READ MORE: Meet the 2015 SXSW Filmmakers #23: Luke Meyer Follows Pre-Teen Metal Band in ‘Breaking A Monster’
Indiewire’s Nigel M. Smith moderated a panel at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival in March discussing the musical, coming-of-age documentary “Breaking a Monster,” which chronicles the young rock band Unlocking the Truth and their journey to stardom as well as childhood obstacles. The band’s 12 and 13-year-old members, Malcolm Brickhouse, Jarad Dawkins and Alec Atkins, the film’s director, Luke Meyer, and producer Tom Davis spoke about the making of the film, gaining their parents’ trust and what it was like following the band for a year.
Highlights from the talk are below. You can watch the entire discussion above. “Breaking a Monster” plays next at HotDocs Documentary Film Festival in Toronto.
Teens Enjoy Their Privacy
When asked what they thought of the rough cut, band member Dawkins revealed that he initially thought that some of his personal material should have been cut, in particular his relationship stories. Davis then revealed that it was Brickhouse who acted as the voice of reason for the group in this instance, saying, “We all have to commit to this thing.” A band as young as they are were worried about privacy, but also had the courage to go through with what they knew was right for the film. “Now that I see it, I think that it’s a great part of the movie,” said Dawkins.
Age Wasn’t the Only Challenge
The band recounted a moment in the film when a video blogger made offensive accusations towards the group, including that Sony only picked them up based on their race. “It was obvious that us being young and black and playing heavy metal was going to bring attention to us,” said Brickhouse. “I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that people may be interested in us for other reasons besides our talent.” The band had to overcome stereotypes as they grew to stardom, such as being mistaken for a hip-hop band rather than heavy metal. “It’s gonna happen everywhere,” said Dawkins.
Could This Be the “Boyhood” of Documentaries?
The filmmakers may want to document the band’s ongoing journey. “It’s something we’re talking about,” said Davis. “It’s something, with the right partner in place, it has crossed our mind.” The band would also be open to it. “I’m always writing, I’m always motivated, I’m always open to new ideas,” said Dawkins. “Anything that helps me and helps other people.”