CCTv had a prosperous & exciting year, from filming an ESPN documentary, to a sleuth of music videos & lifestyle vignettes, to join forces with the pioneering brand Ecko. we had a little bit of everything jumping off! Director Coodie, walks us through a flashback journey on what we cooked up in 2012! Peace –
As signs of spring approached NYC, Lila set out with Coodie to take in the sights and sounds of a particularly crisp spring afternoon. Having been perceived as an ‘outsider’ in her native Japan, Lila has honed a sensitive perspective on the world and the people around her.
Since moving to NYC, Lila’s curated a strong circle of Japanese friends/NYC residents. Lila met up with her friend Sakiko to exchange stories of NYC nightlife, gentleman callers, and how Lila’s environment shaped her vision at different stages of her life. Then she jogged over to Prohibit to check out another acquaintance, Shin. As they went back and forth in their native tongue, their appetites for some Japanese comfort food were irreversibly whetted, leading them to one of their favorite Japanese restaurants to cap off the evening.
In Apartheid times, male hostels were created to house workers from out of town that were not allowed to live inside the city. I seem to recall Sabelo saying that they were exclusively male in order to make sure entire families of rural black South Africans would not move in. They were meant to be transitory flophouses, where men would stay only for the duration of their work.
I don’t know why these structures survived 1994, the end of Apartheid. I don’t know why the revolution that aimed to smash down racial barriers didn’t also dismantle these edifices of gender barriers. Nowadays, not many outsiders venture inside their walls. But deep inside, where most think only scavengers live, Sabelo Mlangeni found a rare beauty: a fraternal order amongst Johannesburg’s infinite supply of outsiders.
-Federico, FUMF Director
EVOLUTION OF A LIVINGROOM
Caits, the producer of the Livingroom Sessions, dropped off a little backstory on Creative Control’s newest show.
“Before The Livingroom Sessions was revived into what is it today, it was a silly little video series I did off of my macbook laptop. I was truthfully just very excited to have an actual living room, after living for three years in a space that had a hallway in lieu of couches. Typical broke artist fare. But finally! I didn’t have to host my guests on my bed any longer! So, it was my excuse to get my very talented friends into my house, always “filmed” in the same setting and far more goofy than what we’re doing now. I stopped making these little videos because they were… tiresome. I wasn’t really a filmmaker and what was the point? Except people kept asking for them. I quickly realized there really was some magical thread buried in the series that truly connected with folks.
I gathered the brilliant Cinematographer and Editor Tafadzwa Michael Chiriga to be on my two-person team. Together we decided that The Livingroom Sessions should reflect the heart of the old macbook experiment, while evolving into a short film series with a bit more substance. We started with what we didn’t want: no shots of sneakers, no name drops, no interviews, nothing that typically spells “cool” in the world today. We wanted to show what we believe are the one day “classics” of the current Brooklyn creative underground, from the best standpoint we could think of: through our friendships. These relationships gave an entry point into a more authentic experience on film. A genuine exchange (that we edit into what you see), a sharing of exclusive new material, and a sacred glimpse into the most intimate setting an artist can reveal: their home. We hoped the artists would forget there was a camera in their face, but we know this is hard. Essentially, we were looking to make something different. Something that might ask you to look twice, or put down your phone while you watch. Something that required a measure of patience that most of us have forgotten how to employ. Something that might stir your heart a little.
Creative Control saw our vision and agreed to host us on their site (thanks guys!) We think we are getting pretty close to our goal. Hopefully you’ll feel good after watching our loved ones. We think they’re pretty amazing, too.”
A DAY IN ALEXANDRA
In January 2011, we spent a day with Graeme Williams to make a short film about his life and work as a photographer. We’d already been shooting other photographers in Johannesburg, and were looking to film each of them in a space that was somehow relevant to them and their practice. We decided to meet Graeme in the township of Alexandra.
