For all you film and music lovers out there, SLED ISLAND, Calgary’s annual independent Music and Arts festival, known for it’s numerous ways to explore and discover music and art, has exciting and unconventional Film Screenings!!! The screenings held in various inner city locations like the HIFI club, where you can enjoy a cocktail and snack while you watch, or Cliff Bungalow Community Association which provides and cozy little atmosphere, or at the CSIF Old Y Courtyard. For a small Calgary art and music festival, the organization was impressive, as well as the programming of the films to the venues they were held in.
Image Courtesy of http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_FS12638
Kicking it off at the Cliff Bungalow Community association was Lost and Sound (Dryden, 2012 UK) in its Canadian Premiere in the 2012 Sled Island Festival. This film originally made its North American premiere in the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, United States this past year. Lost and Sound is a conventionally shot documentary about three individuals with a love for music or dance who have lost their hearing, partially or completely. The documentary explores the challenges they have faced to feel music. The entire film was subtitled in English, a kind of reminder about the way the film is being experienced by those who are not able to hear the audio perhaps. Lost and Sound was very heart warming and touching film. It emphasizes what most of us with developed hearing take for granted most days, that emotion, memory, language and vision are all connected and part of music.
Later on, screening at the HIFI club, was the film Uprising: Hip Hop and the LA Riots (Ford, 2012 USA). This was the Alberta Premiere of this film, a documentary done by VH1 rockDocs, narrated by none other than Snoop Dog. This film comes out 20 years after the LA riots erupted in the wake of the verdict in the Rodney King beating, to show how the worst civil unrest of the 20th Century actually brought unity to the Hip Hop community in Los Angeles, and to the city as a whole. The film opened with Rodney King walking the cameras through the physical location of his beating. This film contained so much found footage from the actual beating of Rodney King (which went viral on news networks nationally) and news footage from the LA Riots. The documentary style was somewhat Errol Morris-ish in that the interviewer would ask the isolated subject who had participated in the riots a question and waited for their response, a response that was somewhat unexpected at times. The gruesome images in found footage used in this documentary were accompanied by N.W.A.‘s 1988 hit, “Fuck Tha Police,” a very controversial song because police thought it encouraged violence toward law enforcement officials. This documentary skims the surface of the MTV youth culture in the hip hop movement that had been at its peak in the late 1980′s with films like Do The Right Thing (Lee, 1989 USA) where police brutality on African Americans was illustrated, as well and the deep rooted racial tensions between the Korean-Americans and African-Americans. When the home video of the Rodney King beating went viral on news networks, then the verdict of the police officers involved resulted in not guilty, the tensions boiled over to the eruption of rioting. It was the first time that this issue of police brutality had evidentially been exposed at a national level, and gave film makers like Spike Lee major credit for trying to expose the issue sooner. All of a sudden, the representational material in Lee’s film, became real with the airing of this home video footage being so widely exposed. Uprising: Hip Hop and the LA Riots carried very heavy content, but was able to still be very entertaining, especially considering most of the hop hop stars twenty years later, are known for their family driven “reality” shows or actors in family movies. The message was clear, music unites, violence breeds violence. R.I.P. Rodney King (1965-2012)
Image Courtesy of http://www.twirlit.com/2012/06/18/rodney-king-dies-at-47/
Photo Courtesy of http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/06/17/rodney-king-dead/