Video: “The Convergence Campaign” By Manifesto Community Projects And The Remix Project

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Over the course of the last eight years, I have had the honor of learning from, collaborating with and building with some of  Toronto’s most talented artists and community leaders through the Remix Project and also through  Manifesto (which is otherwise known as Manifesto Community Projects).

Collaborating with both organizations has definitely helped me to curtail the fears and daunting existential dilemmas that most creative individuals experience. Furthermore, since 2007, being amongst like-minded members of Manifesto and the Remix Project always reminded me that I was not alone and that I should always dream big and follow through on those dreams. Watching both organizations evolve from their humble beginnings has been impressive and I am grateful for their creative energies and hugely positive impact on Canada’s arts community and marginalized youth populations.

With that said, this article is a congratulatory post to my friends Gavin Sheppard and Che Kothari (along with their business partners Ryan Paterson and Drex Jancar along with the rest of their respective organizations).

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Short Film: “Tie Fighter” By Paul Johnson

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I have been a huge fan of “Star Wars” mythology since I was a kid and I’m very excited about the release of “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” this coming December, even though George Lucas is not directing it.

In the meantime, a super-talented British filmmaker by the name of Paul Johnson has released an animated short film entitled “Tie Fighter”, which depicts the forces of good and evil with a primary focus on the dark, Galactic Empire.

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a j a n i photography: Polaroids of Alina

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I love the digital age, I love social media and other aspects of digital media, I love the fact that the quality of my cellphone’s camera allows me to practice my skills at any given moment and I love the fact that I can instantly share my work with thousands of people around the world.

However, even though the vast majority of the images that I shoot are presently digital, I am forever grateful for my early years as an analogue photographer that exclusively used film, between the seventh grade and my second year of university.

During those years, I was a kid, my economic resources were limited and as a result, film was limited. Furthermore, darkroom time was restricted, so I had to make every photograph count. Each roll of film was sacred , every second in the darkroom was cherished and the process of shooting and developing film was not unlike a religious rite of passage.

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a j a n i photography: Travis Scott Live In Concert For HipHopCanada

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Over the course of the last seven years, I have worked with, have been on stage with, have learned from, have documented and have shot portraits of countless musicians, artists, entertainers and icons that I admire on a number levels.

With that said, at this point in my career, it takes a number of unique qualities for an artist to peak my interest, regardless of what medium they use to create their artwork.

Since 2013, Travis Scott has been one of a few musical artists that I became an instant fan of (for numerous reasons). As such, I was truly excited to cover his concert at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall this past Tuesday and even though I had thoroughly listened to his “Days Before Rodeo” project prior to the concert, I had no idea what to expect from his live performance.

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Documentary: “Not Afraid: The Shady Records Story” By Complex

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Much of the chronology of my life and many of my memories are tied to music that reminds me of certain periods of time.

In terms of my early high school years, many of my memories are intertwined and triggered by Dr. Dre’s “Chronic 2001″ masterpiece and most of Eminem’s seminal work during the late 90s and early 2000s.

In fact, one of my earliest high school memories involves being intrigued and perplexed by my first viewing of Eminem’s “My Name Is” music video.

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a j a n i photography: Rich Homie Quan Live In Concert For The Substance Group

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Prior to traveling to Atlanta, I didn’t have a truly experiential point of reference for Atlanta’s Hip-Hop culture or the the societal nuances that influenced it. My appreciation for Southern Hip-Hop only extended as far as BET, MTV, Much Music and a childhood of mixtapes, mix CDs and digital downloads.

However, once I visited Atlanta for the first time, I began to understand Atlanta’s Hip-Hop music at a deeper level.

Prior to that first trip, I read an interview featuring Julia Beverly (of Ozone Magazine) in which she described Southern Hip-Hop music as being music that doesn’t place a great deal of emphasis on lyrical complexity and is produced primarily for nightclubs or as part of one’s soundtrack for a long drive.

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Documentary: “Florida Man” By Sean Dunne

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In many ways, Florida is the underbelly of the United States, with many of the nation’s most absurd and sometimes horrific crimes taking place within the state’s borders.

Sean Dunne’s endlessly quotable and surprisingly poignant “Florida Man” documentary features worn out and inebriated layabouts in the Sunshine State, interviewing a number of beer can philosophers over the course of fifty minutes.

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a j a n i photography: Suzhou, China

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Suzhou is a major city in the southeast of Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, it’s adjacent to Shanghai Municipality and it takes about an hour and a half to drive to from Shanghai (without traffic).

When I first traveled to Suzhou (about two years ago), I didn’t know what to expect and I was quite exhausted from a late night and early morning out in Shanghai, checking out some of the city’s many nightclubs.

At the time, my friend Xue Qi was involved in facilitating some tours throughout China on behalf of French nationals, she told me that Suzhou was one of the most beautiful places in China and as such, she basically put me onto a bus so that I could experience it firsthand.

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Short Film: “Retrowave” By Florian Renner

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Germany’s Florian Renner directed an animated a cool 80s-inspired short animation entitled “Retrowave”.

The project basically combines the worlds of “Back To The Future” and “Tron” by turning a DeLorean into a Light Cycle on The Grid (as per the fictional world of “Tron”).

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Short Film: “Jungle” By Karim Huu Do

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“Jungle” was recently shared through the October’s Very Own blog and features Drake traveling throughout the GTA while providing his intimate insights on the entertainment world, his lifestyle, superstardom and Toronto (among other things).

The short film, directed by Karim Huu Do features a number of Drake’s collaborators, friends and colleagues, including 40, P. Reign and Future and is interlaced with poignant visuals that feature a cold and dream-like overtone.

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