You can be forgiven if you weren’t aware of Mongolian hip-hop until you just read this sentence; I wasn’t until happening upon a Kickstarter project intending to capture the rising genre through a feature-length documentary. It probably shouldn’t be surprising to see how fully-formed and unique Mongolia’s hip-hop scene is considering the music/culture’s proliferation throughout the world but, for most of us, I’d hazard that it is pretty well unknown. Luckily Mongolian Bling, the aforementioned doc, should change this in the near future by capturing the nation’s take on the well-loved genre on film.
The project, spearheaded by director/editor/cameraman Benj Binks, has been developing over the past five years, time spent travelling Mongolia’s expansive countryside and bustling cities. In Mongolian Bling Binks and crew explore the various ways in which centuries of national culture and the overwhelming influence of Western culture are colliding in a country’s modern popular music. From the streets of Ulaanbaatar to its surrounding Ger Districts and beyond, Binks has worked hard to trace the evolution of a music and what the country’s biggest stars think about the ever-evolving artistic traditions of their homeland.
Ultimately, Mongolian Bling hopes to express a little bit of what it “means to be Mongolian for the youth of the country in 2011” by combining looks into the country’s rich cultural and historical traditions with its contemporary embrace of an internationally prevalent musical movement. It’s an interesting stance to take and one that will likely shed some light on the modern dilemma of so many countries where the domination of Western and national culture intermingle to create new, hybrid forms of identity.
Mongolian Bling‘s makers needs interested parties to toss a few sheckles their way in order to get the project finished in the style it deserves. Although already nearly completed (a TV-ready, one hour version of the doc has already been picked up for future broadcast by ABC) Binks and co. want to do their subjects justice by cutting a full-length film suitable for entry to film festivals and popular distribution. To do this they need money for further editing, sound mixing, soundtrack creation, color correction, securing rights for original music and archival footage, DVD/screen reproduction, international publicity and more.
You’ll be handsomely rewarded for makin’ it rain on the film’s producers and spreading the joy of Mongolian hip-hop around the world. Contributors are set to receive specially designed t-shirts, posters (featuring a blend of traditional and graffiti inspired Mongolian art styles), listing in the film’s special thanks, copies of Mongolian Bling, CD soundtracks and, for the extremely generous, the ability to join filmmaker Benji Binks on a two-week Mongolian Bling Tour across (where else) Mongolia.
Want to know more about Mongolian Bling or Mongolian hip-hop in general? Head over to the project’s website, Facebook page or (of course) its Kickstarter home to get hip to the genre’s history, look and sound. Mongolian Bling will be funded on Tuesday, November 29th at 1.24pm EST if it reaches its $50,000 pledging goal on time.