Director: David LaChapelle

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


Rize is an insider look at a new form of artistic expression emanating from the streets of South Central Los Angeles. Referred to as "krumping," the movements include lightning-quick syncopated body gyrations (fast enough to warrant a disclaimer that the film was not sped up). The dancers take turns strutting their stuff, often using a mock "battle" to show one another their latest moves.

This captivating film centers around a young man who goes by the moniker Tommy the Clown. Beginning as an entertainer at children's birthday parties, he went on to open an academy devoted to clowning and krumping. Seen as a role model in the community, Tommy has numerous protégés who have stayed out of trouble as a result of their involvement in dance. Given the alternative of joining a gang or engaging in illegal activity, young people find this form of expression to be an extremely positive outlet in the inner city. Dancing is their voice, their representation, and a means to convey their frustrations and let off steam.

Director David LaChapelle adeptly allows the dancers' movements to tell much of the film's story. The camera captures all the frenetic motion close up, allowing the audience to revel in this remarkable medium.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

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