Stacey Lee’s work focuses on humanity, music, and motion. Her documentary quick “Stay Quick Draw Yung” premiered at Tribeca in 2015, successful awards in Atlanta and Tacoma. She was lately shortlisted for the Cannes Younger Administrators Award and chosen as a part of the DGA/AICP Variety Showcase. “Underplayed” marks her characteristic debut.
“Underplayed” will display on the 2020 Toronto Worldwide Movie Pageant, which is going down September 10-20.
W&H: Describe the movie for us in your individual phrases.
SL: “Underplayed” explores points surrounding gender, sexual, and racial inequality via the lens of digital music. Filmed over the summer season 2019 competition season, and informed via the views of a number of the style’s main pioneers, mainstage headliners, and essentially the most attention-grabbing producers and DJs within the underground scene, it provides a deeply private and pressing perception into an business that’s not solely dramatically underrepresenting girls, however variety in all its kinds.
Lower than three p.c of technical roles within the music business are carried out by girls. Lower than zero.three p.c are carried out by girls of shade. In in the present day’s “progressive” world, one thing is drastically out of sync.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
SL: I used to be drawn to this story as a result of, as a feminine filmmaker, I felt quite a lot of parallels between the experiences of the artists in digital music with my very own. As an Annenburg study reported, lower than 4 p.c of 1,200 Hollywood productions had been directed by girls.
However what was actually fascinating to me is that quite a lot of the innovations and albums that led to the 4 billion greenback digital music business we all know in the present day had been pioneered by girls tinkering away of their science labs and residential recording studios.
Moreover, as genres like home and techno started to develop and evolve, they had been borne from a number of the most numerous communities: Black, Brown, Latino and LGBT communities coming collectively to create a secure house to specific themselves, and the place everybody felt welcome. And but in the present day, in all the main measures of success — high 100 lists, highest paid lists, competition lineups, and label illustration — the variety and inclusivity of the business’s roots will not be mirrored.
In 2019, solely 5 of the highest 100 DJs had been feminine. And the numbers worsen the extra intersectional you go. Why is that this occurring, how is that this occurring, and what may be accomplished to reverse the statistics had been all pressing questions that drew me to the story — and maybe impressed me to search out options that may resonate inside the movie business and past.
W&H: What would you like individuals to consider after they watch the movie?
SL: I need individuals to really feel a way of motion and duty. Whether or not they’re into digital music or not, gender equality is a common concern. It’s one thing that may be seen in lots of industries in the present day, from movie to tech to politics to science. The World Financial Discussion board says it is going to take over a century to close the gender gap, so it’s on all of us to work on daily basis to assist result in this transformation as quick as we will.
When you begin recognizing gender inequality, you begin to see inequality going down throughout the board in all its kinds – sexual, racial, ethnic, et cetera. And it’s not the duty of the underrepresented to resolve the issue; it’s on the individuals with energy, with a voice, with a platform to assist result in this transformation.
W&H: What was the largest problem in making the movie?
SL: The most important problem was attempting to inform a coherent story whereas profiling the views of so many various artists and business leaders from all walks of life. It was essential to me that the viewers felt a way of intimacy and familiarity with every of the characters, and that takes time. So it was about putting the suitable steadiness between breadth of views, and depth of human connection.
W&H: How did you get your movie funded?
SL: The movie was funded by Bud Gentle Canada. They’ve accomplished quite a lot of work in supporting feminine artists, together with funding workshops to allow extra girls to come back up via the pipelines and get on to principal levels, and use their platform to boost consciousness in regards to the concern. Whereas they’re supporting the movie via advertising and marketing and promotion, the movie itself is an remoted piece of journalism devoid of overt branding and advertising and marketing messaging. It’s a pure documentary in all its kinds with the problems entrance and middle, irrespective of how uncomfortable a few of them are to inform.
Patagonia and Airbnb have equally supported critically acclaimed movies up to now two years. It’s a new area of funding, and one which I hope continues to make sure tales of this nature get the chance to be heard.
W&H: What impressed you to develop into a filmmaker?
As a New Zealander who spent a big proportion of my life trying up and out at the remainder of the world, I’m massively drawn to human tales and the various methods wherein we will discover a deeply private reference to a whole stranger via the unifying experiences like music, motion, and sport.
W&H: What’s the most effective and worst recommendation you’ve obtained?
SL: Finest recommendation: If one thing just isn’t coming simple or naturally, then maybe don’t push so exhausting. This may be utilized in life, however in movie — and significantly within the topics you select in your movie — it makes such an enormous distinction.
If you’re arising towards impediment after impediment securing a single interview, then likelihood is it’s going to be mirrored within the content material. You will waste hours attempting to get a single soundbite, when there are 10 different individuals on the market with doubtlessly far more attention-grabbing tales who will gladly take the chance and ship one thing far more potent. It took me some time to appreciate that with this venture, however once I did the movie actually opened up and took on a lifetime of its personal.
Worst recommendation: That you must act like a dick with the intention to be revered and get individuals to work exhausting. In my view, the most effective tasks are those the place everybody feels nurtured and fulfilled. That’s when individuals go the additional mile — when it’s greater than a 9 to five, they’re compelled to do their greatest, and so they really feel a private sense of possession and funding within the consequence. That sort of love and fervour reveals within the work.
W&H: What recommendation do you’ve got for different feminine administrators?
SL: Say sure to each alternative, since you by no means know which venture would be the one which will get greenlit and modifications the course of your profession.
W&H: Title your favourite woman-directed movie and why.
SL: Proper now, it’s Céline Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Woman on Hearth.” I used to be blown away by the emotional depth, visible efficiency, and cinematic richness in a movie that was basically shot on one location with no music rating! Wow!
W&H: How are you adjusting to life throughout the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you conserving inventive, and in that case, how?
SL: COVID definitely whipped up its share of challenges, particularly because it got here to ending a characteristic below distant situations. We had been lucky sufficient to have wonderful companions who discovered very inventive workarounds to make sure the movie nonetheless inched its manner ahead.
I additionally used the time to develop two new documentary tasks, which I hope to be filming as soon as the business opens again up once more in 2021.
W&H: Current protests within the U.S. and overseas have highlighted racism and anti-Black police brutality. The movie business has a protracted historical past of underrepresenting individuals of shade on display and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — destructive stereotypes. What actions do you suppose should be taken to make Hollywood and/or the doc world extra inclusive?
SL: Use the alternatives you get to present alternatives to different underrepresented factors of view who deserve the prospect too. Inclusion Riders are a technique to make sure variety is embedded into your manufacturing. It’s mainly a contract that states “I’ll solely work on this venture if we rent at the least X variety of individuals of shade (or variety in all its kinds).”
As a director, we not solely have an enormous say within the topics we work with, but in addition the crews we rent, so we will make an enormous affect just by hiring and dealing with variety in thoughts. By no means in a tokenistic manner; you don’t must. There may be unbelievable expertise on the market — you simply must look. They’re there.