×

IDFA: French Helmer Mathieu Rochet ‘Chasin’’ Trap Music to Its Source (EXCLUSIVE)

When an offbeat daydreamer is sent by the God of Rap to save the world from an epidemic of trap music, he travels to its Atlanta source in search of a hip-hop savior: OutKast, the pioneering Southern rap duo that all but vanished from the music scene a decade ago.

Described by director Mathieu Rochet as an “accidental portrait” of Atlanta and its vibrant hip-hop industry, “Chasin’ ATL” offers an unconventional tribute to trap—the dark, minimalist rap genre that’s conquered airwaves around the world. Produced by Sara Brucker for Temps noir and Resistance Films, and co-produced with Arte France with the support of CNC and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, the 10-part 6’30” web series is taking part in the IDFA Forum this week.

Starring Belgian comedian Kody Kim as the unsuspecting rap naïf Larry, “Chasin’ ATL” plots the evolution of trap while exploring the underground of Atlanta, a city that moved from the fringes of the hip-hop scene in the ‘90s to its very epicenter. “Atlanta came up pretty late [for hip-hop],” said Rochet. “Now they are the number one city in the world for rap. And maybe the most influential city in the world, period, if you think about music, if you think about entertainment.”

A former DJ and co-founder of the French hip-hop magazine “Gasface,” Rochet took part in the IDFA DocLab in 2010 with “New York Minute,” a short-form doc web series about hip-hop’s birthplace that was distributed by Arte France. With “Chasin’ ATL,” he hopes to not only give a fresh look to the trap scene but to the city of Atlanta, home of the country’s first African-American universities and a city Rochet described as a center of “black excellence.” “It’s pretty much an excuse to go deep into the roots of the culture, to the core of things,” he said.

Rochet began scouting the city in February, when he met the renowned graffiti artist Dr. Dax, a member of Atlanta’s influential Dungeon Family music collective that includes OutKast. Bringing him onboard the series as artistic director, the helmer quickly found himself welcomed into the studios and nightclubs at the heart of the trap world.

 

Just as that encounter with Dr. Dax offered Rochet an all-access pass into the local music scene, “Chasin’ ATL”’s Larry somehow finds himself interviewing Atlanta’s most influential rappers and producers. “His luck allows him to bump into the right people,” said Rochet, who added that the hapless explorer eventually overcomes his skepticism to embrace the music. “The whole thing is an excuse to discover how amazing trap is.”

After shooting a pilot in February, Rochet recently wrapped a frenetic fortnight in Atlanta, lensing nine episodes in 13 days. The series has already gotten interest from a number of European public broadcasters for their digital platforms, while producer Sara Brucker is at IDFA looking for additional commissioning editors and broadcast partners overseas.

For his part, Rochet said there’s enough footage to produce a “Chasin’ ATL” feature. “We got carried away,” he said. While the series offers a gritty, street-level view of the trap world, the director admitted he got more than he bargained for when his crew was robbed at gun-point on one of the shoot’s final days. “I was feeling good about all this, feeling lucky and all,” he said, “and now it’s like, ‘O.K, let’s wrap it.’”

More Film

  • Actresses take part in the #metoo

    Cannes Grows More Inclusive With Stronger Lineup of Female Filmmakers

    In 1946, the inaugural year of the Cannes Film Festival, Barbara Virginia’s surrealist film, “Tres dias sem Deus” debuted in competition. Over the subsequent seven decades, as it has grown in stature to become one of the world’s premier film gatherings, Cannes hasn’t matched that early promise in highlighting female artists. Finally, the powers that [...]

  • Too Old to Die Young

    Cannes: 2019 Lineup Includes Terrence Malick, Pedro Almodóvar, Four Films by Women

    The 72nd Cannes Film Festival announced its lineup, boosting the number of female filmmakers in official selection to 13, four of whom will compete for the Palme d’Or. The number of Americans is also up, including Terrence Malick (“A Hidden Life”), Ira Sachs (Isabelle Huppert starrer “Frankie”), and director Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die,” [...]

  • Cannes Unveils 2019 Official Selection (Watch

    Watch Cannes Lineup Announcement (Updating Live)

    The 72nd Cannes Film Festival is announcing the films chosen for “official selection” — including those competing for the event’s coveted Palme d’Or prize — in a press conference Thursday starting at 11 a.m. in Paris. The livestream of the press conference is available here. (Please note that the broadcast seldom starts on time.) Last [...]

  • Godzilla

    'Godzilla' Owner Toho Poised for Expansion in Hollywood

    Toho, the largest movie group in Japan, is expanding a subsidiary in the U.S. with a view to working more with Hollywood. The company said that its existing Toho International Inc. subsidiary has been injected with $14 million (JPY15.4 billion), through a share issue subscribed to by the parent company. The subsidiary has existed since [...]

  • View Conference Opens Registration for 2019

    2019 View Conference Opens Registration, Calls for Short Film Competition Entries

    Registration is now open for the 2019 edition of the View Conference in Turin, Italy. No speakers have been announced yet, but past conferences have featured some of the world’s top creative talents in visual effects, animation, gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Last year’s edition featured composer Hans Zimmer, Paramount Animation topper [...]

  • Former professional boxer Bradley Welsh in

    Bradley Welsh, 'T2 Trainspotting' Actor, Shot Dead in Edinburgh

    Bradley Welsh, an actor in “T2 Trainspotting” and a former boxer, died after being shot in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Wednesday. He was 42. The Edinburgh Police Division reported an incident on Chester Street in Edinburgh’s West End neighborhood around 8 p.m. local time. They found Welsh seriously injured in the street and said he died [...]

  • Jim Gallagher Warner Bros

    Jim Gallagher Joins Warner Bros. as EVP of Marketing, Animation and Family

    Former head of DreamWorks Animation theatrical marketing Jim Gallagher has joined Warner Bros. Pictures in a newly created role as executive vice president of marketing, animation and family, announced today by Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Gallagher will develop innovative and strategic global campaigns for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content