A survey of the life and times of Ed Mock: Black, queer, San Francisco based choreographer and performance artist - spanning from his arrival to the Bay Area in the late 60s until his death of AIDS in 1986.
Interview with Writer/Director Brontez Purnell
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I am an hiv positive, Black, queer, choreographer, dancer, and performance artist. I wanted to make “Unstoppable Feat: The Dances of Ed Mock” because I was unaware of the work of Ed Mock- Black, queer, San Francisco based, dancer, choreographer, and performance artist. His work spanned from the late 60s to his death of AIDS in 1986. I wanted to make a sort of eulogy for an ancestor who I never knew existed.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It is our duty as queers to not only learn but want to learn about histories of ours that were silenced or erased. This film covers so many topics: AIDS, secret performance art histories, secret Radical Black histories, and a portrait of California artist life from the Free Love era until the Regan era.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Ultimately the personal is political- that is this movie is not just the small story of one particular man making art but represents a whole generation of fierce and dedicated art makers whose lives were not singularly documented. Essentially by telling his story from the view point of his peer who survived him, it leaves an entire script of a shared community experience of which all humans, though some might not have a direct similar experience, can certainly empathize with.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
It was originally supposed to be a book but my fried Travis Mathews (a director- I was last at Outfest because I starred in his film “I Want Your Love”) said “no one reads- make it a movie”. It was initially supposed to be just interviews but turned into also a survey of some of his more documented dances.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The only thing was I was criticized for not talking to his family - though I was told through many sources that he was from a single mother who had long since been descended.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I am hoping to reach more people and connect with other artists, dancers, performers who feel this story strikes a chord with them.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Distro and journalists.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I want it to be seen in the same light as “We Were Here”.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How does a marginalized identity effect outcomes of both funding and visibility?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I just showed in Outfest Fusion my new short “100 Boyfriends Mixtape” (The Demo) (the first installment played in 2015 with Yony Lesers “Desire Will Set You Free”. I am also an author and just received The Whiting Award which is a 50k grant to write my next book (I have written 3 so far). I will film two more installments of 100 Boyfriends Mixtape this summer. I am currently looking for animators to turn my forthcoming children’s book (“The Nightlfe of Jucuzzi Gasket”) in an animated short. My band The Younger Lovers will also be touring.
Interview: March 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Unstoppable Feat: The Dances of Ed Mock
A survey of the life and times of Ed Mock: Black, queer, San Francisco based choreographer and performance artist- spanning from his arrival to the Bay Area in the late 60s until his death of AIDS in 1986.
Length: 1 hr 11 mins
Director: Brontez Purnell
Producer: The Lab/ co producer: Kathleen Hanna
Writer: Brontez Purnell
About the writer, director and producer:
Brontez Purnell is a writer, dancer, musician and film maker. He lives in Oakland California
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Funders: Creative Work Fund, Tides Foundation, Kenneth Rainin,
Made in association with: The Lab SF