Check It - OFFICIAL SOUNDTRACK

by Paul Brill

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about

A documentary film directed by Toby Oppenheimer and Dana Flor
Official Selection of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival

At first glance, they seem unlikely gang-bangers. Some of the boys wear lipstick and mascara, some stilettos. They carry Louis Vuitton bags – but they also carry knives, brass knuckles and mace. They’re known on the streets as the Check It – an African-American gang struggling to survive in some of the most violent neighborhoods of Washington DC. As vulnerable gay and transgender youth, they’ve been shot, stabbed, and raped. Once victims, they’ve now turned the tables, and they're fighting back. Started in 2005 by a group of bulled 9th graders, today these 14-22 year old gang members all have long rap sheets riddled with various street crimes and many have done time in jail.

CHECK IT is an intimate portrait of four childhood friends as they claw themselves out of gang life through an unlikely avenue: fashion. Led by an ex-convict named “Mo”, the Check It members are now creating their own clothing label, putting on fashion shows and working stints as runway models. But breaking the cycle of poverty and violence they’ve grown up in is a daunting task. So when they’re not taking small steps forward on the catwalk, they too often take massive steps backwards. Many spend their days and nights fighting, stealing, selling drugs. Many will end up in jail – or worse.

We live in an age where gay bashing worldwide is increasingly met with zero tolerance, but in these kid’s neighborhoods and many others like it, it happens with mind-numbing regularity and no media coverage. The Check It is one small gang in one city, but it reflects a national issue. Being gay in poor, violent African-American neighborhoods carries a dangerous stigma. For the Check It and those like them, standing up for who they are is more than an issue of gay pride. It’s literally risking their lives.

Life for the Check It can be brutal, but for the leaders of the 200-plus crew – Skittles, Tray, Day Day, and Alton – it’s also one full of hope and an indomitable resiliency. At its heart, CHECK IT explores the undying friendship that exists between these kids: an unbreakable bond that is tested every day as they fight to stand up for who they are in a community relentlessly trying to beat them down. These kids and their lives are utterly unique, but ultimately their story – and this film – is a universal one about hope and redemption against all odds.

credits

released April 16, 2016

Original Score Composed, Performed and Produced by Paul Brill
at Casa de Rico y Luca Studios, Brooklyn

Additional Recording by Ed McEntee
at Sterling Society Social Club, Brooklyn
Assisted by Kate Lucas

Additional Musicians:

Dave Eggar – Cello
Eli Brueggemann - Piano
Rob Jost – Bass
Bill Dobrow - Drums
Peter Lalish – Electric Guitar
Elizabeth Ziman – Keyboards

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about

Paul Brill Brooklyn, New York

An innovative composer, songwriter and producer, Paul has received 3 EMMY AWARD nominations for his film scores. Paul also won the first-ever Best Music Award from the International Documentary Association for his score for the film, “Better this World.” Brill collaborated with Rock legends, U2 on the HBO film, “Burma Soldier,” composing a new string arrangement for their classic song, “Walk On.” ... more

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