This film student-turned musician-turned director had to "unlearn" everything to make his debut feature.
You may know Steve Ellison better by his beat-making alias Flying Lotus, or perhaps even as Flying Lotus' MC alias, Captain Murphy. Music, however, was not his first love. The director, who now simply goes by "Steve," actually went to film school far before he laid down his first mixtape. Just don't call him a product of the cinematic education system.
Steve's debut feature Kuso truly goes against every single rule his teachers may have taught him back in his days as a student. In fact, Steve says he had to consciously take some time off to unlearn film school, where he believes things were taught to be done in a certain, almost factory-like way. He is a staunch believer that if you limit yourself to what you learn there, you may miss out on crucial organic discoveries.
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Instead, Kuso plays out more like his music: free-form, chaotic, jazz-like. It is comprised of four horrifying shorts, woven together, but separated by a series of animated hip-hop freak-outs that, when put together, form some sort of grotesque psychedelic tapestry.
After missing out on an interview due to horrendous weather conditions when his film premiered back at Sundance, I finally got the chance to sit down with Steve to talk about what scares him about being a filmmaker, erasing all self-doubt, and jumping into your first project with a punk rock, let's do this attitude. Kuso premieres via Shudder July 21.
Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here.