Look out for Bouncing Cats this Wednesday at the Manifesto Film Fest [Article]
Toronto, ON – Covered already by the likes of The Source, Hypebeast, HighSnobiety and Kanye West, Bouncing Cats is receiving world-wide acclaim. HipHopCanada sits down with Bouncing Cats’ Crazy Legs and director Nabil Elderkin for a little two on one about the film which will be featured this Wednesday, September 22nd at the Manifesto Film Fest.
INTERVIEW – BOUNCING CATS: CRAZY LEGS
HipHopCanada: How did you hear about Breakdance Project Uganda?
Nabil: I heard about it from a friend Claire Lewis from OXFAM in the UK. I was staying with her in Kampala for a separate trip and she told me a little about Abramz, and I really wanted to meet him, all went from there.
HipHopCanada: What made you decide to get involved?
Crazy Legs: I don’t think it’s a matter of me deciding to get involved with them. The way it happened was very simple. Red Bull called me up and told me that there was a trip coming up, no money involved. That trip happened to be a goodwill trip to Uganda. And immediately said to put me on. It was something that I felt that anyone should do. TO have the opportunity to help kids as well as setting my feet on the birthplace of civilization.
HipHopCanada: What drove you to make the film?
Nabil: What drove me was the energy and will i witnessed from the kids of Breakdance project Uganda, their determination and kinship is amazing.
HipHopCanada: What was the most challenging aspect of filming?
Nabil: Oooo, tough question…the heat. Actually it was really going back and forth filming these kids with no results and no film until recently. It was a long process and you want immediate results for these kids and that isn’t possible. So much involved in getting a film done and out!
HipHopCanada: What is your fondest memory of your trip to Uganda?
Crazy Legs: My fondest memory was a total overview of how Hip Hop can truly be used as a tool to help people. Afrika Bambaataa has always told us that it was a tool and that we should all use it in that manner. I truly admired the innocence of their honest approach and calculated methods to do the right thing by their people and Hip Hop.
HipHopCanada: How was teaching b-boy classes there?
Crazy Legs: Teaching classes was difficult. I found it extremely hard to cover up the pain that I felt about the living conditions in Uganda. I was teaching with a broken heart. But, the show had to go on and I did the best that I could.
HipHopCanada: Why do you think Hip Hop is so powerful?
Crazy Legs: Hip Hop is powerful because it brings all cultures together. NUFF SAID!
Nabil: No one owns it… it has a rhythm and feeling that speaks to the youth, and it moves your body, it’s all relative, it didn’t have to be hip-hop, could have been jazz, samba… but it was hip-hop.
HipHopCanada: What did you learn from Abraham Tekya aka Abramz Tekya, the founder of B.P.A?
Crazy Legs: It’s not so much what I learned from him, but what the whole situation taught me. Most of the world is spoiled and doesn’t have a clue as to what real hard times are. Most of our poor is still doing better then the poorest in Uganda.
HipHopCanada: How did you get Common, K’naan, Will.I.Am, and Mos Def involved with the project?
Nabil: Asked them!
HipHopCanada: How did you get involved in this year’s MANIFESTO Festival?
Crazy Legs: Red Bull and Bouncing Cats.
Nabil: SOL GUY
HipHopCanada: What has been the biggest challenge for you as an artist? What are you most proud of over the years?
Crazy Legs: The biggest challenge is teaching people how to represent what they’re a part of properly and taking a chance on certain people that don’t deserve to have the word Rock Steady Crew on their shirts. I’m most proud of my son. He’s an amazing young man. I couldn’t ask for a better son.
HipHopCanada: What do you hope to accomplish with the film?
Nabil: A center built for these kids! To shed light on what they are doing, and just simply generate some emotional reaction from viewers that might lead to more…
HipHopCanada: What films are you feeling right now?
Nabil: Le Prophet… wow! What a film… just about to watch Sin Nombre. Can’t wait!
HipHopCanada: What can we expect from you at MANIESTO this year?
Crazy Legs: Expect me to show up. haha. What I mean by that is, If i’m going to DJ, dance or answer questions, I will do them to the best of my capabilities. And then I’ll try harder.
Nabil: My best wishes.
HipHopCanada: What is your MANIFESTO?
Crazy Legs: Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.
Nabil: It’s all relative!
HipHopCanada: Final words?
Crazy Legs: Please, no pork when I get there. I love good food. And which way to the after party?Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed.
Nabil: Thanks for screening the film! Hope you enjoy.
Uganda has been called one of the worst places on earth to be a child. In the South, children face the threat of poverty and disease. In the North, these threats are enflamed by a brutal, mindless war inflicted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (L.R.A.) that has divided families, displaced millions, and led to the abduction and mutilation of tens of thousands of children resulting in the deterioration of identity and culture.
Bouncing Cats is the inspiring story of one man’s attempt to create a better life for the children of Uganda using the unlikely tool of hip-hop with a focus on b-boy culture and breakdance. In 2006, Abraham “Abramz” Tekya, a Ugandan b-boy and A.I.D.S. orphan created Breakdance Project Uganda (B.P.U.). The dream was to establish a free workshop that would empower, rehabilitate and heal the community by teaching youth about b-boy culture. Based in Kampala, Uganda, B.P.U. has recently expanded to include permanent classes in Gulu, Northern Uganda. Abramz teaches classes three times a week to more than 300 kids from all parts of the country. Many of the children are homeless, victims of war and poverty, and few can afford proper schooling yet they walk from miles away to attend the B.P.U. classes. As Abramz says, “This is where many people’s pride is. It’s a skill that no one can take away from us.”
Crazy Legs, one of the founding members of the seminal Rock Steady Crew visited Uganda after receiving an invitation from Abramz to teach b-boy classes. What he discovered upon his arrival was both heartbreaking and inspiring. Traveling throughout Uganda, from the southern slums to the war-torn North, Crazy Legs encountered a passion for hip-hop and desire to learn amongst the most squalid conditions.
Bouncing Cats follows Abramz, Crazy Legs, and Breakdance Project Uganda on a journey to use hip-hop culture for positive social change. The film features narration by Common and interviews with Mos Def, Will-I-Am, and K’naan.
Written by Julia Che for HipHopCanada