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A pair of Brooklyn filmmakers has taken two of the fundamental aspects of the borough — hipsters and West Indian culture — and thrown them together in a road trip-flick that is earning awards on the festival circuit.
“Wah Do Dem” — which means “what’s wrong with them” in Jamaican patois — tells the story of Max (played by Sean Bones), whose trip to Jamaica gets off to a rocky start before he even leaves his hipster comfort-zone in Williamsburg.
Max is a familiar filmic trope: he’s in a band, skateboards on Kent Avenue, hangs out at Pete’s Candy Store, and dates Willow, played by Norah Jones (whoa, that’s not familiar). Jones promptly dumps Max on the Williamsburg waterfront right before his cruise to the Caribbean, leaving this once-confident scenester lost at sea.
“Max is a somewhat privileged musician — he believes he’s a guy who knows what’s up,” said one of the film’s directors, Ben Chace. “But then he gets to Jamaica and realizes he’s not as cool as he thought he was.”
Once Max hits rock bottom, he gets out of his bubble and ends up having an authentic experience abroad — a useful lesson for all the Williamsburg noobs who never stray from the L train.
The film, which won “Best Narrative Feature” at the Los Angeles Film Festival, as well as “Best International Feature” at the Reggae Film Festival in Jamaica, will have its New York City premiere as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s CinemaFest on the June 15.
Chace and co-director Sam Fleischner shot the movie in Brooklyn and in Jamaica. The duo even got Jones to write an original song for the flick, which she performed with Bones — a musician in his own right.
To promote “Wah Do Dem,” the filmmakers are throwing a block party on June 13 that will feature several reggae dancehall acts, including Jahdan Blakkamoore, who has collaborated with Major Lazer.
Jones — a newcomer to Brooklyn herself — might even show up.
“After she began filming our movie, she moved to Cobble Hill, so we’d like to claim credit for that,” Chace joked.
“Wah Do Dem” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4111], June 15 at 6:50 pm. The block party (corner of Lafayette and Fulton streets in Fort Greene) is on June 13 from 2 to 6 pm.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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