I didn't dare to speak

Directed by
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A teenage skateboarder in Rotterdam muses on friendship and belonging.

Filmmaker Aileen Ye was born in Dublin with a multicultural Chinese background, but she is currently based in the Netherlands, and this film is a response to her surroundings through a documentary-style lens of a coming-of-age film. Shot in Rotterdam, this film specifically focuses on the global rise of young girls using skateboarding as a way to find and control their own autonomy, despite the male-dominated environment.  

Amid the landscape of skateboarders, friendship, and youthful rebellion, I DIDN’T DARE TO SPEAK highlights the adversities of growing up. Do we seek friendship to distract us or through common interests can we feel like we belong? What does a friend mean to anyone?

Shot on 16mm, this poetic film celebrates loneliness as one of the most fulfilling parts of growing up, because without it, it asks, how can we truly understand ourselves?

Aileen Ye 'This was my first short film and learning how to direct and be hands-on was quite intense especially since I also had a very low budget. But I found that the constraints really pushed me more, and it was very exhilarating to shoot on 16mm and have no idea how it could turn out. Everything and everyone moulded together beautifully.'


Story, editing, DOP, director, writer: Aileen Ye @aileen.28

Co-writer: Ambereen Haider @diphylleia_x

Music: Howie Lee


Anwaar @anwaar_010

Julia @_juultjee___

Lotte @chefspeciaal

Negara @negaraf

Christina @christinastns._

Special thanks:

Bernardo Zanotta

Nia Konstantinova

Nieuwe Vide @nieuwevide