All You Need is BASS

Transformation and Community: A Look at The Bloom Documentary

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Dressed in their finest festival gear, everywhere you look there are people smiling.  Some are busy chattering away and catching up with old friends while others are busy making new connections. There’s a palpable energy at this seventy five year old movie theater in the heart of one of Calgary’s most diverse neighborhoods. It’s comparable feeling to the lineup before a festival opens its gates. This is the Calgary premiere for Fundamental Frequencies, the first installment of the much anticipated first episode of the documentary.

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Photo by Lindsay Donovan www.lindsaydonovan.com

The event is hosted by Calgary’s very own roving arts and community initiative the Bassbus. Baran Faber from Bassbus explained: “We wanted to turn the entire night into a festival themed event to get everyone excited for the summer festival season ahead.  The first episode was incredible and we [felt] so fortunate to [have] been able to watch it in such an inspiring setting.”  As the moviegoers started to take their seats in the theatre the crowd quieted, the lights were dimmed, and the movie began.

While attending a movie is usually a solitary, bordering on isolating experience, The Bloom Premiere was as a collective of an experience as festival culture itself. The crowd moved together, laughed together, smiled together, danced around in their seats and was inspired together. Baran Faber remarked of his view of the crowd: “It was so amazing to see a 370 seat theater nearly full, entirely of like minded people from our community, all gathered together to see this movie. It was so cool that throughout the entire film we would see interviews or shots of familiar faces from our community. I think that was one of best parts, that many of the people sitting in the theater that night, were the characters of this amazing story that we are all a part of.


Photo by Lindsay Donovan

What really struck me and several others I had the opportunity to chat with, was the way the film put in to words that as a collective, we are surrendering ourselves to something that is larger than we are; that we leave this control we are conditioned to exercise over ourselves behind and give way to the dance floor and by proxy, our own vulnerability and simultaneous strength.  I think this is something that has been translated in to every day life for so many of us.  It’s something I know I had felt but had never been able to define.

The Bassbus did not simply stop at screening the movie, they also lined up an excellent choice of local talent for a huge dance party in the theatre, including Jnana, Jay Michael, Mr. Geography and had co-founder of Basscoast, well-known Canadian advocate of Bass culture, and DJ The Librarian headline the after party. With their diverse musical styles and high-energy performances, the DJs truly spoke to the diversity of our community and the values of self-expression and unity we were all so conscious of after watching the first episode of The Bloom.

Photo by Lindsay Donovan

Donald Dinsmore who opened up the after party under his producer and DJ moniker Jnana shared his thoughts: “My favorite part of the movie was the discussion about how transformational festivals are a gateway to co-creational experience. The festival experience is more than the music, it is more than the art and it is more than any one person. Yet our individual and collective efforts intertwine together in order to make a beautiful life-altering experience.”  He went on to comment on how “grateful [he was] to be part of the shared catharsis that we experienced together.”

The evening itself was a journey through ourselves and our community.  Fundamental Frequencies, the first episode of The Bloom inspired all of us to reflect on the aspects of festival culture that have changed, and continue to change our lives and shape us in to an empowered, conscious collective.

The breathtaking visual work and the content of the film has left the Calgary community in great anticipation of the next three episodes.  The Bassbus team plans to host the rest of the premieres in much the same fashion as the first.  I cannot wait to see what the filmmakers have in store.

 

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