Radical Dreams, Underground Sounds: 13 Films Presented by Dweller

Radical Dreams, Underground Sounds: 13 Films Presented by Dweller

13 Episodes

Founded in 2019, the Dweller festival celebrates the Black roots of electronic dance music, spotlighting a lineage of trailblazing musicians, producers, and DJs who created the sound that spread to clubs across the world and amplifying the contemporary artists who carry on their legacy. This diverse selection of narrative, documentary, and experimental works, curated in collaboration with Dweller, contains films that explore Black musical technology and imagination, and salute the dance floor as a site of Black joy, protest, personal transformation, and ecstatic communal liberation.

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Radical Dreams, Underground Sounds: 13 Films Presented by Dweller
  • The Last Angel of History

    Episode 1

    Directed by John Akomfrah • 1996 • United Kingdom

    John Akomfrah, cofounder of the influential Black Audio Film Collective, crafted this experimental blend of sci-fi parable and essay film, which also serves as an essential primer on the aesthetics and dynamics of contemporary Afrofuturism. Inter...

  • Maestro

    Episode 2

    Directed by Josell Ramos • 2003 • United States
    Starring Larry Levan, David Mancuso, Frankie Knuckles

    The origins of New York City’s legendary underground dance-club culture are explored in this kinetic cult documentary—a vivid chronicle of a scene that became an oasis for the city’s queer and B...

  • Exhibitionist—Purpose Maker Mix

    Episode 3

    Directed by Jeff Mills • 2004 • United States

    Witness the artist at work as legendary Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills creates a live DJ mix with astonishing, hypnotic dexterity.

  • Shakedown

    Episode 4

    Directed by Leilah Weinraub • 2018 • United States

    Charting the eight-year run of Shakedown, a peripatetic black lesbian strip club in Los Angeles, director Leilah Weinraub attempts “to portray the before and after of a utopic moment.” Weinraub presents a world unto itself, shaped by the desires...

  • Bring Down the Walls

    Episode 5

    Directed by Phil Collins • 2020 • Germany, United States

    Art and activism collide in this empowering documentary, which examines the injustices of America’s prison-industrial complex and the power of house music as a catalyst for human connection, transformation, and liberation. A collaboration ...

  • Songs for Earth & Folk

    Episode 6

    Directed by Cauleen Smith • 2013 • United States

    Made in 2013, this short by Cauleen Smith is composed entirely of 16 mm and Super 8 found footage and is structured like a blues song, with a live-improvised electro-organic soundtrack created by Chicago-based band the Eternals.

  • I Held the Truth in My Hands

    Episode 7

    Directed by Anaïs Duplan • 2020 • United States

    A poem by Anaïs Duplan unfolds forwards and backwards in a trancey, beat-driven audiovisual remix.

  • Pivot

    Episode 8

    Directed by Tarona • 2020 • Netherlands

    A hypnotic dance piece considers questions of race, performance, power, and the gaze.

  • Lunar New Year

    Episode 9

    Directed by S*an D. Henry-Smith • 2021 • United States
    Starring Ryan Clarke, Justin Allen, Slant Rhyme

    S*an D. Henry-Smith narrates a series of portraits recorded during a day out in New York City, capturing, in the artist’s words, “quiet encounters in the polyphonic city.”

  • MOSQUITO: The Movie

    Episode 10

    Directed by LYZZA and Enantios Dromos • 2022 • Brazil

    Electro-pop avant-gardist LYZZA slips into a surreal neon underground in this visual accompaniment to her mixtape of the same name.

  • Hyperfate

    Episode 11

    Directed by Christelle Oyiri • 2022 • France

    Reflecting on fate, destiny, and the untimely deaths of rappers Tupac Shakur, PnB Rock, Pop Smoke, Takeoff, and XXXTentacion, director Christelle Oyiri fashions a visual memento mori that asks: how did rap become a mortuary factory for tragic heroes?

  • Pacific Club

    Episode 12

    Directed by Valentin Noujaïm • 2023 • France
    Starring Azedine Benabdelmoumene, Benjamin Bertrand, Julien Mézence

    In 1979, the Pacific Club was opened in a basement in La Défense, the business district of Paris. It was the first nightclub for Arabs from the suburbs—a parallel world of dance, swea...

  • Trial Period

    Episode 13

    Directed by Kiernan Francis • 2023 • United States
    Starring Emmanuel Alejandro Molina, Cory Wilson, Fashion LaBeija

    A queer Black DJ finds a haven in New York’s underground club scene—until an old friend reenters his life and jeopardizes everything.