Tonight (9th September) is a special evening for film maker Katsuya Nonaka. ‘Future Is Primitive’ officially receives it’s UK and European premiere tonight and what better way to launch Katsuya’s debut documentary, than at the House of VANS in London! In ‘Future Is Primitive’, Nonaka talks to leading skaters from all around the world, as well as Japanese and non-Japanese players of the traditional bamboo flute, the shakuhachi.

Although these are two seemingly very different activities, both are now encountering changing status and a rise in popularity. A new version of the shakuhachi is being manufactured which is easier to play alongside Western orchestral instruments and skateboarding has just been confirmed as being a recognised sport in 2020’s Tokyo Olympics.

This would be my first visit to House of VANS and I was already impressed that London had such a fantastic skate park…and it’s FREE! The venue itself is not only a celebration of skateboarding but also boasts it’s own live music venue, art displays, street culture and events such as tonight titled ‘Skate Fry Days’. This includes a small portion of fried chicken, a drink and fries for free as well as the chance to win cash in return for performing awesome tricks!

After taking in the incredible facilities, I took my seat in Tunnel Two’s screening room and what was clear before the documentary began was the real sense of community that the House Of VANS has helped to create since opening in 2014. Skaters swap their latest trick stories and generally just catch up with friends they haven’t seen in a while before Brixton’s Baddest store owner Daphne introduces both Katsuya Nonaka & ‘Future Is Primitive’ to an intriguing audience.

‘Future Is Primitive’s content might sound a million miles apart, comparing skateboarding and the shakuhachi but as the 50 minute documentary unfolds, you can actually see a number of similarities between the two. “Skateboarding is freedom..” as Pro Skater Ryan Scheckler explains, as all skaters have their own individual style and interpretation to skateboarding, the same can be said about shakuhachi musicians. It’s not a case that everyone plays the instrument in the same format, you can express many different moods and sounds with the shakuhachi.


Film maker Katsuya Nonaka & his shakuhachi at House of VANS, London.

‘Future Is Primitive’ challenges it’s audience throughout it’s 50 minute running time, confronting and educating any preconceptions of either of the documentaries two main topics. Japanese skater Katsumi Minami expresses his concerns of skateboarding being introduced into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. His fear is echoed by film maker Nonaka, that many large brands may take advantage of this latest addition to the Olympics and try to control the skate industry moving forwards. As Katsumi explains,  this is the role of the skaters to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Nonaka’s debut documentary raises a number of important questions throughout and will leave you questioning what the future will hold for skateboarding and the shakuhachi. Let’s hope the roots ‘Future Is Primitive’ plants continue to thrive and flourish over years to come!

Catch ‘Future Is Primitive’ at the DOOMED GALLERY (65/67 Ridley Road, Dalston, E8 2NP), Tuesday 13th September from 7pm. The event is FREE ENTRY and includes a Directors Q+A!