Tickets for the Miami International Film Festival sure-to-be cacophonous premiere of the documentary International Noise Conference 2013 go on sale this Friday, so it seemed like as good a time as any to check in with director Ronnie Rivera... How did the idea for the doc come about?
I have been photographing the noise community in Miami for a few years. It was a natural progression to make a short film about it. Tatiana Hernandez, who was familiar with my work, commissioned me to make a video on the International Noise Conference for the Knight Foundation.
How did you approach giving narrative form to such chaotic sounds?
I wanted the narrative to be shaped by the conference itself which in one is run with precision. Acts at the conference play no more than fifteen minutes; the next act starts immediately after the previous act. In another way it is unstructured -- anything can happen. There is a visual arch in the film that I feel captures the essence of the conference. I have seen a man dressed as the Pope pee into cups and drink them on stage while screaming, demonstrations of self-mutilation, bizarre rituals involving organ meat and feathers. Then there are acts that are more musical such as doom metal bands, surf rock, experimental and electronic acts.
Was getting a solid recording of the performances difficult? It is difficult to capture the International Noise Conference. During previous years, I covered the festival on my own. For the film, I had several photographers and videographers from the Miami music scene, covering it simultaneously. In the end, I had more than enough to accomplish what I had intended.
What do you hope people with no knowledge of this scene will take away from the film?
I hope people get excited about this incredible sub-culture that probably exists in their own community. I hope people get a sense of how insane, horrible and beautiful it is to experience people creating in this way.
How did your take change as a result of making it?
This film was more involved than my previous attempts to cover the festival. These people tap into this other dimension and they unleash this wall of sound, that is infinite. You can get lost in it. It is a meditative experience.