Diplo Makes Directorial Film Debut With Documetary About Brazil’s Music Subculture, ‘Favelas’

By Allen Starbury  |  05/19/2010

DiploPopular Philadelphia-based DJ-producer Diplo will make his directorial film debut with a documentary called Favela on Blast, documenting a vibrant and innovative musical subculture that has emerged in Brazil's impoverished slums, known as favelas.

Well beneath the radar of mainstream society for the last 20 years, they have their own language, style and heroes. Their music and culture have gone mostly unnoticed outside of South America until now. Favela on Blast captures the rarely seen stories of MCs, DJs, dancers, and cultural producers through the eyes of Diplo and Brazilian filmmaker Leandro HBL

The film also includes memorable appearances from funk superstars Deize, Tigrona, Mr. Catra, and Duda Do Borell.

The upcoming film documents the culture surrounding "Funk Carioca," a musical rhythm that mixes the American electronic funk of the 1980s with the most diverse influences of Brazilian music. It is one of the most interesting musical movements in the world and it comes from one of the most violent and poorest places too: the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Bombastic rhythms coming from the Miami Bass and loops and samples are united to powerful rap vocals using Brazilian slang.

This music is designed to be listened to as loud as possible and with high bass pumping through the tropical nights of Rio. The heroes are the creators -- the musicians. Their pace is set between colossal street parties; propped with rudimentary sound-systems, warring drug factions, and an eerily tense city where the Police and societies elite have the upper hand until it comes to their musical culture, always Brazil's heart and nation's identity.

Favela on Blast was not an easy feat to be conquered. Little funding, unfamiliar territories, and broken translations proved to be harsh obstacles for Diplo and Leandro. However, to show the world the music that has helped acts such as Diplo, Bonde de Role, and a heap of Mad Decent artists rise to international prominence was worth the trouble, said the directors.

"Favela on Blast blazes a trail through the slums of Rio de Janeiro to survey a music scene that has been hot there for years but remains unknown to most Americans ... exciting ... outrageously sexual ... fascinating ... zips from subject to subject energetically ... enjoy the ride," said The Hollywood Reporter of the film.

Fans will get an early chance to preview the film when it airs on Pitchfork TV's "One Week Only" starting July 9th.

The film drops on July 20 digitally and on DVD through Mad Decent.

Below is the film's official trailer: