Director’s Statement: ALFF
I love and respect musicians and artists. They are my vicarious brothers and sisters, my unspoken tribe. I’ve always had an affinity with the music scenes, especially the underground ones from the origin of post-punk to house. I guess you could say I grew up in nightclubs.
When Nune was selected to be part of the 2016 Atlanta LGBT Film & Music Festival‘s (ALFF) lineup, I felt it was a perfect match. What makes ALFF special is that it’s a celebration of music, freedom and LGBT. It makes a festival less “heavy” and more about enjoying how far we’ve come and what we have, rather than what we don’t have.
Festival director Ashley Stephens knows where the party’s at. The festival sounds like one cool house party. ALFF features great bands like Hunter Valentine, a lesbian alternative rock band. It’s an honor to be part of this year’s event, considering that this is the band’s last tour before they part ways.
In addition, the festival has a good mix of house, hip-hop and electronica too, including MikeQ, a vogue-ballroom dance music international DJ. The music evolves from the LGBT club culture, which is cool and very exciting.
What I also love about the festival: It’s run by millennials for millennials and is in touch with the youth culture, being less heavy than most festivals that take politics too seriously. The fact that ALFF speaks to the youth resonates closely with the message in Nune, more about acknowledging who we are as humans who love freely, rather than how we define ourselves as gay (which is an act of separating ourselves from others). Granted, the gay movement has brought us to this place, but we need to own and accept the gift of freedom by honoring that in our creative expressions.
One of the reasons I think ALFF viewers will enjoy Nune is because of the music. The film has great music, starting with strong, hip-hop, electronica, and a beautiful music score all created by indie artists.
The film has two tracks featured by the German indie-dance music band Rework, which includes their newest release, “Girl or a Boy” that has a gender-fluid theme and 1980s new-wave dance-feel. Joshua Hendrick, owner of GOMFU records, reached out to me with a hip-hop track he produced called “S.T.U.P.I.D.” by Juicy T, which is lip-synced by bullies in Nune’s opening scene. That scene is pretty funny because it is so typical of gangster wannabes who permeate high-school suburban scenes, as if they know what hardship is!
Hendrick also turned me onto “Light it up, roll it up!” by another hip-hop artist, AMadScientist which is all about feeling dope. This song was great for the scene in the car where the cheerleader’s boyfriend, Vaunt, is trying to get her high enough to have sex with him. When you listen to these tracks, you’ll see this music is as good as any commercial music out there, and possibly even better.
When I use music in film, I choose songs where you can’t tell the difference between an indie label and commercial label. The songs hold their own and are not just used to serve a film soundtrack. They’re something you wanna sing out loud, play on a loop or blast in your car. All the music in Nune is like that and makes you want to own or buy the track. I think this is an effective way to share new music with the world.
— Ji Strangeway/ Writer-Director/ #NuneMovie