SXSW 2016: Hunter-Gatherer, Nelson George
A sweet new film starring Andre Royo and Nelson George talks film-making
You’ll recognise Andre Royo from his star turn as Bubbles in The Wire, but he plays an equally memorable character in Josh Lacy’s debut film Hunter-Gatherer. Royo is Ashley Douglas, a recently released prisoner who is back in his old hood living with his mom and trying to reconnect with his old pals, including his ex-girlfriend. When they shun him, he strikes up a friendship with a younger dude called Jeremy (George Sample III) who becomes his sidekick on a run of desperately ridiculous money-making scams. What shines through on this sweet film is Royo’s performance as Ashley as he tries to stay optimistic and cheerful in the face of multiple adversities and setbacks.
Nelson George was there when hip-hop first rose to the surface and he was the one with the insights to show the burgeoning sound was something to be reckoned with. Back when he was writing at Billboard, George covered the beat with elan and prescience, talents which you’ll find in his books like The Death of Rhythm and Blues and Hip Hop America. These days, he’s in the film and TV business and that’s what had him at the SXSW podium for a fascinating keynote address about the work he’s done and the various transitions he’s made. He was particularly good on the latter, talking about the challenges involved in taking the talents you already have and applying them to new roles. Aside from some interesting anecdotes about financing Spike Lee’s first film She’s Gotta Have It, George also talked about his writing work on Baz Luhrmann’s forthcoming New York 1970s’ hip-hop series The Get Down.