Indie Film

May 10, 2016 11:03 am

Dannika Horvat is a multitalented musician and filmmaker from Melbourne who recently released her first single “Next to You” from her upcoming EP For Peaches. ATYPICAL SOUNDS jumped on the opportunity to speak with this Renaissance woman on her music and other projects.

Dannika_3Congratulations on your signing to Solitaire. What would you like people to know about you? Is there anything you’d like them to know about your music before listening to it?

I have always loved singing and writing music but have never played an instrument, which makes writing music pretty hard. I watched Whiplash, and although that doesn’t make being a musician seem super appealing, I bought a bass the next day and started plucking away. I’m very terrible at bass but it provided me with a platform to make music with very talented musicians who actually know what they’re doing, which has been very cool.

Your bandmates Liam and Stefan are also in the band Good Morning. How did you all come to be working together?

Liam and Stefan are my very dear friends who have been lovely enough to lend their time and talents to this little project. We all went to high school together so we’ve been mates since way back. One day I played Liam my first song on his front porch and he messaged Stefan saying, let’s make an album. I’m very grateful to those boys because they’ve had to coach me through this whole process and they’re so bloody talented, it is so much fun working with them. Also Paul Ceraso, our drummer, is one of the best people in the world. I’d be lost without my boys.

I’ve heard you describe your work as “four mates making soft, feminine rock.” What does femininity in rock music mean to you? Do you feel it’s part of a larger discussion on feminism in the music industry?

Femininity means something different to everyone, but to me, in my music it’s a sort of dreaminess with some pretty vulnerable lyrics. But femininity in music is so broad which is what is so beautiful about it. You’ve got bands like Terrible Truths, who are just kick ass women writing really incredible music that makes you feel super powerful and on top of your shit.

Most of my favourite musicians are women so as long as they get to keep doing what they love the way they want to, I’d be pretty happy.

You also wrote and directed a short film in 2014, The Summer of ABC Burns. The theme of girls being mean to each other is one that seems to come up in media frequently. Is your story based on an experience you had? Do you think it could help someone in the same age group who is questioning their sexuality?

The Summer of ABC Burns came from my own experience and addresses the sometimes toxic nature of young female friendships. I was very keen to write a film that dealt with the classic trope of best friend/worst enemy that so many girls encounter in high school.

The film definitely doesn’t set the best example of how to deal with sexuality in the dog eat dog world of high school. It’s kind of a what not to do. But I think there is a lot of power in seeing someone like you on screen, so in that way the film is hopefully helpful.

Your Tumblr feed that features your photography is pretty extensive. What do you look for when taking pictures? Are you looking to tell a story about your life, or are you looking to learn about the lives of other people? Is it some combination of the two?

It’s a combination but I am definitely more drawn to taking photos of people I know and love than documenting strangers, and that is purely because I am very shy with the lens. I like documenting intimate moments and nice days spent with great people.

What are your favorite Tumblr feeds to follow?

I’m not actually super active on Tumblr but my favourite Instagram feeds are @savage_woman, @gdayimajay, @james.pdf, @oatsthelabel, @emmacollard, @chessycarey, and @chadoner

All great people with nice photos of cool things.

Are there other artists (musicians or otherwise) in Melbourne you feel deserve more attention?

Frances Fox is a beautiful band from Melbourne whose latest EP, Electric You, is one of my favourite things to listen to at the moment. I received the tape as a gift from my housemate and I think their music is so lovely.

What are your favorite venues in Melbourne to listen to music?

I love the Tote because I had a really great Christmas Eve there last year where I saw Dick Diver and it was just the best gig. It was a million degrees and everyone was dripping just from standing there but it was very fun. It’s also really easy to ride to from my house and that’s cool too. I also like the Gasometer, it’s such a beautiful building.

What are your plans for 2016? Will you be releasing an LP? Are you working on any new films?

2016 will consist of me finishing my masters in screenwriting and hopefully making another short film. We have no solid plans at the moment to make another album but there are some songs that are very special to me that I’d love to record one day.

April 19, 2016 5:55 pm

We all know him. The morbidly interesting guy who takes the every-day bullshit he deals with and sort of attempts to transform it into comedy for others. Unable to truly open up about his personal drama in order to be successful at this, Paul Scott (Alex Karpovsky) is a familiar character with an opportunity to change his life for the better and not taking it.

