Production Company: HSI Productions / Darkfibre Entertainment Ltd.
Studio: Lions Gate Films
Cast: Tommy the Clown as himself
Crew: David LaChapelle (director and producer); Marc Hawker and Ellen Jacobson (producers); Drew Carolan, Coleen Haynes and Walid J. Mouaness (line producers); Anthony and Richmond Talauega (co-producers); Barry Peele (co-executive producer); Ellen Jacobson, Rebecca Skinner and Ishbel Whitaker (executive producers)
Rize reveals a groundbreaking dance phenomenon that’s exploding on the streets of South Central, Los Angeles. Taking advantage of unprecedented access, this documentary film brings to first light a revolutionary form of artistic expression borne from oppression. The aggressive and visually stunning dance modernizes moves indigenous to African tribal rituals and features mind-blowing, athletic movement sped up to impossible speeds. Rize tracks the fascinating evolution of the dance: we meet Tommy Johnson (Tommy the Clown), who first created the style as a response to the 1992 Rodney King riots and named it “Clowning”, as well as the kids who developed the movement into what they now call Krumping. The kids use dance as an alternative to gangs and hustling: they form their own troupes and paint their faces like warriors, meeting to outperform rival gangs of dancers or just to hone their skills. For the dancers, Krumping becomes a way of life – and, because it’s authentic expression (in complete opposition to the bling-bling hip-hop culture), the dance becomes a vital part of who they are.
Like Paris is Burning or Style Wars before it, Rize illuminates an entire community by focusing on an artform as a movement that the disenfranchised have created. But the true stars of the film are the dancers themselves: surrounded by drug addiction, gang activity, and impoverishment, they have managed to somehow rise above. The film offers an intimate, completely fresh portrayal of kids in South Central as they reveal their spirit and creativity. These kids have created art – and often family – where before there was none.
Release Dates: JAN 2005 / SUNDANCE / JUNE 24, 2005 NYC AND LA
Genre: DOCUMENTARY / MUSICAL