Social distortion

An empowering, spoken-word based art film that flips the ostracising label of “otherness”.

Directed by Stefano Ottaviano. Made with support from Unit 9 Films.

 
 

After an initial rushed turn around for a fashion show screening in November 2018, the first collaboration between director, Stefano Ottaviano and I, went on a long journey in post to make it our own.

A team of Toni & Guy hairstylists approached Stefano, to commission him to make a mood film for their upcoming fashion show. The theme - PUNK.

Stefo brought me onboard and we discussed the brief. Though this was my first time to be independently producing short film and the budget was micro, we wanted to make something that appeared high production value but also very personal and meaningful. I had recently been to a screening of Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution (2017) which had significantly shifted my understanding of punk culture and queer culture and this fed into his treatment.

Vlad Jakovlev, a well established DP in the advertising world who had collaborated with Stefano previously was pulled in through the treatment, we would later save a great deal of budget by using Vlad’s Blackmagic Ursa and the studio space he runs as part of his business. We wanted spoken word to tie together Stefano’s disparate and abstract imagery and so I asked writer / director & poet Charli Whatley, for whom I was producing the After Smoke Clears music video at the time, if she would write for us to-brief. Having Vlad onboard and Charli’s powerful poem included in the treatment, would turn out to serve us as our way to get many generous favours from our industry contacts.

We went to Mike Samir at Room One Films who became our Exec Producer and Helen Dulay at Unit 9 Films who helped us with her industry reach and filming insurance. Though we had a great camera from Vlad, Stefano wanted to use anamorphic lenses to get a more epic look, and so the majority of our budget was spent on a discounted hire from One Stop Films for a set of vintage Kowas.

Previous collaborator to the director, Theophillus “Godson” Oloyade, a rising star in the Krump scene joined as a choreographer and cast member and then organised the recruitment of 3 other upcoming krump dancers. Theo TJ Lowe, associate artist at Akram Khan Company and another previous collaborator of the director, also came into the team to coach our lead talent Lola Onasanya.

The shoot was to be spread across two days, the first in studio with Lola and the second roaming in a production minibus to various outdoor locations with the krump dancers.

The weekend came and the production went smoothly with very few hiccups and 3tb of footage captured. A rough cut was sent to Daniele Carmosino, who produced the nuanced and killer track for the film and Charli’s sister Cat Whatley, a singer/songwriter, recorded a reading of the poem so that a finished version of the film could be thrown together and screened one week later at the fashion show. Our film won there, and the team of hair stylists won the grand prize for their show.

For Stefano and I however, this film had potential to be better.

Stefano added archive footage of 70’s punks and I went through the most difficult part of this production, sourcing releases for the material! He also wanted to add clips of contemporary protest movements, which fortunately I had my own collection of from filming in Black Lives Matter and Climate Justice disruptions I had took part in when I lived in New York.

The poem was re-recorded with spoken-word artist Lauren Charles. And after months of conversations with different post houses, we finally secured a session with Junior Colourist, Megan Lee, at The Mill, who transformed the film for us with a striking grade. For a finishing touch, Charli put us in contact with Tom Williams, who had just won a BAFTA for his sound engineering on Killing Eve to produce us a final mix.

In July 2019, the film was launched in partnership with Schon! magazine and we are, at the time of writing, submitting to film festivals worldwide.

 
Lola Onasanya as  Punk Girl

Lola Onasanya as Punk Girl

 
Lola Onasanya as  Punk Girl

Lola Onasanya as Punk Girl

 
Lola Onasanya as  Punk Girl

Lola Onasanya as Punk Girl

 
Florian Kabasubabo

Florian Kabasubabo

 
Florian Kabasubabo & Mikiel Donovan

Florian Kabasubabo & Mikiel Donovan

 
Mikiel Donovan

Mikiel Donovan

CAST

Punk Girl: Lola Onasanya
Krump Dancer 1: Theophillus ‘Godson’ Oloyade
Krump Dancer 2: Amanda Pefkou
Krump Dancer 3: Florian Kabasubabo
Krump Dancer 4: Mikiel Donovan

PRODUCTION

Director: Stefano Ottaviano
Producer: Toby Anthonisz
Exec Producer: Mike Samir
Poem: Charli Whatley
Director of Photography: Vlad Jakovlev
1st Assistant Camera: Efe Onikinci
Choreographer: Theo TJ Lowe
Krump Choreographer: Theophillus ‘Godson’ Oloyade
Stylist: Gabrielle Tamasciuk
Hair: Timea Cserekyle, Katie Price & Laura Everitt
Make Up: Alina Valentinovna Nastas Romaniuc
Runners: Virginia Fonderico
Anna Jirina Danhelova
Driver: Nigel 

POST PRODUCTION

Editor: White Rabbit
Colourist: Megan Lee
Music: Daniele Carmosino
Voice Over: Lauren Charles
Supervising Sound Editor: Tom Williams
Vocal Producer: Ruby Ktori
Sound Engineer: Tom Mitchell
Sound Designer: Payam Hosseinian
Re-Recording Mixer: Simon Hill
Archive Footage:
Don Boyd
London Film School
Kino Library

Protest Footage: Toby Anthonisz
Graphic Designer: Martina Savoldelli

EQUIPMENT & STUDIO

Studio & Camera: Sheldon Place Studios
Lenses: One Stop Films
Production Vehicle: Silver Screen Services