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Marko Vuorinen's raw and lyrical documentary Vianey Premieres at the 2018 New Jersey International Film Festival this Saturday, June 2!


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 05/30/2018

Marko Vuorinen's raw and lyrical documentary Vianey Premieres at the 2018 New Jersey International Film Festival this Saturday, June 2!

Marko Vuorinen's raw and lyrical documentary 
Vianey Premieres at the 2018 New Jersey International Film Festival this Saturday, June 2!

By Al Nigrin 

Here is my interview with Vianey Director Marko Vuorinen and Vianey Otereo:

Nigrin: Your lyrical documentary Vianey is about the life and hardships of the female hip hop artist Vianey Otero a.k.a. So Icey Trap. Please tell us more about your film and why you decided to make it? 

Vuorinen: Vianey is a true force of nature. I had been following her on Instagram for a while, admiring her unapologetic honesty and sensitivity – and her artistry. Then one day, I decided to write her, introduce myself and ask for her willingness to open up about her life in documentary portrait. She wrote back to me with a long reply, in which she went through the good and bad in her life. We got along very well from the first moment, and we agreed to start the adventure. My work concentrates on social issues, gender equality, and sexuality. My primary interest has always been the women's perspective. On an everyday level, I am endlessly interested in how other people live their lives - and I believe in the unifying power of sharing our stories with one another. There's always more that unites us than divides us. The film is an un-filtered coming-of-age story, and also a story about the struggles of the low-income working class in the modern day society trying to make ends meet."

Nigrin: How does a filmmaker from Helsinki, Finland end up making a film about a Hip Hop artist from the New York-New Jersey metro area?

Vuorinen: I've always been more interested in humanity than nationality. In the metro area, I've been spending time, here and there, working on my projects since the late 1990's. When I work in Finland I often feel that I'm only learning about Finnish culture and Finnish people but when I'm working in the more multicultural U.S. I feel like I'm exploring and learning about humanity on a broader, more honest scale.

Nigrin: The urban images of your film which accompany Vianey's voice over narration are absolutely stunning. Where was Vianey shot?

Vuorinen: Thank you very, very much. Visually, the film takes the viewer to the important locations of Vianey's past and present everyday life. Vianey was born in New Jersey. Her father lived in the Bronx and Vianey attended high school there. Growing up, she divided her time between New York and New Jersey, where her mother lived and still lives. Vianey now lives in Paterson, NJ. Most of the movie was shot on location in Paterson, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. I'm pretty sure that the fact that I started as a photographer shows in the visual decisions I make. I don't just want to tell a story, I want to show it. To be even more precise, I approach filmmaking as a form of contemporary art. I don't have a driving need to let the viewer off easy. 

Nigrin: The film looks like it is shot in black and white? Why did you shoot it this way? 

Vuorinen: All my films and my photography have been in black and white. I feel that the black and white format distances the viewer from the actual locations and details just enough to leave more freedom for interpretations.

Nigrin: Vianey has gone through quite a bit in her life, and the film is quite timely given the "Me Too" women's movement that is currently sweeping across the United States. Was it difficult for Vianey to talk about the difficulties she has had growing up on the streets, doing jail time and being a female artist in the music industry?

Otero: Opening up about dark times in my life were actually very difficult because for so long I hid what was going on behind close doors in my life. In fear of being judged and looked at wrongly. Yet it became very liberating for me to speak about the things I went through because I knew it would help someone who might be going through what I went through or someone whom experienced similar situations. It was most definitely difficult to speak about a topic that gets shut down very often in not only my situation but in other females who try to get heard. Which is were I gained the strength realizing that I wasn't only doing this for me but for other females in the world scared to speak up about things happen every day to us.

Nigrin: Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you can would like to relay to our readers?

Vuorinen: Filming on location has always proven to be an amazing way to get to know the neighborhood and the people living in the area, and shooting Vianeywasn't an exception. On some of the areas people accused us of doing surveillance for the police but on most of the areas, people young and old offered help, shared their stories, asked filmmaking tips and were just proud of the fact that their street, block or corner deli was going to be featured in a film."

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Two timely and wonderful short films will precede Vianey. Here is more info on this screening:

In The Field - EJ Argenio/Tesia Walker(New York, New York) Anambitious local reporter witnesses a police-related shooting of an African-American girl outside a toy store on Christmas Eve. Tasked with interviewing the girl's family, to get the scoop that will bring him national fame, the reporter suddenly finds that getting the story involves more than just being there first. 2017; 14 min. With a Q+A Session by Producers EJ Argenio and Ryan Davenport and Writer/Lead Actor Bobby Kruger! 

You Are Here – Nicholas Jones (London, England) A tender portrait of Tony Rogers, a former rock star who was a member of one of the most successful British bands of the last 20 years, The Charlatans. Giving up on the glitz and glamour of fame, Tony has found a calling in working on his family farm in Ireland. As the documentary tracks Tony through a year on the farm, it makes clear why he has chosen to honor and to perpetuate the traditions of life of his Irish forebears. 2018; 16 min. 

Vianey - Marko Vuorinen (Helsinki, Finland) A raw, lyrical documentary about the life and hardships of the female hip hop artist Vianey Otero, also known by the stage name So Icey Trap. This intensely personal coming-of-age story reveals the reality behind growing up on the streets, time in jail, and the fate of a female artist in the music industry. Vianey tells her story with unapologetic strength, humanity, and striking honesty. 2018; 55 min. With a Q+A Session by Director Marko Vuorinen and Vianey Otero!

Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.; Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey 

$12=General; $10=Students+Seniors; $9=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends; 

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

Al Nigrin is a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University. In addition, he is the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc., which presents the Bi-Annual New Jersey Film Festival, the New Jersey International Film Festival and the United States Super 8mm Film + Digital Video 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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