As a photographer, the essence of Graeme’s work has changed in tandem with the social and political changes of South Africa. Formerly a full-fledged Reuters war photographer, Graeme was pushed at the end of Apartheid to seek out truths deeper and more subtle than those portrayed in the shocking imagery of his earlier work. He had to come to terms with the idea of “documenting truth,” and invading peoples’ spaces to distill that one perfect photograph.
Our day was not easy, as Alexandra is not exactly the safest neighbourhood in the world. As we debarked from the van and ventured into the township, Graeme was scrupulous in his way of dealing with the streets, almost as if he was both walking through a minefield and tiptoeing through a precious rose garden. We were constantly reminded not too stray too far from the pack, and were always on the move. The moment Graeme’s instincts felt that things were getting a bit hairy, we would pack up, get in the van and move to a different location.
Somehow, things also weren’t all that grim. I don’t know if it was that blissful detachment that comes with glueing your eyes to the viewfiender of the HD camera, or if it was just plain stupidity, but I never felt at risk, or even uncomfortable. Passers-by were quite friendly, and in almost every occasion willing to be filmed for a short while. Perhaps by now they were used to having film crews coming by and admiring their lives.
After a long morning of moving around the township, we settled down by the river to have a chat. I think by this point, we had proved to Graeme that we were not assholes and that we were filming somewhat carefully, with respect. At this point he relaxed a bit, opened up and let us in. His story proved to be every bit as fascinating as the township we were visitors in.
NESBY PHIPS CHEMTRAILS
The beat for “Chemtrails” was originally supposed to score Nesby’s “Bo Jacksons,” track. But after making what turned out to be the “Bo Jacksons,” beat, Phips realized that the soulful, melancholy vocal sample was better suited to a concept he had authored to play off the chemtrail conspiracy theory.
The chemtrail conspiracy theory claims that trails left by government aircrafts contain chemical or biological agents that target communities where higher-ups seek to influence population and climate control, violence stimulation, respiratory disease, and other health problems. While the theory hasn’t been scientifically proven, it has received a degree of governmental recognition; in 2001, chemtrails were referenced by US Congressman Dennis Kucinich in a bid to introduce legislation that would ban space-based weapons. Chemtrails were ultimately exempted from the verbage of the bill (which would never pass the House), but supporters of the theory nonetheless counted this as a significant victory on their behalf.
Phips crafted a metaphor intertwining the Chemtrail theory with his JETS crew affiliation, since Chemtrails are emitted from jet planes. Trademark’s Supervillain alias made sense for a feature on the track’s smooth, melancholy hook. Eager to start the project, Nesby decided to direct and film the video himself, all on his iPhone. Using the 8mm lens setting, Phips filmed for two months in New Orleans, and on a solo tour that shuttled him between Atlanta, Virginia, Detroit and LA. He always sat by the wing of the plane to catch footage of the propeller and its potentially harmful offshoot. As lames caught feelings, Phips excitedly caught the climax of the video on a flight from Atlanta to Detroit, when he peeped a jet flying uncomfortably close above the plane he was on. It seems like there really are JETS over everything.
JUST IN TIME
Several months back, Coodie and Chike flew down to Dallas to film a video for Erykah Badu’s “Turn Me Away (Get Munny)” with Rick Ross. Motown-Universal had supposedly lined up a budget for Coodie and Chike to shoot the video, but a few hours after they touched down in Dallas, Erykah got word that her label had reneged on the budget munny. For good reason, they might have been biting their nails about going over budget and stirring up controversy. The last time Erykah collaborated with the notorious directorial duo, Window Seat’s racy climax incurred a $500 class C misdemeanor and a healthy dose of attention from “news outlets” like Fox News.
