Los Angeles (Milwaukee Premiere)
Running Time: 15 minutes
Screening Time: Friday, Sept 6th 6:45pm
In this 1980s coming-of-age story set to pulsing hip-hop music, a Filipino-American teen discovers her identity through a budding talent for turntablism.
A little-known but lasting explosion of hip-hop culture grew out of the Filipino-American community of 1980s San Francisco. This film takes us into the beat of an aspiring mobile DJ crew in '84, as 14-year-old Vanessa, sick of the the constraints and boring piano lessons in her conservative Filipino-American household, starts teaching herself on the sly how to scratch on her older brother’s turntables. We follow Ness as she discovers her talents and place in the local music scene of the era.
Director's Bio:MARIE JAMORA is an award-winning director, editor, and producer originally from Manila, Philippines. Her feature debut, WHAT ISN’T THERE (ANG NAWAWALA), premiered internationally at the Slamdance Film Festival and was nominated for 5 Gawad Urian Philippine Critics Awards. Other credits include as Editor of the Showtime documentary THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN LIVES; WHAT HAPPENED?, as Segment Producer for the LEGO® web series THE BUILD ZONE, and as Showrunner for the first season of PROJECT RUNWAY PHILIPPINES. Marie began her career as music video and commercial director, directing over 45 music videos and many commercials for some of the world’s biggest brands including Coca-Cola, Colgate, and Gillette. She received an MFA in Film from Columbia University. She is currently working on her first documentary, LEGIONS OF BOOM, which is fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society.
These immigrant offspring didn’t just want to assimilate and blend in like their parents, but carve out their own identities. Music and DJ-ing became their voice, and created a scene that spawned the likes of DJ QBert and Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys.
Key women DJs also emerged from that scene, like DJ Symphony from The Beat Junkies, and DJ Kuttin Kandi from the 5th Platoon. The fact that these ladies became the first role models for Asian-American women — not to mention my own personal experience as a filmmaker and musician constantly having to prove her worth in male-dominated industries — inspired me to tell this story from a female perspective.
I wanted to recreate this undiscovered music scene through a young Filipino girl’s experience: how dance music’s high energy connects with her more than her piano lessons, and how — bullied by an older brother who heads his own mobile DJ unit — she finds the courage to stand out and stand up to him through music.
The title has three meanings. First, it’s about a teenage girl who “flips” her older brother’s runty view of her, using his own turntable and mashing up original Filipino music as her means of expression. Second, it tries to reclaim the derogatory term “Flip” (an acronym for “Fucking Little Island People” used by American troops stationed in the Philippines) and give it a more positive, empowering spin. Lastly, we want to highlight and immortalize the contribution of Fil-Ams to American music history.