Thursday, January 5, 2012
Dallas filmmaker documents “Unashamed” Christian hip hop movement
I recently caught up with Dallas filmmaker Art Hooker via e-mail to discuss the Unashamed documentary he’s working on about the Christian hip hop movement and why he decided to use a crowd-sourcing model to help fund it.
Sketch: Is this a documentary about Lecrae and Reach Records or something bigger? How so?
Art: That's a great question. Although the 116 clique [the informal name for those associated with Lecrae and Reach Records] is an important element of the story, this film is about something much bigger. It will attempt to show the viewer what it looks like to live "Unashamed" within the context of real, everyday life.
In the film we explore why the language of hip hop seems to resonate with the disenfranchised and what that means within the context of the Gospel. This project is designed to inspire the believer to live out their faith in a way that will ultimately influence culture.
Sketch: Ideally, who is the audience for this film?
Art: The audience for this film is anyone in the world who has been influenced by hip hop and/or their faith.
Sketch: You're a Texan who knows about our state and local pride. I know that personally, I take every opportunity to tell people that Lecrae, Tedashii, and Trip Lee are all either from Houston and/or still have family here. So how does Houston's "Unashamed" scene compare to other places you've been to while working on this project?
Art: The Houston "Unashamed" scene is very similar to what we've seen in other cities. I think what sets Houston apart is their intense southern hospitality combined with an intense love of southern rap.
Sketch: You're familiar with Christian hip hop's early days, so what's been your biggest surprise or discovery during the process of making the Unashamed movie?
Art: I think one of my biggest surprises so far is that there was a Christian rap artist named MC Sweet from New York who had a record distributed by MCA in the early 80’s.
Sketch: Did you always anticipate that you would use the crowd-sourcing model to fund your endeavor or is that relatively new development? Is this the future of independent film?
Art: We always intended this film to be for the fans, by the fans. However, as production went on we realized how much it would cost to ensure the film's quality. It quickly became clear that allowing the fans to fund this film was the best and only way to go forward.
The movement is not a reality because of the artists involved, but because of the people who make up the movement. With this in mind we've decided to partner with the movement to make one of the first hip hop films made by the fans for the fans to influence the world.
The Unashamed Movie’s Indiegogo crowd-sourcing campaign ends on January 8.
To learn more about the film or contribute to its production, visit: indiegogo.com/Unashamed and follow them on Twitter @unashamedmovie.