A short documentary film about how the son of one of the original founders of the Venice Beach Drum Circle fulfills his father's final wishes as he explores and experiences the culture and rhythm of the organic musical collective that his father was such an intricate part of. The entire film features all original live music on location at the beach.
The idea for this film began while helping my good friend, Jon Tanis, conduct anthropological field work research about the culture of the Venice Beach Drum Circle at the University of Southern California in 2009. After several years of discussing the possibilities of creating a documentary film about the circle, I finally quit my day job in real estate and decided to direct this film at all costs. I moved out of my apartment and gave away just about everything I owned except my car, computer, and drum.
With a budget of $0, the generous donation of my LA friends' couches to sleep on, the donation of the time, energy and equipment from 2 amazing photographers: John Armitage & Scott Greenleaf, an amazing producer: Alan Takagi, and Jon Tanis on sound equipment, I give you my first documentary film.....
The film had many challenges to overcome. Some technical challenges to overcome included difficult sound design on a very windy beach. Other challenges were social....how can you truly capture "culture" on film without changing it in some way in the process? We took the cultural anthropological approach of "participant observation:" studying a culture by participating in it. We would bring our drums and other instruments to play music on the beach and made friends with many members of the group. Then while filming, I tried to make sure that we maintained a mindset of exploration, not exploitation....and that these intentions would help to create something real. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of documentary film making is selection: my photographers shot over 127 minutes of footage that had to be reduced to just under 10 minutes for the final cut.
I've learned that film making is something you cannot do alone and how, even as a director, I truly played such a small part in the making of this. A huge thanks to everyone for their help and support!