Private Project

Mad Smooth

Building developers have forced the closure of roller-rinks across London, edging out large swathes of the city’s skate community. Inspired by real events, this short dance film depicts a group of roller-skaters as they take to the floors of an empty shopping complex. Combining balletic choreography with an eclectic soundtrack of contemporary Disco, Jazz, and Jungle, this film crafts a vibrant elegy to inner-city public space whilst highlighting the need to protect access for creative communities.

  • Bea Cartwright
  • Laura Shacham
  • Tinuke O'Yediran
    Key Cast
  • Niall Stacey
    Key Cast
  • Sapphire Eli'yas
    Key Cast
  • Elianor Oudjedi
  • Giacomo La Monaca
    Director of Photography
  • Jerzy Gudjonsson
  • Kirstie Howell
    Sound Recordist
  • Lorraine Roberts
  • Felicia Brown
    Head of Costume & Make-Up
  • Music Supervisor
    Polly Murdoch
  • Ayo Alli
    Supporting Artist
  • Amelia Cartwright
    Supporting Artist
  • Adam Boulkroune
    Supporting Artist
  • Flo Cartwright
    Supporting Artist
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Student, Other
  • Genres:
    Dance, Experimental, Drama, Fiction, Art Film, Student, First-time Director
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University
Distribution Information
  • BBC New Creatives
Director Biography - Bea Cartwright

Bea Cartwright is an art historian and filmmaker. She is currently writing a PhD in contemporary art theory at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, whilst directing her first short film ‘Mad Smooth’. Bea is commissioned by BBC Arts and Arts Council England, with support from SheMakes Productions and Screen South. Bea’s filmmaking is driven by narrative threads of real events, brought to life on-screen through research and artistic response. She enjoys working with female-led teams across art film and documentary.

Instagram: @beatcartwright, Twitter: @beatcartwright

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Despite being a first-time director, I was incredibly ambitious with the creative scope of Mad Smooth. I was lucky to have been mentored by a talented team at She Makes Productions and Screen South, who allowed me to be uncompromising in my vision. I'm so grateful for the crew's resilience and positivity, which allowed us to bring this dynamic project to life during a tough year for the film industry.

The concept for Mad Smooth was inspired by a real community of roller dancers who practice on the smooth floors of the 1970s era Stratford Shopping Centre at night. The mall’s thoroughfare is a public highway and must stay open 24/7. So when the shops close, this mesmerising group of skaters take to the floors to practice their craft. When I discovered this incredible nightly occurrence I quickly realised it was a salient marker of gentrification in London; property developers have closed many of the city's roller rinks to make way for lucrative blocks of luxury apartments. As a result, these skaters have become ever more creative in their use of inner-city space, and I wanted this film to act as a testament to the resilience of these artistic communities.

My aim for the script was to depict this phenomena through fiction, by following a roller skater as she builds relationships with other skaters using movement. I was keen to incorporate a rich mixture of contemporary dance styles, as well as the eclectic types of music these skaters freestyle to in real life - everything from contemporary Jazz, to Disco and Jungle. It was important that the film emphasised the sense of warmth that these skaters bring to an otherwise empty and lifeless commercial space. By incorporating dream-like moments of flash forward the film calls attention to the fragile existence of these inner-city dance ecologies. Above all, my aim for Mad Smooth was to highlight the need to protect access to space for creative communities under threat.