Tag Archives: documentary

Bouncing Cats At Downtown Independent

Bouncing Cats q&a panel. Photo by Burns!

This week I attended a screening at the Downtown Independent for a new film by L.A. filmmaker/photographer Nabil Elderkin. The film, Bouncing Cats, has been winning awards on the festival circuit, and rightly so. It was at once entertaining, heartbreaking and inspiring.

The documentary tells the story of Abraham “Abramz” Tekya, a Ugandan b-boy who was orphaned at age 7 when both of his parents died of HIV. Abramz started Breakdance Project Uganda in 2006 in hopes of using hip-hop and dance to create positive social change in a region that has been brutalized by civil war and extreme poverty for the last 20 years. Abramz invited Crazy Legs of the Rock Steady Crew to go to Uganda, and the film follows them on a mission to  empower and inspire the youth in a country that UNICEF called “pretty much the worst place on earth to be a child.”

The film is finishing up its tour on the festival circuit, and unfortunately does not have  a distribution deal yet, though the producers tell me they are exploring different opportunities for getting Bouncing Cats to a wider audience.

Although it may be difficult to see the film in the short term, you can learn more about Breakdance Project Uganda by clicking through from the Bouncing Cats site. There you can donate to BPU and get a limited edition Bouncing Cats t-shirt, with all proceeds going to Breakdance Project Uganda. You can also join Breakdance Project Uganda on Facebook.

After the screening, there was a Q&A panel with the film’s producer and director, as well as three who were featured in the film; Abramz, Crazy Legs, and Jolly Grace Okot, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who was among the first wave of children abducted at the beginning of Uganda’s civil war and forced to be a child soldier.

Following the Q&A, I went up to the roof of the Downtown Independent, where the afterparty was in full swing. There was a hip-hop DJ, and members of the Rock Steady Crew were breaking on the roof. Cocktails were provided by Red Bull (Red Bull Media House financed the production of Bouncing Cats.) I even had an opportunity for a brief conversation with Jolly Grace Okot.

Over all, a pretty fantastic evening. An inspiring documentary, the Rock Steady Crew break dancing on the roof, I heard Andy Summers of The Police was there, and I chatted with a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Also, free cocktails. Only in L.A.

Abramz on Main, downtown L.A. Photo by Carlo Cruz.

Meet Anvil This Wednesday

I just saw Anvil! The Story of Anvil last night and I am so totally enraptured that I would gladly endure another sweltering, crowded, reeling from motion sickness car ride from Silver Lake to Westwood to see it again. I would.

In fact, I may be doing that because I just found out that Anvil will be making a live appearance at the 7:50 PM screening of the film this Wednesday at The Landmark Theater in Westwood! You can buy tickets in advance here.

For those unfamiliar, Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a documentary about the Canadian heavy metal band, Anvil. This is not one of those Spinal Tap-ish fake documentaries, these dudes are painfully real. The film is directed by Sacha Gervasi and I would tell you more about it, but it won’t be as good as you just watching the trailer, so check it out:

Anvil! The Story of Anvil is only showing at one theater in LA, Continue reading Meet Anvil This Wednesday

“We, the People” Documentary Film Festival Begins Thursday

homeWe.pngBeginning this Thursday and running through Saturday, Trade&Row is presenting “We, the People,” a documentary film festival showcasing portraits of American culture, from Thursday, October 16, 2008 to Saturday, October 18, 2008:

In the year of a presidential election, it is important to think about the magnitude of what Americans are asking one person to represent to the world. Who are we? How do we come together? What do we, the people, stand for?

Over the course of three evenings, We, the People will showcase films that go beyond generalities to inform Americans about the economic and social issues that may uplift or immobilize certain areas, and show how they can extrapolate to other parts of the country.

Three distinct venues have been selected in hopes of bringing people together to promote multiple perspectives: Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, Echo Park Film Center and Self Help Graphics. In addition, Trade&Row will facilitate dialogue and ask audience members to comment on the film or films of each evening that had the most impact.

This event looks well worth a visit as there is a ton of really intriguing stuff being shown. I’m particularly interested in night number one’s Lost Colony, described as “A short documentary following a few days in the lives of residents of Crusoe Island, North Carolina, who are known for suspicion of outsiders and subsistence living along the Waccamaw River.”

Full schedule and film synopses after the jump. Continue reading “We, the People” Documentary Film Festival Begins Thursday