NYC based filmmaker Clayton Vomero introduces his raw short GANG, following the day in the life of three friends as they rap, sing and vogue their way around Staten Island.
The 17-minute film features Mela Murder and Denasia Moore, two members of the Major Lazer dance team. Ghostface Killah’s son, Infinite Coles, plays the third friend. Together, the three friends in their gang shed light on youth culture and what it means to grow up in electric and gritty New York City, with particular focus on ‘voguing’ culture.
Voguing is a stylized form of house dance characterized by model like poses of linear arm and leg movements arising from Harlem ballrooms by African and Latino Americans. It is Mela Murders character that boldly takes the lead in this contemporary articulation of voguing and its significance on expression.
According to Clayton, the inclusion of dance in his film was a medium used by the characters to express their confidence despite the many social restraints imposed on them. In an interview Clayton remarks; ‘It’s a story about people; it’s not about being gay, or black, or poor or dancing. It’s just about being a person and looking for other people like you. The beautiful thing about Mel, Inf, and D’s friendship is that they help each other to be their most confident selves. They don’t look to each other for approval; they encourage each other to be who they are. I think voguing is just an expression of confidence for them.’
The film itself is heavily urbanised with contemporary dance and Lo-fi music playing an intrinsic part in forming the narrative as well as the very real-to-life dialogue that takes you right back to being a teenager. The film deals with themes of identity and social circumstances with the idea that you can make the most of whatever you have. The friends in the film are restrained economically, but they do not allow this to affect their experiences as a young person living in New York, and together they grow their own confidence performing carefree through the city with no feelings of burdens or barriers. Through the course of living out their life they deal with personal issues about love and friendship, encouraging each other to be strong individuals.
If any young person were to watch anything of significance in their life, GANG is sure to be right up there as a film for this generation and undoubtedly the film of the year for any young New Yorker and those wishing to recount their childhood. It is a film that is about growing, giving so much of itself as a film to the audience in terms of its moral and its authenticity, which makes it all the more exciting to know of Clayton’s plan to transform this short into a feature length film. Watch out for Clayton’s next film and if you haven’t already checked GANG you can preview it through this link.