Documentarist says Czech rap artist Shot stands out because he draws from real life
The town of Český Krumlov in South Bohemia has a lively rap scene. Documentary filmmaker Viola Tokárová first came across the rapper Shot when she saw his clips on YouTube, filmed in the town's historical center and its ruined factories.
Tokárová was captivated by the authenticity of the clips and their strong images of life in social exclusion. She invited Shot to perform at an alternative music festival and eventually recorded several hours of conversation with him about music, rap, drugs, family, love and faith in one's fellow human beings, from which she has now created an audio documentary called "Shot" for the DokuVlny series on Rádio Wave together with the dramaturg Brit Jensen.
The documentarist first attended film school at the Studio of K. Zeman and H. Týrlová in Zlín. She then studied film direction at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) before returning to her native Český Krumlov, where she worked at a social welfare office and then in a café.
Her short films include "Tajemství" (The Secret), "Jan Hvězdář", "O mé velké lásce" (About My Great Love), and a musical film set in Český Krumlov, "Bordel z kapsy" (The Mess in Your Pocket). Together with her friends she established the alternative music festival called "Letňák v kině" and, in collaboration with Ivan Studený, produced an audio documentary for radio called "Černobílé Větřní" (Větřní in Black and White) about the town of Větřní.
Currently Tokárová works for the online ROMEA TV channel, where she is working on a feature-length documentary about the WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people at Lety u Písku in collaboration with Renata Berkyová and František Bikár. "I met Shot by accident. My cousin was working in a pizzeria and she told me about the cook there who raps. I watched his clips and, in addition to their humble, modest nature, I was captivated by his sense of rhythm and how exactly he was describing his lived reality in a way that is different from other young rappers with their crude baloney about a life they've actually never experienced," she said in an interview for Rádio Wave.
"It occurred to us that we could produce a concert for him. In the beginning Shot hesitated, though, he told us about his experiences with concerts where his 'friends' had ended up making fun of him. Eventually he agreed to perform at the alternative festival Letňák v kině. He had not performed for several years and he had stage fright, but the brilliant performance ultimately ended with the audience members running on stage to the mic so they could rap with him. After some time Shot began to tell me stories about his life," Tokárová said.
"I myself have experienced what it is like to battle racial and social prejudices, but his path has been much more difficult, whether that has to do with growing up in children's homes and foster care, or with his doubts about his own career and talent. He did eventually find his life's work in rap, and my cousin says he raps constantly - on the street, in the store, at work in the kitchen. We spent hours together debating God, rap, family and other subjects, and eventually we recorded this documentary in a park in Český Krumlov near the former home of Egon Schiele, where the fallen leaves were rustling under our feet in the autumn sun," the documentarist told Rádio Wave.
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