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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kadrae Presents The Transformative Power of Music in Religiously Themed Short Film "Dancin' N2 the Sun"

"DANCIN' N2 THE SUN" (2015)
Genre: Drama (Religious)
Length- 20:38
Company: F Land Films

K (Kadrae)  and Uncle Slim (Jeremy Dickson) are entering a songwriting contest.  At stake is $50,000.

The problem is that K has been completely blocked, and whatever he comes up with is unceremoniously shot down by Slim, who believes they should cater to the whims of the pop masses if they're going to have a shot at winning the contest.  To make matters worse, K's girlfriend, Brenda (Allison Jones) has had enough of his poverty stricken pursuit of music and leaves him the day before the song is due.

It's up to K and Slim to work out some way that they can compromise and create a hit that will change their lives . . .

MAN VS. THE UNIVERSE

Kadrae wrote, produced and directed this short film -- "Dancin' N2 the Sun" -- and his goal was to create a fun musical with a positive message while promoting being a good person and faith in a higher power.  Does he succeed?  Well, that depends on who you are when you sit down to watch the film.

The Devil (played by a comically malicious Herman Farrell Carter, Jr.) makes an appearance, as does a character dubbed God's Angel (DC Da Great).  The Devil does his best to dishearten K and bring his lofty goals crashing down to Earth.  When the strain on K gets too great, God's Angel jumps the Devil and beats him down -- something which happens several times, is always played for laughs and becomes repetitive very fast.

The twist in the finale isn't exactly surprising, but without K witnessing any other supernatural events, it seems unbelievable he would just accept the explanation for what happened.  I don't want to say more -- it'd spoil it.

But at its heart, "Dancin' N2 the Sun" is about music and its capacity for healing and transformation, and the almost spiritual way in which we experience it.
 
THINKING HARD

So . . . does "Dancin' N2 the Sun" live up to Kadrae's vision?

If you believe in God and the Devil and angels, then you might find an amusing and warm drama that manages to address some big issues.  While it doesn't say much about those issues, the fact that they're presented at all is a major accomplishment in the movie market of today.

If on the other hand you're not a believer, some of the film is going to come off as too "on the nose" -- some spiritual elements would have been best addressed in a metaphorical sense.  The conclusion will also leave you a bit cold.

That is not to say there's nothing to enjoy here if you are not a devout Christian.  K's struggle is easy to relate to, and anyone who has attempted to make their life their living will know how important it is to have a strong support system.  K and Slim have a good dynamic and play off one another well.

So, like I said before -- what do you believe?  That will dictate whether you will enjoy "Dancin' N2 the Sun" or just appreciate it for what it is.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 2 / 5.  While the metaphysical elements feel forced and are played largely for laughs, I still felt for the main character and his predicament.   The "epilogue" at the end is over the top positive, giving each character a Happily Ever After.  We are never allowed to know Brenda's full story -- she comes off as extremely mean during her short time on screen, but surely there's something K did besides not make enough money for her liking.  If not, then perhaps he needs to pick his girlfriends a little more carefully.
Directing: 3 / 5 .  A more than serviceable job done by Kadrae and cinematographer Alonzo Williams.  The film itself is extremely low tech, with the camera's auto-focus wreaking havoc on the carefully composed shots that would otherwise be very enjoyable.  Even if the production values couldn't always back them up, I appreciated what he was going for.
Editing: 3 / 5.  The film cuts together well, but the film feels a little slow, due in part to some repetitive dialogue -- particularly in the first scene between K and Brenda.  Also, the aforementioned "epilogue" speeds by without providing enough time for me to finish reading what was there before another page took its place.
Sound/Music: 2.5 / 5.  The title song is catchy and upbeat and I enjoyed it.  As a whole, the film's sound design is problematic at best, with some scenes noticeably recorded at different times and different rooms.
Acting: 3 / 5.  The actors do the best they can do with some at times questionable dialogue, but they get the point across and allow this movie to have its say.

Final Grade: 2.7 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "Dancin' N2 the Sun" and follow producer/writer/director/composer Kadrae on Facebook!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!