Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall
Over the course of just two weeks, YouTube wunderkind and former American Idol contestant Todrick Hall aspires to shoot 16 videos for his visual album Straight Outta Oz, which he’ll then immediately take on the road in the form of an extravagant live musical. The budget is tight and the manpower limited to close confidants and fans; yet the finished project is as polished, provocative, and ambitious as anything crafted by his more mainstream musical contemporaries. But Todrick is not looking for Top-40 fame — something he achieves anyway — but rather direct contact with fans both online and in-person.
Grabbing iconic Disney images and Taylor Swift music videos and reworking their contexts, Todrick gleefully subverts whitewashed pop culture, moving like a chameleon from sparkly red slippers to football helmets, from the Wicked Witch to Beyoncé. Affirmation and joyful inclusion is priority number one in every performance and this positivity transforms the lives of countless LGBTQ fans that tearfully thank him after each show for helping them deal with homophobia and bullying.
Director Katherine Fairfax Wright (Call Me Kuchu, Frameline36) uses the millennial artist’s jumpy, high-wire genius and his collaborative efforts with stars like Bob the Drag Queen, Wayne Brady, and even Queen Bey herself, to inform her film’s own glittery style and energy. The result is a breathless and gorgeously photographed documentary that highlights the joy of Todrick’s music as well as the impact his powerfully inclusive message has on younger generations.
— HARRY VAUGHN
- Website: Facebook
- Premiere Status: Bay Area