Help Brontez Launch Ed Mock film!
I need $8,750 to support the final post-production work on Unstoppable Feat, The Dances of Ed Mock. For the past ten months, my film and dance team have been compensated by to create the film through the generous support of the Rainin Foundation, the Creative Work Fund, and an anonymous dance enthusiast. All artists will have been 100% compensated up till now, but we are over budget and are looking for the final funds to enable an additional 75 hours of work on the final edit by Mineko Brand. The film is due to premiere on March 31 at The Lab!
Even though we are over budget on the production, The Lab has committed to matching up to $4K of funds raised through this GoFundMe!
I am an Oakland-based black gay filmmaker, musician, dancer, and writer. Hailing from Triana, Alabama, I relocated to the Bay Area at 19, began playing in bands, and worked my way to touring North and South America and Europe many times. I began studying African and modern dance in Oakland, where I joined several companies before launching Brontez Purnell Dance Company in 2009.
In 2013, I screened clips of Free Jazz, a 16MM dance film I made with my company at The Luggage Store Gallery. Gallery director Darryl Smith showed it to his sister Amara Tabor-Smith, choreographer and dance lecturer at Berkeley. Amara Tabor-Smith then invited me to be a part of a 5-hour traveling site-specific San Francisco-based dance project honoring her old teacher Ed Mock.
I immediately became intrigued with Mock’s life, seeking materials and footage and finding very little to be publicly accessible. I then approached Dena Beard, Director of The Lab, in search of support for this ambitious project. I proposed a piece that will necessarily avoid the dry academic tone prevalent in so many documentaries that tend to divorce the subject from life and render it as an "object observed". The subject of Ed Mock (much like the man himself) is ripe with humor, defiance, creative growth, tenacity, and survival. I explores Mock through found footage, old interviews, text, photos, interviews with members of his former company, with filmed re-creations of his dance works, and talks with the current canon of Bay Area postmodern choreographers.
Ed Mocks’ radically experimental dance form left a lasting mark on the San Francisco performance art scene. Although he died in 1986 at the height of the AIDS epidemic, his story is worth telling for it is situated between many contexts and communities including performance, the avant-garde, African American life, gay sexuality, gentrification, and artist eviction. The film intends to reveal the hopes, aspirations, and lasting legacy of Ed Mock through his colleagues, students, and the current generation of Bay Area dance and performance artists.
For my own work, Mock represents the missing choreographic link between Alvin Ailey, Anna Halprin, and Bill T. Jones. As Tabor-Smith taught me Mock’s work, I realized he is my direct predecessor, creatively. The cross-section of his career, placement in the underground dance world, and experiences as a gay black man who died of AIDS early in the pandemic, these parallel my life and are barely written or recorded. (Read Mock’s brief Wikipedia page to verify his absence from the cultural history.) We – artists, Black queers, Bay Area dancers, HIV + gay men - have to extract our collective past and create the historical record.
I wrote, choreographed, produced and directed the film with collaborators Mineko Brand, Stephen Quinones, and Juvenal Cisneros. This is a reimagining the work and life of Ed Mock through archival research, interviews, choreographic interpretations, music and film. Myself and four local dancers, Hector Rodas, Garth Grimball, Micah Morris, Kelly Dezart Smith created dance interpretations of three Ed Mock pieces for camera; these will serve as a critical element in the film. The new and re-created choreography will expand Mock’s publicly accessible archives for future dance audiences.
225 hours @ 30/hour on postproduction work = $6,750
50 hours @ $30/hour on After Effects Animation = $1,500
Final audio mix = $500
Total needed = $8,750