2 comments / Posted on by Zhen Paintal

 
Still from 'Alpha Female' Wild Beasts Music Video
Alpha female is the new single released by Wild Beasts (UK Band), part of their 5th studio album, 'Boy King' through Domino Records. The film was shot in Bangalore, India. the video follows India’s first professional female skater, Atita Verghese, as well as skate collectives Girl Skate India and the Holystoked Skate Crew through the streets of Bangalore. The girls and women in “Alpha Female” are seen continually pushing themselves forward in the face of stereotypes and the male gaze throughout the video. 
Directed by Sasha Rainbow,  Sasha is a film director & creative director who moved into working with film in 2009, after working consecutively as a stylist, art director and photographer. 
Sasha overlooking Bangalore
More about Sasha, Alpha Female and the idea that got all of this together;
I'm going to jump straight to 'How did the thought of the girl skaters in India (out of all places) even come to you for this video'?
My best friend works for skateistan, and so when I heard the song I immediately thought of her and what they are doing to empower young women. They told me about what was happening in india, and I thought with all its cinematic landscapes it would be an incredible place to shoot.
What was the immediate response you got to this idea? From friends, family, crew members video stars..
What the hell. Everyone loved it, and was amazed to learn that there is a growing skate scene in india, let alone girls jumping on for the ride.
What's the message you wanted to get across though this? Beyond the female empowerment wave.
I think the media is so responsible for the messages it puts out and in the current political climate people need to be reminded that there are incredible things going on, and if we focus on building up the people who are fighting for what's right, then it will create a wave of inspiration for others to pick up a board, so to speak.
Tell us more about the journey of finding the girl skate scene here and taking things forward.
It was the hardest, yet most fulfilling job I have ever done. I had never been to india so just tackling the environment was one thing. I arrived knowing of only two girls who skated, and by the end of it we were gathering most of the girl skaters from around india to come together to be part of the video. It couldn't have happened without the holystoked crew, who supported me through the whole journey, and welcomed us all into their world with open arms. I made memories for life, plus had the best birthday party ever with them.

Sasha and DOP Alex Jamin on the back on a rickshaw filming 
The process of conceptualising the video, did it go as planned?
Ha! Nothing went as planned. I always storyboard my videos so I have a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve, but we had to throw it to the wind. For one thing, time seemed to slow down in india. At first I freaked out that we couldn't get everything done, but when I changed my mentality and went with the flow we managed to get the same amount done in 3 hours that would usually take me 8. It was a strange experience!
What's actually gone into making 'Alpha Female'? The time, crew, travel & other efforts.
This project was born about 5 months ago. I don't think there's anything I can say that would explain how hard everyone worked to make this happen. We had time constraints, money constraints, visas rejected, Indian customs to deal with...but the spirit of the video kept everyone going. I'm very proud that we persevered and pulled it off.

Night shoot with Atita at the skate bowl
The biggest challenge was?  
Functioning on 3-4 hours sleep a night and trying to keep sane.
You managed to pull together all those girls, most of them haven't met each other ever before. Knowing what that means for the scene here, how do you feel about it?
I feel so proud to be a part of this moment in time. Proud and grateful that everyone came behind the project and took the time to be a part of it. Especially 7 year old kamali. It was her first trip out of her village, where she is the only girl skater, to be in the video. Words can not describe.
Sasha and Kamili having a moment of calm after a day of filming
How was your overall experience of the country...
I had heard so many opinions of india I wasn't sure how I would feel about it, but this project took me there and I loved it. I wouldn't say it's the easiest place to work, but the people, the food (best vegetarian in the world) the colours, the music...I can't wait to go back.
...and of the skateboarding scene in India?
I just felt real love and community there. It feels like holystoked have built a community where people feel they can be themselves, express themselves without judgement, and what's interesting is to see how the locals react - they were fascinated!
Roz, Sasha, Rebecca (saree star in the video) and Alex swamped by village kids after showing them a skateboard for the first time
Anything in particular that has stuck to you after you've left India?
Yeah, I need to work on linking my mind and my body more, which is pretty hard to do in places like london. Holystoked are sending me one of their skateboards so I can start cruising, which is a good start!
What do you have planned next?
I'm working on a documentary on the subject of the skate scene in india. Each person involved in the video had a story to tell, and I think this journey wouldn't be complete without following it up with a bit of back story, so we can share how hard they've all worked to make their world come to life. I've also recently been in Ghana filming in the world's biggest electronic waste dump. Watch this space.
Walk us through your life - passions, growth & achievements.
Wow. I think it started a couple of years ago when a friend told me he couldn't see the link between the work I made (quite fashion focused) and the woman I was (quite political). That really hit me. It was then that I decided to bridge those two worlds together and I think this video is the essence of that change, so i'm feeling pretty empowered to keep focusing on the things that I think are really important, humanity and the environment (and friendships of course!)
A message from Sasha Rainbow for our readers!
"You only live once, so live proud." And a recent lesson from holystoked: don't be afraid to fall.
 
The team behind the scene after doing pooja for the shoot
The team behind the scene;
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
Channy Lowang, Rebecca George, Chandu Ram, Badri Nath
CINEMATOGRAPHY
Alexandre Jamin
PRODUCTION COMPANY
Rumble
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Fritzi Nicolaus
VFX COMPANY
YOUNGSTER
EDITING COMPANY
The Quarry
EDITOR
Flaura Atkinson, SARAH PECZEK
COLOURIST
MATTHIEU TOULLET AT MPC
DIT
PUNITH
1ST AC & FOCUS PULLER
RUDRESH BENCHALLI
2ND AC
MANI BC
PRODUCER
FELIX JUDE WEST, ROSALIND CROAD
PRODUCTION MANAGER
VENUGOPAL NAIR
Big shout out to everyone involved! Like, comment & share to boost this rad creation further! 
Images by Badri Nath!
More from Sasha on her official website & Instagram page.
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2 comments

  • Posted on by Jay Kinra

    The Girls of Skate rockin’ in India and around the world! Awesome video and article!

  • Posted on by Jill Abigail

    Who’s the proudest grandmother in the world, then???

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