Many people came together to make this film happen. Here’s some of the team:
Ana Rokafella Garcia – Director
Hip-Hop dancer/choreographer Ana “Rokafella” Garcia was born in Spanish Harlem where she grew up with a strong Latin background. She participated in school recitals and community events. At the age of 16 she began going to clubs and started to do back up dancing for freestyle singers in the local NYC party scene.
Her Hip-Hop dance style became her bread and butter when she began street performing with such crews such as The Transformers, The Breeze Team, and the New York City Float Committee. In ‘94 she ran into Kwikstep who urged her to audition for GhettOriginal- a Hip-Hop dance company. She was cast and became further exposed to the “old school” dance technique.
After experiencing international appreciation for Hip-Hop, she decided to offer classes back home to prevent it’s fading away. She has taught workshops at NYU and Howard as well as neighborhood high schools and community centers. The non profit company she co founded with her husband, “Full Circle Prod”, serves the community with educational performances and multimedia urban-themed performances. They presented “Soular Power’d” on Broadway’s New Victory Theater which received rave reviews, and was their Hip-Hop theater directorial debut.
There has been a resurgence of breaking, locking and popping in the Hip-Hop mainstream. The videos she’s appeared in feature her unique ability as a B girl ‘for example Fabolous’ “Holla-back Youngin”. She has been hired by Red Bull and the International Battle of the Year in Germany to judge break dance competitions. She is presently producing a documentary based on the challenging lifestyles of female break dancers featuring b girls from all over the world.
Rokafella co-hosted an Internet radio show called 88 Hip-Hop, where she interviewed pioneers in her Hip-Hop History segment. In the past years she has been singing and rhyming with RPM her own band with whom she is touring and recording original material. She performed with the Universes’ “Slanguage” as a featured actress and performed at the Apollo in “We Got issues”. She worked as a supporting actress in the independent film “On the Outs” and has her poems published in a Bronx poets anthology. She wrote the intro to the photo book by Martha Cooper “We B*Girlz” proving her credibility as a multitalented artist. She represents the positive image of a woman confident in both her Puerto Rican and Hip-Hop cultures. She believes this culture was born to help urban youth get through the ups and downs of life with something to hold on to.
Melissa Ulto – Editor/Animator/Website Designer
Melissa Ulto is a multidisciplinary artist who utilizes modern and traditional mediums to create her works. Melissa currently resides in New York, working professionally as a photographer, filmmaker, designer, VJ and artist. She has performed as a guest video artist at the MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and continues to show her work internationally. She is a published writer, poet and photographer.
As a filmmaker, Melissa produces, writes, shoots and edits documentaries and experimental films. She started her career in music videos and working for MTV in production. Melissa expanded her documentary skills at Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. As Senior Digital Video Specialist, her team was a one-stop shop, creating short and long form documentary pieces for online learning environments. In 2005, Melissa edited the film “The Art of Love & Struggle” (Eyes Infinite Films). As a director of photography, Melissa shot the first part of an HD documentary, “Art & Apathy”, on location in Israel. In 2006, Melissa edited “Death Before Dishonor” (Vivendi/Ruff Nation), a documentary exploring the anti-snitching movement, and edited “The Mighty Humble Blueberry”, a documentary about Elizabeth White and blueberry cultivation. In 2007, Melissa was invited to present internationally her work at a variety of conferences and festivals focusing on converging media. Melissa finished 2007 on tour with G Love & Special Sauce, The Sounds, The Bravery and Tristan Prettyman, as VJ and live video tech.
In 2008, the film “Mandatory Service” (Eyes Infinite Films), for which Melissa was the director of photography, won best short at the Tribeca Film Festival. Her pieces on Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton were featured on the front page of “The Huffington Post”, through her urban reporting site, UrbNews.tv. She also edited over 400 pieces of webisode content for a variety of new .tv sites, including Broadway.tv, SheStory.tv and UrbNews.tv.
In the summer and fall of 2008, Melissa built a $250k full service production studio, based in the Fashion District of New York City, for a client, including soundproofed stages, an edit suite and a full production office. She also spent the year doing some incredible webisodes and online content with interview subjects Mary Stuart Masterson, Arturo Vega, Feurza Bruta, Ken Aretsky and many other city insiders.
