FILM: ‘Hands to the Sky’ Takes House Music Experience Outside the Nightclub
GRASSROOTS DOCUMENTARY SHARES UNIVERSAL LOVE OF HOUSE MUSIC AND OUTDOOR EVENTS
“As a card-carrying member of Paradise Garage from way back, that music and the times I had there are part of my DNA. During the late 1970s and early 80s there was no place like New York,” filmmaker Domingo Canate recalls in an exclusive interview with Tania Fuentez Media. Now, take that energy out of the nightclub and expose it to an open, outdoor setting on the beach or in a tree-filled park and watch the fireworks. Canate understands that magic, which led to the new documentary, “Hands to the Sky,” described by its producers as an “exploration into outdoor House music parties … that delves deep into the world of summertime dance jams.” The Brooklyn premiere of “Hands to the Sky” is Saturday, June 2, 2012, at the Brooklyn Museum. A pre-screening outdoor party is planned noon-6 p.m. at Dekalb Market.
NOTE: All images/video courtesy of My House Rocs Productions.
TFM: What ignited your desire to produce “Hands to the Sky” and how has the experience been thus far? How long has it taken to get the project off the ground, generate widespread support and secure distribution?
Domingo: “Hands to the Sky” has been a labor of love for two years. While the experience brings back memories of record-breaking summer heat, it has also opened my eyes to how House music sustains a really diverse community that is built on love, unity and acceptance. While I expected hardcore House music fans to be excited about “Hands to the Sky,” I have been pleasantly surprised to learn that the film is sparking interest among a broader audience.
After our New York premiere at Dixon Place in April, the film got a lot of word-of-mouth buzz and was accepted for the upcoming screening at the Brooklyn Museum, partly in tribute to their current exhibit celebrating Keith Haring, who was a fixture during the early House music scene. “Hands to the Sky” will also be screened on June 30 in Baltimore at Club Paradox and in Boston on July 15 at Machine. We are still exploring options for distribution.
TFM: Summer is almost here. Which House music outdoor events would you recommend nationally and internationally?
Domingo: Everybody can get to Coney Island and everybody should, at least one time this summer. But there are so many places to get down in the city in the summer. The best advice I can offer is to check out “Time Out New York” or “Time Out” in whatever city you’re heading to. They do their homework so you don’t have to.
TFM: How would your life differ if this film wasn’t a factor? Have the trial and errors been worthwhile?
Domingo: I feel this film is part of my life, it shares a bit of who I am. Even if no one other than my family and friends wanted to see it, I’d still be proud of what we did.
TFM: Describe your earliest interest in House music and first impressions of the NYC club scene and elsewhere. How has your opinion changed while researching and examining the subject for this documentary?
Domingo: As a card-carrying member of Paradise Garage from way back, that music and the times I had there are part of my DNA. During the late 1970s and early ’80s there was no place like New York, other than maybe San Francisco or Paris, that was getting down like that. Other clubs I’ll mention include David Mancuso’s The Loft, plus Buttermilk Bottom, Melons … I mean, there were so many places where it was all about the music setting you free.
TFM: Top five influential filmmakers in your life and why. Describe what you hope to contribute to the art.
Domingo: Spike Lee because no one can touch him as a visual artist. I’d love to see what he’d paint. Francis Ford Coppola because he handles every aspect of a film with care — from casting, to wardrobe, to dialogue, to set design, to music — everything matters equally in getting the story told. Berry Gordy for making Diana Ross a movie star in “Mahogany” and “Lady Sings the Blues.” If you were to watch those films tomorrow, they’d still hold up in entertainment value and production quality. Robert Rodriguez because he is fearless but likes to scare people. He also created his own kind of comics-meet-film-noir genre with “Sin City.” Lastly, I’d have to say so many music video directors whose names I can’t call. The way they transformed the way we listened to music was revolutionary and forever changed the music industry.
My House Rocs: http://www.myhouserocs.com/
Brooklyn Museum: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/
‘Hands to the Sky” premiere at Brooklyn Museum and after-party: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajournalist/sets/72157630031565006/
Dekalb Market: http://dekalbmarket.com/
Coney Island: http://www.coneyisland.com/
Fort Greene Park: http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/FortGreenePark