Finding Her Beat
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 29m
Director(s): Dawn Mikkelson, Keri Pickett
Where To Watch: will open theatrically on September 26, 2023, in Vancouver, Canada, before launching its USA theatrical release through Sonder Entertainment in October, culminating in multiple markets before Thanksgiving. Find the showing near you here www.herbeatfilm.com
RAVING REVIEW: If the chill of a Minnesota winter makes you think of cozying up indoors, think again. FINDING HER BEAT whisks you off your couch and dives deep into the pulsating world of taiko drumming right from the snow-covered landscapes of this northern state. There’s so much heart inside of those wooden drums!
Historically, taiko drumming has been intricately linked to Japanese culture. Once considered a male-centric domain, this documentary reshapes that narrative, portraying taiko as a sanctuary for diverse identities, especially those from the LGBTQIA+ and AAPI communities. Jennifer Weir leads the charge in this rhythmic revolution. Alongside the dynamic duo of Megan Chao Smith and Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Weir crafts a dream called HERbeat. Their mission? Assemble a supergroup of taiko talents. Their ambition is palpable with names like Chieko Kojima and Kaoly Asano joining the roster.
Of course, the road to dreams could be smoother. With the clock ticking and 2020's pandemic looming shadow, the documentary beautifully captures the raw tension and urgency. Disagreements bubble up; health concerns cast shadows, but the ensemble's devotion to their craft, depicted brilliantly by directors Dawn Mikkelson and Keri Pickett, never falters.
Visually, FINDING HER BEAT is a treat; even if you don’t know what taiko is, the raw power of synchronized drumming is bound to leave you spellbound. Yet, the documentary transcends mere performance, exploring themes of cultural identity, challenges faced by marginalized artists, and the sheer dedication to an art that has often sidestepped them.
The film's emotional depth is anchored in its artists' personal stories. From discovering oneself in the rhythm to the beauty of forming a community amid challenges, the documentary offers a series of heartwarming narratives. The climax, set against a Minnesota backdrop, allows viewers to experience the pandemic's initial days through the resilient eyes of these drumming pioneers.
The movie emphasizes the potent mix of unity and determination as the ensemble, after a pandemic-induced break, the group reassembles to dazzle at the World Taiko Conference in Tokyo. It's an ode to the transformative power of art.
While the documentary offers an immersive experience, delving deeper into the historical evolution of taiko could have provided a richer narrative tapestry. While Weir's story leaves an indelible mark, a closer look at other artist's journeys could have added more depth and layers to the narrative.
In conclusion, FINDING HER BEAT is an experience, a rhythmic journey through challenges, unity, and the indomitable spirit of artists. Perfect for the everyday viewer and cinephiles alike, it stands as a beacon celebrating the transformative magic of the arts. So, brace yourself for an experience that promises beats, heart, and soul, all delivered in high-definition splendor!
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[photo courtesy of SONDER ENTERTAINMENT]
MY SAG-AFTRA/WGA STRIKE STATEMENT:
As an advocate for creators, actors, and writers, I firmly stand with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA in their current strike. The entertainment industry is built on these individuals' extraordinary talents, and their contributions must be appropriately recognized and rewarded. They deserve fair compensation, sensible work hours, and respect for their creative rights. I believe in the power of unity and collective action, and I'm steadfast in my support for their fight for better working conditions and fair remuneration. Together, we can shape a more equitable future in the entertainment world.
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