“Our music video follows a sign spinner across Hollywood who only finds his joie de vie while sign spinning and listening to HUMANS (the band). Our lead is the three time world champion sign spinner Kadeem Johnson.” Director Peter Ricq on his music video Noose by the band Humans which shows in the music video section of SxSW 2020 Film.
Editor’s Note: While SxSW was officially cancelled on March 6th, 2020, the below interview was one of many that already took place prior to the festival. To respect the creators, all already performed interviews are presented in their unedited entirety below. All of the below works WILL make their way out into the world in one way or another, and we will update this article with updated information when we have it. — JW
Welcome to the amazing SxSW and congratulations! Are you planning to attend SxSW?
Yes, I’ve been invited in 2009 for my first ever music video and have played with my band seven years straight at SXSW. This year, I’m going only as a filmmaker and want to experience it from that angle. The film fest has grown so much over the years so I’m very much looking forward to it.
Tell me about your previous experience here at the festival and what you showed.
Having gone seven years straight from 2009 to 2016, I can’t really tell what year was what, except for the first and last one. The first one, I came for both the music fest and film fest. I remember the film fest had the best Q&As I’ve ever attended at any festival. The Q&A’s were well attended by the filmmakers, very informative, entertaining and the film selection was up there.
SXSW music fest is just bonkers, there’s things everywhere, parties everywhere, the best new up and coming acts on a small stage who end up at Coachella’s main stage five years later. I remember our first HUMANS show at SXSW in 2009 was with Grimes and I said “Hey, who’s this Grimes guy we are playing with”. I remember last year because it was cold and rainy unlike every other year.
What is it about Austin, either the festival or the town itself, that excites you the most?
Only been during the festival so I can’t tell you what Austin is like usually. AS for SXSW Austin, it’s very lively and the people are friendly. I’ve never seen a fight there only smiles and people helping each other out.
I remember seeing DFA 1979 reunion show, I was there in a limited capacity with like 100 people max and there were maybe 250 outside the fenced club trying to get in and tor the fence off. Sebastian from DFA 1979 asked “If you guys don’t stop and put the fence back up and relax, we’ll just have to stop performing”. The fans outside politely put the fence back up and the music continued and everyone was happy.
How did you first hear about the SxSW Film and wishing to send your project into the festival?
My manager at the time said that if we were going to be serious about our music, we need to go. I then saw they had a film festival too.
Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!
It was an idea my band mate had. He wanted to shoot a different sign spinner in different cities across the world. My band mate likes to come up with ideas and I sometimes grab some of his ideas and make it production friendly/cost effective.
Getting it made was tough because we hadn’t found a sign spinner and had to shoot within a certain date. We were in LA driving around, looking for a sign spinner since none of the agencies or schools got back to us. After driving around for an hour and not finding anyone, I decided to drive to Aarrow Sign Spinners and luckily enough, Kadeem Johnson was flying in to LA the following day and wanted to do it!
Who are some of your main creative inspirations?
Mostly filmmakers like Dennis Villeneuve, Ricardo Trodgi, Taika Watiti and Hayao Miyazaki.
How did you put this together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use and/or did you have any creative challenges in making it?
We used a red camera and not sure about the lenses. I work with people I trust and Devin Kerringten knows his stuff. Because we really did this on a budget, we couldn’t do anything crazy and really focussed on good performances, good shots, and a solid story.
After SxSW, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?
I’m going to focus on making more short film/movie and show pilots. I’m working on a couple including and animated feature based off of my graphic novel Once Our Land.
What would you suggest to theatres or even film festivals as a way to show more short films theatrically or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?
Easy, have one before every feature film. Like they did back in the day and how Pixar does it. Four to seven minute short film is perfect before a feature.
If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker/creator, what would you suggest to get their start?
Just shoot something and finish it. Plain and simple, don’t wait around for someone to give you a opportunity, you are it.
And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?
Music videos are short films right? Twisted Sister’s Were Not Gonna Take it. Only because I remember it so well as a 4 year old watching it on TV and not knowing how to change the channel and hoping that video would air again.
For more information on this film and to follow its progress into the festival world, point your browser to www.sxsw.com/film!