Memphis Jookin Documentary

Memphis Movement – Jookin: The Urban Ballet

Synopsis

There is a movement rising from the inner city streets of Memphis TN and taking the dance world by storm. Jookin, (aka gangsta walkin, buckin, choppin,) is an art form like none other, defying the laws of physics with freestyle movement and hip hop swag.

 

Born from the "gangsta" music and mindset of the Memphis club scene in the late 80's, Jookin has evolved into an outlet for urban youth in a city that often leads the nation in violent crimes.

 

Get an inside look into the culture inspired by this style that has been hidden from the world for over 20 years, now making its way into the mainstream thanks to the efforts of the Udig Dance Academy and rising dance legends like Daniel Price, Dr Rico, G-Nerd, Ladia Yates and Lil Buck!

 

Filmed from 2009-2013 and Featuring commentary from Memphis celebrities Crunchy Black (3-6 Mafia), Al Kapone, Lil Wolf (G-style), Young Jai, and Tarrik Moore (Udig), Memphis Movement is sure to wow you, getting you up to speed on the life-changing value of this historic art form which hails from the Birthplace of Rock and roll and the home of the blues.

Click here to watch the Full Film!

“Provides a fascinating look at the Memphis-originated dance style known as “jooking,”
John BeifussFilm Critic: The Commercial Appeal

Filmmaker Comments

Poster at the San Diego Black Film Festival

Poster at the San Diego Black Film Festival

Thanks so much for wanting to learn more about the film!

 

Memphis Movement started as the thesis project for my film degree at the University of Memphis

 

 

I had been introduced to the Jookin' world by a friend when I moved to Memphis for school and thought it was an amazing art. When it came time to pick a topic for a film, it was a no-brainer.

 

I saw that there was great Jookin' material being produced and promoted by Young Jai at the time, but I thought it would be a great idea to compile the past, present, and future of the art together into a documentary from the perspective of someone who knew nothing about the dance.

 

I reached out to Young Jai and he put me in touch with Tarrik Moore who had recently founded the UDIG Jookin academy, and from there I began to immerse myself in the world of Jookin.

 

I wanted to document it historically. I wanted to get the word out about the good that the dance was contributing to our city. I could tell that Jookin was about to take off globally and wanted to do my part to help it become a household name. I also wanted to help ensure that the dance would be associated with all of the hard-work, artistry, and positivity that surrounded the community I was getting to know.

 

Assistant Filmmaker Jonathan Thomason, recording recording dancer B-Frank

Assistant Filmmaker Jonathan Thomason, recording recording dancer B-Frank

It was very important for me to have no narration or excess external input in the film, but to let the members of the community speak for themselves and tell their stories in their own words. This provided for a lot of challenges in the editing room, but was worth it in how sincere and completely authentic the film is.

 

Tarrik, Daniel Price, Ellis Fowler, Dr. Rico, and G-Nerd during Q&A at the Indie Memphis Film festival

Tarrik, Daniel Price, Ellis Fowler, Dr. Rico, and G-Nerd during Q&A at the Indie Memphis Film festival

Although my thesis was originally only supposed to be a short, I expanded the film after graduation to create something for the general public.

 

The film went on to do a modest festival tour, picking up a special Jury award from the indie Memphis film festival. Winning Best Urban documentary at the Southern Black Writers and Artists film festival, and being an official selection of the prestigious San Diego Black film festival in addition to a few others.

 

Anyone who saw the original version of the film will notice there have been a few revisions over the years. Although I originally expected to do a wide release after principle filming was done, there were some hang-ups in terms of distribution. I took a break from promoting the film as I dealt with moving to Los Angeles and other aspects of my career. As big things happened within the community, I took notes, did a few extra interviews and updated what I could.

 

When it came time to get the film off of the limited shelves it had been on and push it to a wider audience, I felt that a free viewing platform would give the film and the Jookin' community the widest possible reach. And as a rising filmmaker the prospect of more eyes on my passion project was very appealing.

mockups

 

As a filmmaker, I know that this film isn't perfect. It was my first attempt at taking on a project of this scale. The budget was nonexistent, and the learning curve was tremendous. But at the end of the day I am extremely proud of the outcome of the film and I am super grateful for all of the people who helped make this project a reality. I am blessed to have the support of friends, family and members of the Jookin' community who have waited all too patiently for this film to resurface.

 

I am also grateful for you. Please tell everyone you know to check out the film and support the future endeavors of myself and the Jookin community.

 

Thanks so much for watching, take care.

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