TORONTO — Weary of news reports about gun violence that referenced rap culture, Toronto-based actress Michelle Latimer decided to “tell another side of the story.”
The result is Alias, a documentary that has its world premiere Friday night at the Hot Docs documentary festival. It follows five Toronto rappers — Alias Don Million, Alkatraz, Keon Love, Master Knia and Trench — as they use music to escape the realities of life in their urban communities.
“It was something I was really interested in following,” explains Latimer, “and going behind the stereotypes.”
She describes the subjects of her first feature-length documentary as dreamers.
“I see people who haven’t just decided to live a 9-to-5 life,” Latimer says. “They’ve said, ‘I’m going to go after what I want and I’m going to be truthful and I’m going to believe in myself.'”
Appearing on Global Toronto’s The Morning Show, Latimer said rap music gives young people in urban communities a voice. “It’s a way for people to speak their stories.”
Alkatraz, who grew up in Toronto’s Regent Park and Jamestown, said the neighbourhoods get too much negative attention.
“There’s beautiful stories that come out of there, too,” he explains.
Alkatraz said he’s pleased with Latimer’s doc. “It gives a realistic view of the struggles that artists that aren’t with major labels have to go through day to day,” he says.
Alias premieres April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Royal Cinema. It also screens April 28 at 1 p.m. and May 4 at 8:45 p.m. at the Scotiabank Theatre. For more information go to HotDocs.ca.
Alias was produced in association with Shaw Media’s IFC. Shaw Media is the parent company of Global News.
© Shaw Media, 2013