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  • A still from the film Hip Hop Revolucion

    A still from the film Hip Hop Revolucion | Photo: Alborada.net/Facebook

teleSUR talks to the makers of a documentary that explores a little-known aspect of Venezuela’s Revolution: hip-hop.

Latin American film and music will take over a London movie theater Sunday as Latin events programmer, artist agency and record label “Movimientos” celebrates 10 years at the British capital’s Rich Mix venue.

Two big events are highlighted on the poster. Afro-Peruvian “sound system” Novalima will appear for their first London show in six years, according to the promoters, and a documentary about Venezuela’s hip-hop revolutionaries will premiere.

British-Chilean filmmaker Pablo Navarrete told teleSUR the protagonists of the film, which was shot while the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was still alive, are still active and striving for change in Venezuela.

"While the documentary was filmed while Chavez was president of Venezuela and the challenges faced by the Bolivarian process have grown since he passed away, I know from a recent trip I made to Venezuela that members of Hip Hop Revolucion continue to be actively involved in defending the Bolivarian process and creating the better world they passionately believe in.”

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The film, which is named after the Hip Hop Revolucion collective, follows British activist Jody McIntyre as he travels to Venezuela with rapper Lowkey to spend time with the musical revolutionaries.

Hip Hop Revolución (Teaser 1)

World Premiere > Saturday, 7 November, 2015 > Rich Mix London, London, UKhttps://www.facebook.com/events/560561997430347/British activist Jody McIntyre travels to Venezuela with UK-Iraqi rapper Lowkey to spend time with ‘Hip Hop Revolución’, a dynamic collective of musical revolutionaries. They witness their inspiring grassroots work and share music and ideas, exploring the cultural and political changes taking place in the country. At its heart, this film is about the power of music, community and the spirit of rebellion. Director: Pablo Navarrete (Alborada Films)Filmed by GlobalFaction // Edited by Beatrix Grimbly Teaser features rapper Ibi kino (Hip Hop Revolución)More info: info(at)alborada(dot)netThe premiere forms part of a Cine Liberación session of documentaries exploring music and social struggle organised by Alborada and Movimientos as part of the latter's 10th anniversary weekend celebrations - more info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/409936029211951/**Premiere FB page: https://www.facebook.com/events/560561997430347/

Posted by Hip Hop Revolucion (Documentary) on Thursday, 22 October 2015

The film’s promoters further describe the journey McIntyre and Lowkey go on:

“They witness (Hip Hop Revolucion’s) inspiring grassroots work and share music and ideas, exploring the cultural and political changes taking place in the country.”

Navarrete’s production company, Alborada Films, explains that far more than just a music group, the Hip Hop Revolucion movement, founded in 2003, “has created 31 hip-hop schools across the country, which teenagers can attend in conjunction with their normal day-to-day schooling … Once participants have 'graduated' from the course, they are encouraged to become tutors to the next batch of attendees. Most graduates come from low-income backgrounds, and many go on to establish schools in their local areas.”

Hip-hop and the political struggle are inextricably linked.

And why hip-hop as the music of choice? As the filmmakers put it, “hip-hop and the political struggle are inextricably linked,” for the participants in Venezuela, “this is their chance to play a tangible part in building the better future they want to grow up in.” Indeed, Navarrete explained to teleSUR that the documentary, “at its heart is about the power of community, education, hip hop and the spirit of rebellion."

As an example of the collective’s work, one of its members, Jamil Herezi, who has also appeared on teleSUR’s “Ñ Don’t Stop,” releases songs in English, which attempt to explain the importance of the Venezuelan Revolution.

On his record, “Create Change,” Herezi, who from the U.S. of Arab-Venezuelan origin, raps about why he is living in Venezuela, a country that Chavez took through a period of intense change from when he came to power in 1998 to his untimely death in 2013 — something his successor Nicolas Maduro is continuing:

"I feel privileged to be living in a country where the poor class has the opportunity to finally think, are obligated to create a change, forced to rearrange and no longer be a slave to the capitalistic way."

Herezi continues, "Socialism isn't a scam. It's a solution," and "The poor aren't the problem anymore, we're the solution."

In terms of the future and keeping the revolution relevant, Herezi told the filmmakers, “We respect Chavez, because he understands our struggle, but we are always looking to be self-critical in order to keep our revolution moving in the right direction.”

And as for those outside Venezuela, Navarrete told teleSUR that his film’s message is relevant to the West today:

“I sense that there is an ever increasing desire for radical change and a different type of politics in places such as the U.K., where the government is waging a shameful war on the most vulnerable in society. This film explores an alternative.”

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