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Maria Soccor’s moving documentary Lords of BSV plays this Saturday, October 3, 2015 at the New Jersey Film Festival at Rutgers University!


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 09/30/2015

Maria Soccor’s moving documentary Lords of BSV plays this Saturday, October 3, 2015 at the New Jersey Film Festival at Rutgers University!

 

Maria Soccor’s moving documentary Lords of BSV plays this Saturday, October 3, 2015 at the New Jersey Film Festival at Rutgers University!

Here is an interview with Lords of BSV Producer and Director Maria Soccor:

Nigrin: Your fascinating documentary Lords of BSV focuses on a group of young men and women that live in Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn who do “Brukup” which is a fascinating dance form that they follow like a religion. Tell us about what motivated you to make this film.

Soccor: Originally, I was always motivated to do my own film.  Coming from an acting background and being an ethnic woman, positive roles were not as available for me to audition or play. It wasn't until the type, "Non race specific" or "ethnically ambiguous" was in demand where I was able to frequently audition more and still, the roles available did not fully allow me to show my acting range. I started my own Production Company, Maria Soccor Productions in New Jersey, and eventually started producing shorts and feature films. Thanks to my producing partner Frank Orefice Jr., he suggested I looked into the BSV, (Bed Stuy Veterans).  Once I did, I saw their youtube videos and their dancing blew me away.  Realizing how their dance style was so moving, I was also impressed by their facial expressions and what I have learned they coined, their animation/mutation style.  Their dance style is resilient, since they literally can move in 6x6 spaces, the size of a sidewalk block, or practice in smaller rooms in pre world War II brownstones.  This is urban artistry at its finest, in its most classical and raw form.  There are no dance studios, no ballet bars, no gymnastic mats or instructors.  Just pure raw talent that is in your face and unapologetic.   The youtube site revealed they are consistent with archiving all of their dance footage. Two of the dancers Poba and Rain are also rappers.  They produce their own music tracks, made their own videos, and it was then I realized they were true innovators of the Brukup dance culture and phenomenon.  Their hits went well into the millions and they had fans around the world.  I felt it was time to document the dance style of Brukup, where it originated from George "Brukup" Adams from Jamaica in the 1990s, and the two dancers, Shawn "Poba" Theagene and Christopher "Blackie" Davis revived the dance form and took it to a new form of a dance style with Brukup as the foundation.  Seeing the dance style of Brukup which is constantly evolving,  I identified that the dance style was indicative to the brukup dance culture which saves lives by keeping kids off the streets and teaching kids how to dance.   I was beyond motivated to tell this story.  Immediately, I knew I wanted to direct this film and give it the proper voice it deserves for the world to see.



 
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Nigrin:  Your film is not just about Brukup though. Tell us a bit more about what your film also deals with  and what viewers can expect when they come to see your film.

Soccor: My film shows how dance culture is essential to a community that is being gentrified such as Bed Stuy, where most of my characters grew up without a mother, father or both.   The art of dance transcends into a family structure which gives everyone a sense of belonging, hope, pride, protection and the ultimate connection of support and love in the dance community.  When viewers come and see my film, they will see how tragedy in the dancer's lives becomes secondary, as they value themselves as "family first."  Viewers will see a community failed by a city where funding for programs is in dire need.  They will witness the art form which is Brukup that gives everyone a sense of belonging and pride.  Through this dance community, a life of crime and gang related activity is replaced by a dance culture.  The hope, love, and positive deeds of BSV go unnoticed and should be rewarded.

Nigrin:  How long did it take you to make this film and how was it working with the Lords of BSV?

Soccor: I started filming November, 2011 and finished in the fall of 2014.  By the time we color, sound corrected and finished editing, I was completed by March 2015.   Working with BSV on many levels was challenging and exhilarating at the same time.  I loved pushing them to get outstanding performances.  They trusted me and that was important for this to work.  That is something I had to earn, their trust and I am a better person for it.  

Nigrin:  Were there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you can rely to our readers?

Soccor: One particular day I was looking for Konqueror because we had a shoot scheduled.  I could not find him and I began to get extremely frustrated.  Since his persona was that of a comic character, I even went as far as to "summon him" over Facebook.  No answer.  I realized that I was no better than anyone else that had to find him so my crew and I started to search for him.  When I did find him, (2 hours later), he was with a group of 20 children from the area, in a park and was meeting with them on his own time as their mentor.  They would meet in the park to exercise-  warm up before dancing, gymnastics, sharing feelings, whatever they wanted to work on as a group.  This may not seem as unusual until that very instance I learned he was homeless.   In that moment I realized what was really important which was the sacrifice he gave of himself to give to twenty children that needed his mentorship more than anything.  Twenty children that wanted his wisdom, spiritual guidance, his dance instructions, all of him.  That one experience changed me and my life.  It humbled me in a way where I never lost sight of what was important which is how we serve one another.  

Here is the trailer for Lords of BSV: https://vimeo.com/109958092



 
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Lords of BSV will be screened with the short experimental film materspacetime  on Saturday, October 3. Here is more info on this program:

Matterspacetime - Kiira Benzing (Ridgewood, New Jersey)  Bodies pulse and blur dimensions as they connect space and time. Rhythms of Nature take over the form. Organic sound crosses in and out of a choral landscape. Nature is king but also polluted by mankind. Re-photographed on Super8mm and hand processed, Matterspacetime questions the matter and form of film.  2015; 9 min. With an introduction and Q+A session with Director Kiira Benzing!

Lords of BSV - Maria Soccor (Union, New Jersey)  Hailing from Bed Stuy, Brooklyln,  Brukup is an exhilarating dance form that a group of young men and women follow like a religion, but it is also one that they continually re-invent. Using the foundation of the Brukup movement to enhance their free-form style of dance, they seek to escape the street life, and to become The Lords of BSV. 2015; 79 min. With an introduction and Q+A session with Director Maria Soccor!

Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA Centers), the Rutgers University American Studies Department and the Rutgers University MGSA Dance Department!

Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University
, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey

$10=General; $9=Students+Seniors; $8=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends

Information: (848) 932-8482; www.njfilmfest.com

Free Food courtesy of Jimmy Johns of New Brunswick will be given out prior to this screening of the New Jersey Film Festival!




Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

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