Indie Grits Festival | April 12-15 2018

Kaye the Beast – “Heard”

Saturday, April 14 at 12:30 PM

Feature Block: The Possibility of Her
Hope Leigh | Daphne, AL | 5 min
Genre: Music Video

New Orleans-based hip-hop artist Kaye the Beast plays the braggadocio on lyrics alongside a Muhammad Ali mural by Noelle Goodson, characters credited as Trayvon, Tamir, Philando, and Alton, and dance pieces choreographed by Ka’Leah Rodgers in this short music video shot in Mobile, Alabama.

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Meet The Filmmaker

We asked our filmmakers some questions about them and their work. For further questions, join us at the designated post-screening Q+A!

Hope Leigh: 

1. What is your connection to the South?

I was born and raised in Mobile, AL and moved to New Orleans at 18. I’m currently an Atlanta resident, and that’s the farthest north I’ve ever lived! I’m proud to say everyone involved in this project is a Southerner. HEARD is a collaboration between Mobilians, a New Orleanian musician, an Atlantan DP, and a Tennessean post-production team. This project was a community effort in my hometown, from partnership with a local black-owned business to collaboration with a local muralist and choreographer. Aside from Kaye the Beast, all of our principal performers are local Mobilians.

2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

Kaye the Beast sent me a few tracks to choose from for a music video, and “Heard” instantly struck me. The refrain “Stop acting like you never heard of me,” is simple, but has so much depth. On its surface, “Heard” is a bravado track, but it has a strong emotional undercurrent. I could hear different interpretations of that refrain from proud demand to earnest plea. This conflict between confidence and frustration inspired the video concept to recognize the tension for young men of color between living boldly and managing the overwhelming burden prejudice projects onto them. Kaye the Beast I are also both actors, and I wanted to provide him an opportunity to showcase his multifaceted talent. I wanted the spirit of the video to reflect the artist I know: playful, scrappy, and subversive.

3. How did you start making films?

My stage background included production experience, and acting in film helped me start to learn how to translate that experience to a set. Atlanta’s welcoming community of independent filmmakers inspired me to experiment with what I could accomplish with minimal resources. That experience prepared me for my first film directing credit, HEARD, which I’m thrilled to see included in Indie Grits!

4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?

I’ve known Kaye the Beast and followed his career for years. We studied Theatre together at Tulane University, and I remember watching him rap for the first time at a student open-mic on campus. Kaye wasn’t involved with the casting or pre-production for the HEARD shoot, and at some point during the rehearsal process, I got immersed in work mode. I forgot this song wasn’t performed by some distant musician, but rather an up and coming artist I know. I’ll never forget the first time on set that Kaye the Beast saw our full cast- 6 young people and 4 adult dancers- all performers he’d never met, performing choreography to his music and singing along with all the words by heart. That was a very cool moment to witness.

5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?

Indie Grits has been a rite of passage for almost all the working, independent filmmakers I know in Atlanta. I can’t wait to be a part of the Indie Grits experience and the nurturing creative community here that helps talented filmmakers in the South meet collaborators and friends we’ll work with and root for through the rest of our careers.

6. Why should someone see your film?

HEARD is a celebration of individuality, creative spirit, and our community. Though HEARD is universally resonant, I’m proud of the authenticity with which it represents the South I know. I’m proud of the truth it captures in each performer- all of whom, with the exception of Kaye the Beast himself, are not professional performers. By spotlighting exceptional local talent, we aim to provide strong, positive representation for people of color on a national stage and to pay homage to those denied that opportunity. If you’re looking for something different and new, what better than this first time directorial effort from first time performers with an up and coming musician.

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