Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"Whole Train" film screening, LA premiere

The story has been told before...Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story...But, with Whole Ttrain there's a difference. This rivalry is between two graffiti crews - KSB (Keep Steel Burning) - and ATL (Above The Law) and their battle for supremacy in their town of Munich, Germany.

Munich, USA It might seem ironic to see such an American (aka New York) tale of graffiti wars cloned by Germans and accompanied by English subtitles in Los Angeles. But, remember when breaking and hip hop fell off in the States in the '80 and '90s it lived on in Europe and beyond. Germany is still the home of the world's largest breakdance championship better known as "Battle of the Year" (so well documented in the 2007 film, "Planet B-Boy.") And Zeb Roc Ski (aka Akim Walta,) the hip hop historian and recording artist, wrote the indispensable photo book "Hip Hop Files" which is illustrated by Martha Cooper!

The Whole Train LA premiere played to a full house at the Goethe-Institut, a cultural center for anything German. It was like a little underground scene with old skool heads like Asia One (B-Boy Summit, No Easy Props) and Yem in da house. As was director, Florian Gaag who shared some of the details on how he made the film so realistic.

Some writers in the audience asked how come the bombing scenes were so realistic. The answer was that some scenes were actual covert trips to the train yards! Other scenes were shot in Poland where Florian was introduced to a friendly train company willing to allow him to shoot in their yards. A crazy story only Florian can do justice to.

Go get the DVD of Whole Train - all the actors are intense. Instead of casting graffiti writers who could act (they couldn't, ;) ) Florian ended up choosing actors who could paint to play the four stars of the film – David, Tino, Elyas and Achim. Look closely and you'll spot the work of international graffiti artists NEON, WON, CEMNOZ, PURE and CIEL who were responsible for the artwork in the film.

This summer Florian Gaag released the soundtrack CD produced by himself (aka AERO ONE.) This guy is one all-round b-boy! The CD features hip hop names like KRS-One! O.C., Planet Asia, Afu-Ra, Grand Agent, Tame One, Akrobatik, REEF the Lost Cauze, Roger Rekless and El Da Sensei.


Urban World Vibe Film Festival New York - Best Narrative Feature Film

Kiev International Film Festival Molodist - Best Feature Film & Audience Award

Cologne Conference - Best Feature Film

Starter Film Award - City of Munich

Sarajevo International Film Festival - Best Youth Film

Exground International Film Festival - Best Youth Film

Boston International Film Festival - Best Narrative Feature Film

HipHop Odyssey International Film Festival New York - Best Narrative Feature Film

Berlin International Film Festival - Special Mention "Dialogue En Perspective"

3 Grimme Awards: (Screenplay / Direction: Florian Gaag), Camera (Christian Rein), Editing: Kai Schröter)

Prenominations for the German Fim Awards in six categories: Best Film, Best Editing, Best Set Design, Best Score, Best Sound Design, Best Costume.

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