Jeff Grace’s feature debut Folk Hero and Funny Guy premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this past Sunday. Tribeca’s films are known and expected to behold a portrait of creative vision in film; unique perspectives on original stories told in a distinctive style that are always comforting, knowing that true filmic innovation still has a place to thrive. For Folk Hero however, it was hardly atypical. It’s reminiscent of those lovable road movies, like one of Karpovsky’s own, Red Flag, that have similar themes of seeking inspiration and breaking out of one’s comfort zone. Meredith Hagner gives a cool performance as Bryn, the local singer-songwriter who joins the boys on tour and becomes a true test to their friendship.

A temp worker who swims in the juvenile angst of his own misfortune, dumped by his beautiful fiance who seeks a more stable and fulfilling life, Paul is given the opportunity to find himself and explore the beautiful US of A with his longtime pal; simple-minded, sexy, blonde, moderately successful folk-rock musician, Jason Black (Wyatt Russell). Paul is brought on tour as a stand-up comic to open up each of Jason’s shows. He ditches his office job and goes with every intention of both finding a crowd that would laugh at his bad E-vite joke, and figuring out how he’s going to make it back to the top…not that he was ever at the top. The overwhelming urge to yell at him to “STFU” about that pathetic joke that no one will laugh at became redundant…however self-reflective. How often do we make excuses for rudimentary behavior so we can justify never having to change? Change is scary. It’s also necessary.

Although Jason seems like the air-headed rocker dude who just lives his life night by night, he almost ends up having a real depth to him. The engaged woman that he was apparently in love with sat him down and broke the truth; “You are only good for one night.” That could have a harsh affect on anyone, but it looks like Jason got out his sorry emotions in about 11 seconds, then went right back to being good for one night. Within those 11 seconds however, he was able to insult Bryn and piss off Paul to the point that Paul finally found some new material for his comedy. This of course, muddled together with realizing the extent of one’s potential, is what ultimately brought everyone to where they were meant to be.

Despite a few dull moments of predictability, Folk Hero and Funny Guy offers inspiring bites for those who could relate to Paul’s limbo state between wanting to thrive creatively, not giving a damn about boring responsibilities like his buddy Jason, and having to buckle down and get the dreaded 9-5. It’s a coming of age movie…for grown ups. “Desire, Hope, Hunger and Freedom” are what drives the three of them to take on the dive bars of America. It’s enough to kick your ass down to self-doubt and sorrow. It’s also enough to fulfill your life more than you could ever expect.

The music throughout the movie, written by Adam Ezra, was a beautiful soundtrack to the simplicity and charm that was nicely executed by both Hagner and Russell. I didn’t expect his voice to sound as raw and sexy as it did. But the rough depth in his voice mixed with the warm and toasty sound of Hagner’s created a lovely duality that the film encapsulated.

Written by Annie Paul 

April 18, 2016 10:22 am

April 13th marked the very first day of 2016’s Tribeca Film Festival. An iconic display of visual art, this year’s screenings include some pretty ambitious entries, as well as various directorial debuts from talented, pioneering women like Katie Holmes, Leyla Bouzid and Rachel Tunnard. One woman in particular however, is truly setting the bar at a uniquely high caliber.

Defined by filmmaker Smriti Keshari as “contained chaos,” The Bomb is a fiery immersion into the uncomfortable, yet relevant reality of nuclear weapons. This media installation will include a 360° display of a combination of film footage and animation created by Stanley Donwood projected on eight massive floor-to-ceiling screens from United Visual Artists. Meanwhile, The Acid will accompany the movie with a live performance to stimulate energy and force of the nuclear subject.

Created by Eric Schlosser (writer/director of Fast Food Nation) and Smriti Keshari (Food Chains), the film is expected to be a truly emotional experience for those who hold any knowledge of the stigmatized relationship between nuclear engineering and the countries involved (or rumored to be involved) with it.

The audience will experience a recreation of nuclear testing and attacks while being immersed in the cultural and political implications of the powerful man-made technology. And the bomb couldn’t be more timely. There are currently nine nations that have stockpiles of more than 15,000 nuclear weapons; many of those weapons are far more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Tribeca Film Fest 

This screening will conclude Tribeca’s Film Fest’s Interactive and Experiential portion on April 23rd and 24th at 7PM and 10PM both nights. Preceding will be a panel by the creators of the film and actor and advocate for nuclear non-proliferation Michael Doulas. Buy tickets here

Written by Annie Paul