Treefort Film Fest volunteers rushed to cobble together more seating options for the March 26 early evening screening of Buffalo Juggalos. Grabbing rustic stools fashioned from tree stumps and extra folding chairs, they were able to accommodate last minute stragglers inside the jam-packed Camp Modern tent.
After movie-goers grabbed their greyhounds and Aperol spritzes, they settled in for the main attraction: a 30-minute film Boise Weekly’s George Prentice called “the most controversial film of the festival.”
Centered on a community of Buffalo, New York-based Juggalos—aka fans of the group Insane Clown Posse (and other Psychopathic Records artists) known for wearing elaborate black and white face make-up—the film trades a narrative arc for a series of 30 experimental one-minute shots. In one of the opening scenes, two Juggalos sit silently in the back of a pick-up truck in a grassy field taking hits from a pipe as a bird call echoes around them. In other scenes, Juggalos mow lawns, make out, braid each other’s hair and recline on a couch. It’s a slice of everyday life in which all of the subjects are Juggalos.
The film also treads into darker territory, exploring some of the violence the community is known for. One Juggalo gets smashed over the head with a folding chair, another slowly licks a hatchet, a Juggalette stares straight into the camera lens while getting a tattoo. The entire film is silent—no dialogue, no music, just background noise—and certain shots linger on for an uncomfortably long time. It feels designed to make you squirm in your seat, and there were plenty of audience members that did.
After the screening, there was a Q&A with Buffalo Juggalos Director of Photography Nandan Rao (pictured on the left).
“I’m really psyched to be at Treefort representing the film,” said Rao. “I actually texted Scott [Cummings, the director] a picture of the line of all you guys waiting out there, to which he replied, ‘Daaafuuuuqqqq.’”
In an article written for Filmmaker Magazine, Cummings proclaimed, “My film is not about Juggalos. It is a Juggalo." Since Cummings couldn't be there to elaborate on that concept, Rao called one of the film’s stars—Johnny Blaze—and put him on speakerphone.
Asked what the collaborative process was like working on the film, Blaze replied, “It was just awesome. I think it took us about a month of pretty much every day shooting where everybody would do their scene and then just go back to the house. … I wasn’t too sure exactly what the whole idea of the movie was at first when Scott approached me. But then everything just kind of fell together. Most of it was improv where we would just be there and then Scott would have one idea and then we would just elaborate that idea between the three of us. Whatever happened ended up being the film.”
Toward the end of the Q&A, Rao commented, “I've never met a community that was so inclusive.” Blaze emphatically agreed, adding that without the Juggalo community,“I don't know if I would be here today.”