(San Francisco, CA) – Hip Hop music has the ability to give a voice to the disenfranchised in any country, and as music with a message it is a form available to all societies worldwide. Directed by New York-based filmmakers, Loira Limbal and Virgilio Bravo, ESTILO HIP HOP chronicles the lives of three hip hop enthusiasts from Brazil, Chile and Cuba who firmly believe that hip hop can change the world. These three inspirational leaders mobilize young people to become politically active. However, as the stakes assume greater risks, the leaders are faced with challenges and have to make life-altering decisions that ultimately impact the course of their lives and of the hip hop movement. ESTILO HIP HOP will air nationally on Global Voices on PBS WORLD on Sunday, June 28, at 10pm.
Within vast breathtaking landscapes we meet Eli Efi, Guerrillero Okulto, and Magia. As we delve into their lives, we learn about the movements they lead and the personal price they pay because of their political stance. Eli Efi is a hip-hop artist born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil who addresses his community’s dire living conditions through his lyrics. Inspired by American Rap groups such as Public Enemy, he founded the politically charged rap group “Defenders of the Black Movement” (DMN). DMN recorded five albums, receiving praise from the hip-hop community and music industry. As the group becomes successful, DMN is approached to sign a new record deal with a label that has nationwide distribution through SONY. When faced with the choice to “lighten” his lyrics or to remain true to his political beliefs, Eli makes a drastic decision that alters the trajectory of his burgeoning rap career.
In Santiago, Chile, we meet Guerrillero Okulto, hip hop recording artist and absentee father to two pre-teen girls. As one of the most respected and effective youth organizers in the nation’s capital, Guerrillero is propelled to bring change to his community. He leads a citywide collective known as Hiphoplogia [The Logic of Hip Hop] whose primary focus is to conduct alternative political education workshops throughout marginal neighborhoods in Santiago. Guerrillero spends his time conducting free workshops on the media, rallying teenage kids to become politically active while struggling to hold down a construction job in order to provide for his daughters. Despite his daughters feeling the void created by his absence, Guerrillero pursues his first solo album; not only to spread his political messages further but to keep his commitments to his family.
In Havana, Cuba, Magia and her husband Alexei, form the popular rap duo Obsesión. Using limited resources to create their music, Magia reflects on the contradictions of Cuban socialism and the often times repressive role that women face within it. Obsesión’s music has created an afro-centric movement among black youth challenging the Cuban Revolution to address the racism and sexism that often times goes ignored by the government. Their well-defined sound has caught the attention of many across the world, allowing Obsesión the privilege of performing in the UK, France, Venezuela, Canada and the US. Magia is also one of the founding members of La Fabri¬_ka, a collective of artists dedicated to using hip hop to promote messages of political involvement and social change. As La Fabri_ka prepares for their next event, Magia comes face to face with a government that wants to silence their voice.
ESTILO HIP HOP is a journey through the lives of three modern day freedom fighters who truly believe in the power of hip-hop to bring awareness and social change to their countries. The film will be available for download to own on iTunes Summer 2009.
About the Filmmakers
Loira Limbal (co-producer/co-director) is a filmmaker, activist, and DJ. Limbal has worked at various community-based organizations and in 2006, she founded The Reel X Project, which is a social justice and creative filmmaking space for young women of color in the Southwest Bronx. Currently she is the Director of Operations at Firelight Media, a New York City based film production company. Limbal received a B.A. in History from Brown University and is a graduate of the Third World Newsreel’s Film and Video Production Training Program. She has received awards from the Open Society Institute, the Bronx Council on the Arts, Royce Fellows Society, and the Lisa Sullivan Fund. Her work in the arts and the community has been featured in The New York Times, The Source Magazine, El Diario-La Prensa, among other publications.
Virgilio Bravo (co-producer/co-director) is an independent media-maker and activist. Over the past decade Bravo has initiated several unique projects aimed at creating responsible links between media and marginal communities. These initiatives include the Cell Block Project, a yearly media literacy and film series held at New York’s Rikers Island Correctional Facility. In the mid 90s Bravo also co-founded Stress Magazine, the first lifestyles publication to fuse hip-hop and social activism. Bravo’s community work has been recognized and supported by the Open Society Institute, the Union Square Awards, and the Ford Foundation. His community work and writing has been featured and published in The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Source, Vibe, XXL, and El Diario-La Prensa. Bravo received a B.A. in Latin American & Caribbean Area Studies from Binghamton University and a M.S. in Urban Policy from The New School for Social Research.
About Global Voices
Global Voices is produced by ITVS International to air on the PBS WORLD digital channel beginning Sunday, April 26, 2009, at 10pm (check local listings). The 26-week series brings to a national audience internationally themed documentaries made by U.S.-based and international filmmakers. This season, the series will feature the U.S. premieres of seven documentaries funded by ITVS International as well as encore broadcasts of other acclaimed ITVS programs. For more information about Global Voices, visit www.pbs.org/globalvoices. Encore presentations include the highly acclaimed THE NEW AMERICANS; 2005 Emmy Award nominee AFGHANISTAN UNVEILED; the 2007 duPont Award winner, SEOUL TRAIN; winner of the 2002 Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, SEÑORITA EXTRAVIADA; and the award-winning DEVIL’S MINER.
About ITVS International
ITVS International is a division of Independent Television Service that promotes an international exchange of documentary films made by independent producers, bringing international voices to U.S. audiences and American stories to audiences abroad. Through a unique public-private partnership called the Global Perspectives Project, ITVS International administers the International Media Development Fund (IMDF) and True Stories: Life in the USA. The IMDF funds international producers and supports the American broadcast of their programs. True Stories: Life in the USA promotes a series of American independent films to audiences around the world. ITVS created the Global Perspectives Project in 2005 with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the U.S. Department of State. More information about ITVS International is available online at itvs.org/international.
About PBS WORLD
PBS WORLD features documentary, public affairs and news programming from a number of public television’s award-winning signature series and acclaimed independent filmmakers. Produced and distributed by PBS, WGBH Boston and Thirteen/WNET New York, in association with American Public Television and the National Education Telecommunications Association, PBS WORLD launched on 55 stations across the country, representing 24 licensees and reaching more than 27 percent of U.S. households. In most markets, PBS WORLD programming is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Programming on PBS WORLD includes such popular and critically acclaimed series as American Experience, Frontline, History Detectives, Nature, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Nova, Scientific American Frontiers and The Tavis Smiley Show.
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