Local hip-hop writer and videographer Justin Schell
is in the process of directing his first feature-length documentary, and it features three Twin Cities-based musicians who use their music to bridge cultural gaps: Ghana-born rapper M.anifest, "SotaRican" songstress Maria Isa, and Hmong spoken word artist Tou SaiKo Lee.
"In addition to overturning dominant stereotypes and creating unexpected cross-generational connections, each of these artists are well-known for strengthening their local and global communities through their words, music, and actions," Schell writes in his film's mission statement
. "We Rock Long Distance
weaves together the sounds and stories of three Twin Cities hip-hop artists as they journey home to Ghana, Puerto Rico, and Thailand to create unique and unexpected cross-generational collaborations."
The first leg of Schell's journey begins with M.anifest, who will bring the filmmaker to Ghana as he collaborates with his grandfather J.H. Kwabena Nketia, a respected African composer and ethnomusicologist, for the first time and performs a 10-date tour abroad.
Watch the teaser for M.anifest's portion of the documentary here:
For more updates on this ambitious work-in-progress, follow We Rock Long Distance
, and at the documentary's website
. Schell also just launched a Kickstarter page
to help raise money for his upcoming travels abroad.
[Thanks to Secrets of the City for the tip