For most of us, we may never get to see the other side of the globe or how the rest of the world lives. But no matter how far-off or distant, we are still intricately connected. With our own set of experiences, trials and tribulations, everyone has a story waiting to be heard. For two years, producers Kim Dryden and Austin Smith have been working on a feature length documentary film – entitled Manileños – that tells the story of several young street artists in Manila, Philippines. In their final leg, Dryden and Smith have created a Kickstarter in hopes to gain support of completing the film.
Being a part of hip-hop culture, we are a worldwide community. Collectively, we have the ability to transcend boundaries and move beyond the places that confine us. Truly embracing this idea, artists – more specifically graffiti artists – all around the globe have been the agents of culture. Giving voices to the streets, the art speaks the story of the people in volumes.
Spending six months in Manila, Dryden and Smith documented the lives of several artists and saw the world through their lens. Focusing on the harshness of urban life and communicating complex ideas, Jood Clarino “The Scholar” has channeled his art towards his teaching career. Comprised of three artists, Gerilya “The Nationalists” define their work into three categories: historical, cultural and socio-political. Lee Salvador, “The Entrepreneur,” features intensely colorful and personal works of art. Extremely talented, Brian Barrios, “The Activist,” has dedicated his life and work towards a political movement. All different in their own ways, they still come together as Manileños advocating a need to be heard and the people to be recognized.
With many hands on the documentary from artists, cinematographers and production assistants, the project has morphed into a community-created project. More importantly, beginning with this film, it contributes to the grander concept of the Filipino Street Art Project (FSAP). Through FSAP, the goals are “to work across many forms of media to document street art in order to spark discussion about larger global issues and provide artists the international attention they deserve.”
From the hip-hop community, we’ve learned the people make the culture and the arts serve as the words of the people. But the question always remains, “Who’s willing to listen?”
For more information, we highly encourage checking out the Kickstarter page and consider supporting the project.