In 2009, Thalente Biyela, was discovered at the Indigo Skate Camp in South Africa. Unlike most youth his age, skateboarding was a way to escape his reality...being homeless with no family.
Thalente [tal-uhnt] – Zulu translation for a talent, noun
1. a special natural ability or aptitude:
2. a capacity for achievement or success; ability: young men of talent
Thalente was one of more 9000 children living on the streets homeless in South Africa. He referred to the skate park as his Buddha Temple where he could be himself and hangout with his friends. Thalente somehow was able to bond and grow a relationship with Tammy Lee Smith (who he met at 7 years old). He said that they were able to bond because she made him feel like a person and not a street kid.
As it became more and more difficult for Tammy to drop Thalente off at the skate park, she feared that his highest potential would be compromised by living on the streets.
Enter Tony Hawk (legendary skateboarder) and Colin Kennedy who set up a meeting for Thalente to meet Kenny Anderson, another legendary skateboarder with a 20-year career, all of them offering to do their best to hook Thalente up if they can get him to America.
Once in America, Thalente experiences the emotional and physical transitional differences between being a skateboarder in South Africa vs skateboarding in America. He ends up with a girlfriend for the first time in his life, a driver's license and discovers that anything is possible with endless amounts of love and support.
Director/Producer Natalie Johns must be beaming with joy because I AM THALENTE was a big winner this week at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival taking home the Audience Awards along with Lilibet Fosters BE HERE NOW.
I AM TALENT is available digitally through Seed & Spark on May 13th, 2016 via iTunes, Time Warner, Comcast, Brighthouse, Cox, Verizon, iTunes, Amazon, Googleplay, Vudu, Sony Playstation, and Xbox. The film will also play theatrically across the nation in Los Angeles, Austin, Providence, Cambridge, San Diego, Minneapolis, more cities TBA shortly.