Wammo was also featured in our film SlamNation. He visits often when he's in New York City and offered to write a theme song for the movie, BLAST! while it was still in post-production. The result is this charming, exclusive performance edited by Rina Svet in her early days with DevlinPix.
This excerpt shows how the art of Freestyling infuses all aspects of hip hop - “that fleeting moment of escape.”
The Making of Freestyle (continued)
It took me awhile to decide whether or not I would join the Freestyle team. Technically the project was a mess – all sorts of different formats, several editors, many iterations. It was going to take a long time just to get it ready for a re-edit – guaranteed brain damage. By then I was working on my next project, Power Trip, and wasn’t sure I wanted to dilute my time. There was a lot of negotiating, and stalling, but finally I decided the movie deserved to find its audience. I signed on as “Producing Editor” (or Preditor, as I preferred to be called).
This piece is from one of the daytime showcase events at the Portland National Poetry Slam. It’s a exuberant, fanciful rumination on nuclear destruction from the man who got it all started – Marc Smith, Father of the Slam.
(Valeri Odikadze is the Georgian co-producer of Power Trip.)
These elections were the most important in my life. Bidzina Ivanishvili seems like a good choice to lead our country and I am really glad the Georgian Dream coalition won the election. After all, almost all of Georgia wanted change.
For the last 4-5 years Mikheil Saakashvili lead Georgia in the wrong direction. There were too many problems with free media, human rights, free law, and a huge high level elite corruption and business monopoly. There wasn't any economic growth. Ivanishvili promises a lot and Saakashvili is now in opposition. Saakashvili will try to come back in several years or even earlier and the USA and Europe consider him a very democratic President.
Last year I worked for Ivanishvili ever since he started his party. I filmed all his pre-election actions and provided a live TV signal for his campaign. I also had several ongoing contracts with TV9 and I provided them with consulting services and video production equipment & cameras since the government had damaged his equipment at customs. Many people were afraid to work with him under the pressure of the KGB police revenue service.
At the beginning of last summer the Revenue Service started an urgent 2-phase audit of my company, Videoscope, as a result of my cooperation with Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream coalition. They initially fined Videoscope a penalty of GEL 120,000, rougly $72,154 USD - a huge and unjustified sum of money for my small company that nearly bankrupted us. The fine was over allegedly unpaid taxes, but my company had paid several thousand GEL in advance tax payments so far. The 2nd audit was concluded in August 2012 and I am still waiting for the results.
But I continued working with Ivanishvili and hope that I will someday get this money back. Even more importantly, I hope that Georgia will become a better country under the leadership of this fantastic new team!
Could we have ever guessed at the start of this project that it would culminate with my astrophysicist brother appearing on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report? My science adventure movie, BLAST! was very popular internationally. It screened on television all across Europe, Japan, Canada, even had a weekend of global broadcasts that reached 120 countries on BBC World News.
But the United States is the toughest market for independent filmmakers and BLAST! received a lot of resistance from both film festivals and broadcasters in the U.S. – even though the movie was a suspenseful story by an American filmmaker about an American scientist. Was it because of too much science? Too little science? Too much religious discussion? No “Voice-of-God” narrator? Too personal – breaking convention by examining scientist’s family sacrifices? Who knows? But the traditional gatekeepers kept BLAST! from a national broadcast in the U.S.
Otherwize is a fierce competitor and shows just how brutal Freestyle Battles can be. “Noone cares who came in third place. If you’re gonna do it, DO IT.”
The Making of Freestyle (continued)
Soon after I met Kevin Fitzgerald, his producer Henry-Alex Rubin (who later went on to co-direct Murder Ball) contacted me. Kevin was having trouble selling his movie. The cut was good enough for festivals, but not for broadcast. It needed to be re-worked. They wanted to know if I would join them and re-edit the movie.
Great example of an identity poem from Andrea Thompson. This one was an extra, but another, “After Kissing,” made it into SlamNation to show how hot the rookie Vancouver team was, almost beating Taylor Mali.
I was able to catch up with Andrea a few years ago in Toronto when I was shooting parts of BLAST! there. You can catch up with her too, in this interview.
Love these little pieces - short and sweet, high energy and easy on the eye. Made lots of them during my many years working on site for CBS's U.S. Open Late Night Show.
And then the Late Night Show got cancelled and I haven't been back. Oh well. That's the nature of these gigs - they come and go. I still get my dose of tennis, putting together the US Open Preview Show at the CBS Broadcast Center.