Date: Monday, April 14th
Time: 7:00PM (reception at 6:00)
Place: Nickelodeon Theatre
1. What is your connection to the South?
I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. After college, I left the south for many years, then accidentally moved back to my home town several years ago. I fell in love with the south for the first time, so now live here, trying to help improve my hometown. Namely, I’ve been trying to get a community arts center going: memphisartpark.org
2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
I’ve been a fan of dancing ever since I could walk. So I’ve always attended ballet performances, for one. Upon returning to Memphis, I came across Jookin’, the local urban street dance. I soon became obsessed attending jookin’ battles. Over time, the jookers unintentionally started to incorporate ballet moves into their dance, which led to Jookin’ being dubbed the “urban ballet.” Then I realized the connection with Memphis history. In the first half of the 20th century, Memphis changed the world with its fusion of musical cultures: blues, country, and gospel fused together to create rock ‘n roll. I thought it would be fascinating to reflect that history with today’s artists, but through dance, as well as music. I wanted to express the innovation that occurs when cultures blend.
3. How did you start making films?
I have no training or background in film. I was just inspired to express my observation above.
4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
Yeah, I started to freak out the morning of the shoot because the composer of the main track, my cousin, waited until 30 minutes after shooting began to email me the track. The entire day’s shooting (and the film) depended on the original music—since dancers obviously can’t choreograph without music. So we started with interviews, which I chose not to attend because I was too nervous waiting on the track. Besides not having the track once shooting began, I didn’t even know if it would be any good when I did get it because I hadn’t heard any samples yet. Needless to say, it all worked out. Lesson learned: don’t joke with a musician/artist by telling them that the worst case scenario for the deadline is 9am the day of the shoot. He obviously took that literally…and as just the regular deadline.
5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
Seeing other southern filmmaking and meeting southern filmmakers.
6. Why should someone see your film?
It’s inspiring seeing the two sets of dancers learning from each other and choreographing a blend of their dance styles. It’s also interesting hearing their observations, about both their differences and similarities. All in all, it provides a larger lesson for the world without being didactic, just entertaining.