Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Atlanta HipHop Film Festival - Preview

Courtesy of the generosity of Southern Screen Report, I now have press passes to a number of upcoming film festivals. Including, the 3rd Annual Atlanta HipHop Film Festival, to be held August 24 - 26th. I attended the media preview, which was quite welcoming! (They even catered lunch and distributed 'goodie bags! -bags containing hair products, a cd and a magazine - Hmmm...)

The preview consisted of the usual distribution of press packets and then excerpts from three films and one short subject:

"Biggie Smalls: Bigger Than Life" (dir. Peter Spirer) A documentary about Biggie Smalls, aka Notorious B.I.G. (I think.) This is was the first excerpt screened and the first hint that I am in unknown waters. Though I appreciated the style, editing and photography (which is exceptional!), I had no idea who the people on the screen were. I hope that viewing the entire thing will 'educate' me as to WHO B.I.G. is or was. (Is he still alive?)

"Stomping Grounds" (dir. Rob Schroeder) A profile of Biz Markie and "the places that made him... him." From what I saw, Biz Markie is a HOOT of a character! It also serves as something of a travelogue around Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. And though I don't know any of THESE people either, Markie is such a gregarious screen presence, I look forward to seeing the entire film!

"WU: The Story of The Wu Tang Clan" (dir. Gerald Barclay) Simply the story of The Wu Tang Clan as directed by the man responsible for their early videos. The excerpt was particularly short due to technical difficulties. (There is an online teaser available: by clicking HERE.) However, Barclay was present for a Q&A, which led to a discussion of the tradition, or actually the lack thereof, of Hip-hop. I found him to be much more literate and informative than the short excerpt we saw, but hopefully the film will be as enlightening as Barclay's Q&A. Oh, and no, I didn't have any questions, seeing as the questions being asked were flying over my head with 'historical' references to artists over the past 20 years. Yes, I know of Tupac, but I couldn't ask an intelligent question, much less comment on the influence that The Wu Tang Clan has or the legacy they have left behind.

"RITCH" (dir. Sharon Lewis) This short subject is based on "Richard Cory", a poem by Pulitzer Prize winning Edwin Arlington Robinson. The film attempts to 'perform' the poem as a music video, peopled with hip-hop artists arriving at a club. I can't say that it was a completely successful attempt, personally, as I found the language not syncing with the visuals Lewis was creating. However, by the end, I think the two media did come together for the final effect. It was just a bit of a trial getting there. For me.

There are a number of workshops and panels scheduled for the weekend also. A few of them sound very cool! However, the screening schedule is PACKED for the three days. I may pop out once in a while to catch the "New Technology" seminar (iPods and cell phones?!) or the "Tagging" demonstration (graffiti as art).

After the presentation, we were left to mingle. I was an object of some curiosity. "Who sent you?" "Pam Cole at the Southern Screen Report." "Ah! So you're into film AND hip-hop?" "Well..." This conversation ended with me at the guy's car and him giving me a couple of cds of sampling tracks from Jimmy Hendrix and the Beatles, in order to educate me and make 'the transition' to understanding what hip-hop is about.

I AM the whitest male in Atlanta.


Anonymous said...

Hey JayCBird!

Question for you...

I had been reading in the trades that P-Diddy (or what ever it is that he is calling himself this week) is helming a biopic about Notorious B.I.G. Did the one that you saw a preview for at the Atlanta Film Fete say who was producing? As far as I knew, it looked like for this version, the title role hadn't even been cast yet.

Jay, aka The Angry Little Man said...

The excerpt I saw was from a documentary about Notorious B.I.G., including home vids and interviews. Unfortunately, I did not recognize any names in the producer credits. And, even more unfortunately, the production is not listed on IMDB, yet. I haven't checked back at the AHHFF website to see if it has a catalog online and how deep it's listings go, i.e. a print source list.

We will find out more in just over a week, though! :)