Amidst Kids’ Anniversary, A Documentary Is In Production By One Of The Film’s Stars
Yesterday (July 28), Larry Clark’s film, Kids, turned 19 years old. The July, 1995 theatrical release resonated with generations of Heads, ranging from those who watched it, those who lived it, and even those who watch now, and simply learn from it.
One of the film’s stars, Hamilton Harris, is now in the process of producing a documentary film on the movie, his title: The Kids. Harris, who was part of Telly and Kasper’s entourage of friends, may be best remembered for his on-screen segment, explaining how to roll a blunt.
The documentary lens captures the long-believed truth that the film’s actors, primarily 1990s New York City youth in their own right, weren’t all that different from the characters they portrayed. The youth movement was an intersection of skate culture, Hip-Hop, with extensive depictions of drugs, sex, homophobia, and more. Other actors in a cast that includes Rosario Dawson and Chloe Sevigny, are said to have felt marginalized by the portrayals in Kids, possibly feeling that the film exploited a complex culture, and placed judgement on its characters.
VICE interviewed Hamilton Harris, to get some understanding, and intel on the doc:
On The Portrayal Of The “Kids”: Yeah, it’s that thing of something being so abstract but so tangible. See, that’s what Larry [Clark] captured in the film, man. I don’t care how fabricated the story was—us bashing gay dudes, all that shit. It was Larry’s story and vision; let it be what it is. But he did capture that primal essence of this reality we were living—that energy, which is spiritual, as far as I see it.
The Negative Fallout In The NYC Skate Scene Because Of The Film: After the movie happened, people who weren’t in it—but who were a part of the group—had gripes with this intrusion into our lives and people making money off it, while we’re still struggling, starving, and finding our way through life, alone. That’s not to say [the filmmakers] did us wrong on that, because those of us who were in the movie chose to be. But there was a lot of dysfunction both prior to and after the film’s release—people going from being in this little subculture, dealing with these complex situations in a sleepless city, to being a part of this new pop culture, with all that dysfunction and trauma squared. It’s still a very sensitive topic—there’s a lot of resentment. So this documentary is quite a responsibility on me, you know what I mean? I had to do a lot of reflecting on myself first to get to the point of even doing this interview, 20 years later.
What Prompted The Documentary: It started in 2006, a few months after Harold [Hunter] died. At that time, people were doing all kinds of documentaries and books on our lives growing up, which was great, but nobody from the group ever told it themselves. We were all still dealing with various levels of mental and emotional trauma, and then Harold passes and it’s like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” But the thought of doing something kept haunting me. I got talking about the idea to one of the producers—writer, playwright, and actor Peter Welch—while working at a restaurant two blocks away from Rosario [Dawson] and Harold’s hood. This was in 2008, after years of self-doubt and fear of taking on this responsibility. It wasn’t until then that I actually sat down and got started.
How do you think the film represented the Kids?