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Bonita’s Fangirl Flick Picks — Encouragement, Empowerment & Skateboarding


The 92nd Academy Awards had some great moments this year: Eminem (to the delight of the head-bobbing audience) rapped his 2003 Oscar winning song Lose Yourself, Brad Pitt finally won a gold statue for acting, and history was made with Parasite — the first non-English language film to win for Best Picture.

But the moment that has stuck with me the most these past weeks is Carol Dysinger’s acceptance speech for Best Documentary (Short Subject).

Director Carol Dysinger and Producer Elena Andreicheva

The NYU Film professor spoke of enduring four decades in the film industry only through the encouragement she’d received from mentors like Frank Capra. Her impassioned speech really struck a personal chord in me both as an artist and as a woman, and I made it a point to watch Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl).

Not only was I moved by this incredible film, I was inspired.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl) is the story of Skateistan – a non-profit skateboarding school – and the young, impoverished Afghan girls who attend.

For these girls, every day is a struggle to survive both on the streets and, in some cases, in their own homes. But Skateistan offers them a new opportunity…a new dream. Through the encouragement of their families (especially their mothers), courageous teachers, and a joyful — almost infectious — pursuit of skateboarding, these girls are empowered to stand up for themselves and believe that they deserve not only a better education but a better life.

Dysinger’s exquisite direction never feels forced. Her subtle imagery brings to light a battered society looking to the future while still grappling with the past. But it’s the girls themselves, telling their own stories that makes this film a masterpiece of courage and hope.

The Girls of Skateistan

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl) is now streaming on A&E.

On a personal note, I would like to thank Helenna Santos and the Ms. In The Biz team for letting me share my fangirl love of film with their readers. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

I wish everyone much love and success in the future.

May the flicks be with you…always.


Bonita Gutierrez

About Bonita Gutierrez

Bonita found her way to the stage at the early age of five. After college, she moved to Los Angeles to get into "The Biz." Over the years, she's played many roles from actor to producer, screenwriter to filmmaker — and now novelist. Under the banner of Empyrean Press, Bonita has co-authored five books in her urban fantasy series, The Werewolf Whisperer. With a background in Jeet Kune Do Kung Fu (Bruce Lee's art), Bonita holds a black belt in Kickboxing-MMA and trains in Kali-Eskrima (stick and knife fighting). An avid runner, student of film and lover of music, Bonita is a self-proclaimed hamburger connoisseur with a passion for all things Star Wars and Buffy.