen.

Over the summer, the team invited volunteers and come and help clean up the park and also organised a few skate sessions to contribute to reopening funds.

Rom skatepark in Hornchurch dates back to the 1970s. Picture: Philip Toscano/PARom skatepark in Hornchurch dates back to the 1970s. Picture: Philip Toscano/PA

Tickets are £35 per car, with two showings 6.30pm (sold out) and 9pm on October 10.

The film will be available on Apple TV and Amazon from October 13.

Tickets and more info: romskatepark.co.uk


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