August 1, 2022
Samantha Grimes plays her guitar upside down.
“One of the most impactful moments of my life was the two-hour interview we had about George Floyd and other conversations about racism and being black in America. Being able to document him recording two albums reflecting on these topics was very cool for me. I was able to watch him express himself and his opinions through his music in hopes to enlighten others and promote a greater change in all of us and our society.”
Originally, I had planned to create a short documentary focused on Nur-D and his music. After George Floyd was murdered, I realized that was influencing a lot of things that he was doing in his personal life as well as his music. There was an opportunity for me as a filmmaker to tackle much larger issues like racism and social justice, and I was determined to take full advantage of that. That’s when a short music documentary turned into something so much bigger and in the end required a longer runtime.
The first time I saw Nur-D perform was actually at the 2019 Battle of the Bands event put on by Fast Horse. From the first song I heard, I knew that I was witnessing something special. Being a nerd myself, I instantly felt a connection to him and his music. The next day I messaged him on Instagram to tell him how much I enjoyed the show and that I wanted to learn more about his story through a documentary. From there the journey began and lasted around three years.
One of the most impactful moments of my life was the two-hour interview we had about George Floyd and other conversations about racism and being black in America. Being able to document him recording two albums reflecting on these topics was cool. I was able to watch him express himself and his opinions through his music in hopes to enlighten others and promote a greater change in all of us and our society.
I’m constantly watching documentaries for inspiration and was inspired by a lot of films, most were not music related. The biggest influence on me for this film was Last Chance University on Netflix. The show does a phenomenal job at diving deep into the characters’ stories and really understanding the struggles they deal with every day. Here’s a list of a few other films that I was inspired by: Baltimore Rising, Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops, Traffic Stop, Summer of Soul, and Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated.
I started shooting in February 2020 right before the pandemic and stopped shooting in February 2022. I captured four hours of interview footage and a ton of B-roll. There were so many great stories and sound bites that didn’t make it, but ultimately I had to keep reminding myself what the overall message of the film was. If it didn’t push forward that message, then it needed to be cut. Reviewing the film with others also helped when deciding what to get rid of.
I did shoot and edit the film with my own equipment. I used a Sony A7siii and a Canon 5D for cameras along with a simple lighting and audio setup. I edited the film on Final Cut Pro X. Documentary films can be made on iPhones nowadays, so my setup was extremely basic. To me it’s more about the story than the technology.
I continue to watch Nur-D grow and grow as a musician, and I don’t think that’s stopping anytime soon. I think he has potential to become as big as he wants to be, and I know he will continue to greatly impact the people who listen to his music and that’s really what matters.
We will be releasing “Black Kid, White Town” on YouTube for everyone to see at the beginning of August, so you can follow @nurdrocks on Instagram for updates on that release. I’m currently working for a Minneapolis video production company called Acowsay. We are working on a full-length documentary about the MN Aurora who’s first year as a pre-professional women’s soccer team just ended with them making it into the playoff finals. The film will cover things like being a female athlete in a male dominated world of sports, mental health, community and inclusivity. I just hope that I can continue working on meaningful documentary projects and impact as many people as possible.