GET YOUR 10s
DIRECTORS: RASHAAD NEWSOME, JOHNNY SYMONS
A Black queer artist collaborates with global vogue dancers and cutting-edge technologists to transform a historic military building into a space for renewal, innovation and celebration.
New Orleans-born artist Rashaad Newsome uses the spirit of collage to meld performance, sculpture, video, and technology into a multi-dimensional experience. His artwork abstracts the dance form of vogue, celebrating the legendary US Black and Latinx queer voguers who initiated the practice as well as newer international dancers who are fusing vogue with their local movement traditions.
Get Your 10s follows Rashaad as he creates the biggest show of his career in an unlikely location: a historic military training facility in the wealthiest neighborhood in Manhattan. Complete with a 30-foot hologram, a gospel choir, the premier vogue dancers from the US, Japan, Brazil, Senegal and Ukraine, and a spirited non-binary artificial intelligence named Being, Rashaad transforms a bunker of colonization into a sanctuary for Black queer healing and celebration. In the process, he reveals how art and ballroom culture can unleash our collective imaginations to envision a future that holds promise for all of us.
Get Your 10s is a cinematic exploration of three intersecting stories: an interdisciplinary artist’s process, the global dissemination of Black queer culture, and the celebration of contemporary dance.
Central to the narrative and the artwork is the dance form of voguing, which has transcended its roots in New York’s Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ community and catapulted to popularity on a global stage. Following in the footsteps of previous art forms originated by African-Americans — jazz, blues, rock, and hip-hop — vogue is on the precipice of being co-opted and disconnected from its origins as a form of resistance against systemic oppression. But as it migrates around the world, vogue’s new aficionados are not just extracting from the culture – they are combining it with their own regional dances and changing the art form itself.
The film also features a non-human protagonist: Being. Developed through a residency at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, Being is a digital form of the griot, a West African cultural figure who serves as a historian, library, performance artist, and healer. Described by the New York Times as “gracious and humble … sweet, sassy and a bit goofy,” Being conducts decolonization workshops that playfully combine dance instruction with critical inquiry and inspire participants to reflect deeply and take actions towards a more holistic and egalitarian future.
The film’s visual approach includes Being’s futuristic flair and visual effects layered over the performances to embellish the dancers’ movements. More traditional documentary storytelling strategies — observational camerawork and informal interviews — are used to capture intimate moments in art and performance studios, dressing rooms, homes and public spaces.
Creative control is shared by the directors, with substantial input from the subjects/collaborators. With production now 90% completed, funds earned at DocPitch will go to immediate use to expand our editing team. Get Your 10s is intended for a broadscale international festival, theatrical, television and museum release. Programmers from Sundance, SXSW and Tribeca are interested in premiering the film, and our production team has had previous documentaries screen on HBO, Netflix, PBS and dozens of networks around the world.
At a time when many social issue documentaries tell stories that are depressing, Get Your 10s manages to be thought-provoking as well as entertaining and empowering. As it follows a motivated group of talented BIPOC queer artists on a journey of personal and professional success, the film fuses personal storytelling with arresting visuals, technology, culture and contemporary art while simultaneously calling for deep reflection and systemic change.
VOTING OPENS THURSDAY, APRIL 27 • 10AM PT
VOTING CLOSES THURSDAY, MAY 11 • MIDNIGHT PT
WINNERS ANNOUNCED SUNDAY, MAY 14
|START OF PRODUCTION:
|New York, Oakland, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Warsaw, Berlin, London, Rotterdam
|Persistent Visions / Rashaad Newsome Studio
|Berkeley Film Foundation, San Francisco State University
|CURRENT PROJECT STATUS:
|By late April, we expect to be approaching the assembly stage, with a first rough cut planned by the end of summer.
DIRECTOR / PRODUCER
Rashaad Newsome is a multidisciplinary artist whose work blends several practices—including collage, sculpture, film, music, technology, and performance—to form an altogether new field. Using the diasporic tradition of improvisation, he crafts compositions that speak of and to Black and queer culture and walk the tightrope between intersectionality, social practice and abstraction. He has exhibited and/or performed at The Studio Museum in Harlem, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Whitney Museum, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. Newsome has created 15 short films which have screened at festivals and been acquired by numerous institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and SFMOMA. For the past two years, he has been a visiting artist at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.
DIRECTOR / PRODUCER
Johnny Symons is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker specializing in LGBTQ+ documentaries. He has directed and produced four features, including the groundbreaking Daddy & Papa, as well as many shorts. His work has premiered at Sundance, Full Frame and SFFILM, screened at 250+ international festivals, won 25+ awards and broadcast in 20+ countries. He is co-producer of the Academy Award-nominated feature Long Night’s Journey Into Day and executive producer of Pray Away. Symons has been a Fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, and his work has been funded by ITVS, HBO, Sundance, Catapult, Frameline and Tribeca. He is an Associate Professor at the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University, where he coordinates the MFA Program.