But time spent might as well be spent well, so the guys decided to kick around Dallas for a couple days to put some visuals to Erykah’s “Window Seat Remix” with Rick. The first day, she caught the guys up on a concept for the video. The Bawse was to scoop Ms. Badu at the Grassy Knoll in Dallas, and peel off into a sunny day of window seat riding, rapping and singing. The guys met up with Ross early in the day to wait on Ms. Badu’s call, while she was getting her hair done. They rolled, and rolled, and rolled around Dallas in Ross’ 2010 Porsche Panamera, tightly pursued by a cloud of Swisher smoke.
Erykah’s a busy lady. As the sun set, they had to scrap the Grassy Knoll concept, since the “Window Seat” video ended in broad daylight. Ross spotted a liquor store, and they debarked for a quick performance shot. But across the street, Coodie spotted a storefront bail bondsman; the video concept started to coalesce. Ross would bail Erykah out, and pick her up at the bondsman’s for a spin around her native Dallas streets. Badu called to see where they were, and the idea came to fruition; Rick picked her up, and the duo lounged back in their respective window seats, exchanging song and verse deep into the morning hours.
The next day, Erykah rented out a local theater to shoot an offbeat concept for her “Out My Mind Just In Time” video. She wanted to perform a lyric-less interpretive dance of the ballad. Coodie and Chike set up a soft, yet focused Fresnel spotlight scheme to capture her theatrical performance of the soul-drenched ballad. Erykah pranced, gyrated, and slithered across the stage, and Act 1 was born.
The purpose of this event was to show our gratitude towards the country that has supported global urban/street culture more than any other. Far in distance, but close in our minds and hearts, Japan’s creative culture has influenced and shaped the entire world’s sense of fashion, music, film, food, design and art. Japan has given us so much. It’s time to give back.
Today, we’re offering a sneak peek of the Livingroom Sessions, coming soon to Creative Control. http://bit.ly/m5s7Po
From director Caits Meissner:
Writer, performer and designer Caits Meissner puts on her producer hat to bring you unmasked, experiential glimpses into the lives of underground artists, and the settings in which they create. The Livingroom Sessions episodes seek to capture genuine, unscripted moments that celebrate the humanity and spirit of artists, and reveal ways in which private space influences creative process.
A few weeks ago, on one of the first comfortably crisp New York spring days, Lila Anton and her parents (Karen and William) ventured uptown with Coodie to the neighborhood where her mother grew up for this episode of Raizin’ in the Sun. An afternoon of cooking, chatting with friends old and new, and Jill Scott led to engaging discussions on the family’s experience living in Japan, and a retrospective look at the coalescence of race, culture, and love.
The circumstance of the move to Japan, and the nature of the journey itself give you a sense of this eclectic family. While working as a macrobiotic cook in Boston, William was invited to travel to Japan with Karen to further his study in macrobiotic cooking, martial arts and oriental medicine. The duo drove overland to Japan over the course of a year, visiting some 25 countries, including Pakistan, Thailand, Afghanistan, Nepal and India in the process.
The fact that William was White and Karen was African-American didn’t make the couple outsiders in the Japanese farming community they called home. Despite a few questions about the implications of their children being biracial, their love was strong enough to be seen for what it was. And while Lila encountered some pressing questions about her upbringing, race and appearance from her peers, they ultimately recognized their underlying similarities.
Anton’s story is one of fusing races, languages, and customs throughout the realms of work, family, and friends. The result is a sense of personal enrichment, founded on the appreciation of a host of unique backgrounds. In a nation as culturally, racially, and spiritually fragmented as ours, couldn’t we all use a little taste of these virtues?
Gaby Moreno was born and raised in Guatemala. The sounds of the American South inspired her to become a songwriter and recording artist.
In 2006, Gaby Moreno won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest with her song “Escondidos,” first in the Latin category and overall. In 2010, an instrumental piece Moreno wrote with musician friend Vincent Jones was selected as the theme for the new NBC show Parks and Recreation. The theme earned an Emmy Nomination. Moreno’s tunes were also used on E!’s Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, ABC’s Lincoln Heights and Ghost Whisperer, and MTV’s The Hills. CC.TV: http://bit.ly/mrB7DF