Melissa is also an educator, having taught seminars on democratizing media, critical thinking, social activism, vodcasting and post production processes. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with aspiring filmmakers, especially on the high school and college level. Melissa is featured in several books & documentaries, including “The VJ Book” (Feral House), “Women by Women” (Prestel), “Art or Something Like It” (PBS), “Video Out” (13 Bit Productions), and in the upcoming book “Fresh, Bold, and So Def: Women in Hip-Hop Changing the Game”, as one of the 300 international women in Hip-Hop contributing to the progressive evolution of urban culture.
Toofly – Graphics/Branding for All The Ladies Say
Toofly’s journey into the world of art began with her commute to public school from her Corona, Queens neighborhood. Her trips were filled with adventurous sketches as she immersed herself in the myriad of graffiti tags, fill-ins, and outlines viewed on almost every deconstructive surface along the way. It was precisely the rebellious artistic spirit of the 90’s street graffiti movement that drove Toofly to join its subculture ranks. Highly influenced by the calligraphy and illustration skills of some exceptional writers at the time, a teenage Toofly aspired to become the female version of what she most admired. She began to develop her own knack for “hand styles” and her unique Toofly characters. Her work soon blossomed on various graffiti black books, allowing her skills to be recognized by writers across the five boroughs.
By the time Toofly entered the School of Visual Arts (SVA), she had introduced her character to the walls of New York. At SVA, she applied her artistic skills to illustration and graphic design coursework. Finding inspiration in the New York urban landscape, this artist in the making began to juxtapose her “around the way girl” character against multi layered street imagery for various print and public art projects. Toofly’s constant and active role in the hip hop community allowed her to remain true to her roots, as she continued to draw raw feelings from the ever-changing and spontaneous public art world around her.
Her most recent projects include her independent fashion accessory, and stationary label made up of mini graffiti bags, limited edition t-shirts, and paper goods. In addition she has featured a new series of paintings called “Starz”, inspired by the sensual, physical, and emotional attributes of idolized females. In the Fall of 2005 Toofly was the sole female among the crew of graffiti writers the MOTUG company assembled for an exclusive line of t-shirts, sneakers, and toys bearing her signature character. During this time Toofly also collaborated on a city wide mural series for the crew alongside the likes of Ces, Cope2, Doze, Ewok, Ghost, NYC Lase, and T-Kid.
Toofly’s art and design work have appeared in magazines such as Mass Appeal, Juxtapoz, Kicksclusive, Fuego, Urban Latino, The Source, URB, and Honey. Her street art is currently on display at the Graffiti Hall of Fame, Hunts Point in the Bronx, and various walls throughout Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Hip-Hop Dancer/Choreographer/Artistic Director/Gabriel “KWIKSTEP” Dionisio (www.myspace.com/kwikstep1)was born and raised in New York CityAt the age of eight Kwikstep and was inspired by Soul Train and the Duo “Shields and Yarnell and started doing “The Robot” later he began to pursue the techniques known as Popping, Boogaloo and Locking . In the early eighties when he attended local block parties and clubs he joined his friends who were breaking and was slowly becoming well rounded in all these street dance styles. His first tour was with the “New York Express” around China at the age of nineteen which took him on a 12 city tour. By 1991 he had won a Bessie award for choreography and founded the internationally known Full Circle in 1992. In 1996 Kwikstep and his wife Rokafella established an internationally acclaimed Hip hop collective known as Full Circle Productions. Today he is an international icon in breaking and is best known for his smooth style, versatility and signature head spins. Since 1996 he has produced all of the company’s music mixes and scores for performances and concerts. His passion for DJ’ing began in ’83 and has never faded even though he is most known for his choreography, Break-Master technique and his personal experience with NYC’s street dance history. He has begun working on original music for the documentary All The Ladies Say. The official trailer has a taste of what is to come in the future as he expands into producing and engineering music as a consummate break beat lover. He is working with RPM, a hip-hop/soul/latin fusion band featuring himself on the congas and his wife La Roka as lead vocalist. To listen to their music check out http://www.myspace.com/larokasoul and to check out footage of the dance company and listen to the music Kwikstep mixed for Full Circle performances check out the videos at www.fullcirclesoul.com. More team member info soon to follow.