What was your motivation for making a film about Krumping?
The first time I saw Krumping was at a street dance camp in the Czech Republic. I was there with some friends and my dad who was there working as a dance teacher. It blew all our minds. I remember how the crowd went from wild to completely speechless. I think I had what you could say was a spiritual goosebump moment from it [haha]… Since then I’ve been dreaming of making a film about Krumping and I wanted to try to capture that feeling. Transfer those goosebumps to film. Luckily I was filming this moment which later made it into the film.
Why was it important for you to share the power Krumping has on a community beyond the dance itself?
I fell in love with the Krump community because so much value is put into releasing your emotions. The more you feel and release, the more the crowd pushes you. That’s what I love about it. It doesn’t matter at what level you dance. It’s all about pushing each other until you reach that zone where you’re connected to your feelings. I feel that with a lot of street dances that focus has been lost in an endless quest to impress one another. But on a deeper level it was the life stories behind the dancers and how the dance had helped them that fascinated me. How for instance, the movement can be a substitute for a father figure when your dad isn’t around anymore, how you get valued for expressing yourself in an environment where showing emotions is considered a weakness, how it can help raise you and keep you away from trouble. Like Miss Prissy said “Krump saves lives”.
Raised by Krump has a distinct aesthetic style, most scenes have a glow to them. It’s really visually beautiful. Why did you choose to shoot it in the particular style that it is?
A lot of the stories in Raised by Krump are really rough. I wanted to show the beauty of the struggle. How life is beautiful and it always finds a way to prevail. There’s an interesting contrast here that happens when somebody is talking about a murder, but the light and the glow is angelic and hopeful. Beauty is one of the sharpest tools we have to make people listen and connect.
What was your inspiration behind creating Ishtar x Tussilago?
Me and Ishtar were sitting at my apartment when Tussilago sent us their album. We listened to it and immediately came up with the idea to make a music video. Ishtar had shown me these epic nature photos of Norway and the curvy roads they ride downhill and we just wanted to capture that vibe of skate life there. A couple of months later we were in Norway filming it. I invested my own money to shoot it, lived in a tent for a week next to a waterfall while filming. It was an amazing experience.
Who are your biggest influences in film?
My biggest influences in filmmaking have been Spike Jonze, Hiro Murai and Khalil Joseph. They have all made some of the most iconic music videos of all time and they have all made a huge impact on me and my philosophy behind making films. My biggest inspiration that gives me energy to tackle this industry is Quincy Jones. He’s probably the person I look up to the most! When I’m an old man I wanna be like him.
Why do you think short films are important to filmmakers?
Short films are a sacred playground where you get to explore and experiment with film more freely. Less stakes and faster to make! Since it’s short, you don’t need to have the same dramaturgic build as a feature and I find that liberating. It’s my favorite format! I’ll always make them.
You can watch ‘Raised by Krump’ and ‘Ishtar x Tussilago’ on Argo now.