I AM NOT A HIPSTER
A “Love Letter to San Diego” – REAL, LOCAL Indy Film
By Katherine Sweetman
I AM NOT A HIPSTER’s opening sequence takes place at the Casbah. We are on stage, a microphone in our face, with the struggling musician/protagonist of the film named Brook (Dominic Bogart). The audience is waiting for a performance. There are couple of shout-outs to Tim Mays, the club’s real life owner, before Brook excuses himself from the stage, in the middle of a set, to throw up. But before he vomits into the real life toilet of one of San Diego’s most respected music venues, he performs a really good song (created by Joel P West) that sets the tone for the rest of the film.
First things first– hipster, hipster, hipster. I, personally, have never thought of the term “hipster” as negative. I would probably like to be described as a hipster, but I fear I seldom am. The lead character, however, is a hipster in the grand sense of the cliché – an artist who listens to records, plays guitar, rides a bike, smokes hand rolled cigarettes, and is (recently) vegan. But the audience gets to experience his humanity perhaps in spite of his hipsterhood. He’s a guy you might want to hate — selfish and self-centered, but none-the-less human, and he’s facing the all too human issues of the death of his mother and the fact that his ex-girlfriend is dating someone new, someone he sees as a rival and a polar opposite of everything he stands for. Brook is also fitting of the tortured artist, acting out, and then his three angelic sisters (played by Tammy Minoff, Lauren Coleman and Kandis Erickson) come to visit, bringing his estranged father and his deceased mother’s ashes. The hipster movie turns out to be something quite different, something touching and sentimental.
Another poignant theme of the film is the “call of the artist”. Brook sees himself as the true artist, the tormented soul, making meaningful music inspired by pain and loss. His best friend, Clark (played by Alvaro Orlando), is also an artist. He’s a visual artist who makes work that is silly and fun but seen as inauthentic by Brook.
“Don’t call it art,” Brook tells Clark after seeing his work. “Call it something else — call it fluffy shit.”
I love this scene. I love this sequence. Probably because I agree with Brook, and yet I do admit to enjoy “fluffy shit” in the name of “art”. It’s a conflict at the heart of the creative world, and by bravely pointing to this dilemma, the film self-reflexively calls upon its audience to think about the art they are currently watching.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. The acting is very good, and I especially enjoyed the comic relief of actor Alvaro Orlando as Clark. It’s also just really fun to watch one’s hometown represented in film. San Diegans will recognize much of the film’s backdrop. The SD Velodrome, South Park, and The Casbah are all prominently featured. Local musician Joel P. West created the songs that were performed exceptionally well by Dominic Bogart (as Brook). The film also has a soundtrack featuring tons local bands.
Destin Cretton, the writer/director of the film is a legend in certain San Diego film circles because while a graduate student at San Diego State University’s Television, Film and New Media program, out of left field, he won the Sundance Jury Prize for a short film (2009). I am Not a Hipster, his first full-length feature film, also went to Sundance (2012).
Find the film online as it makes it VOD premiere Jan 15th, at Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, Sundance Now
DVD and Blu-Rays can also be purchased online
For more info/trailers/screenings visist: http://www.iamnotahipster.com/