Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Film Review: Flight Facilities "Across America"

Flight Facilities are a household name in Australian dance music but a never-before-seen mini documentary shows us that behind the polished performances are two good mates who make music for a living, and love it. Red Bull Media House  produced Across America during the duo’s coast-spanning tour of the USA in early 2015. It is hard not to get caught up in their incessant banter, self-deprecation and ability to transform any uncomfortable touring experience into a practical joke.
The film is edited as more like a memory flashback rather than a step-by-step guide to the touring journey. We start at one of their packed out shows in Las Vegas, jump to conversations in their tour bus, studio jams, free time and back to the concert halls. All the while the camera feels unobtrusive, as if we’re watching their backstage shenanigans as another member of the touring crew.
‘Of course, we see the classic flashes of fame, including quick cuts of girls screaming à la Beatles Shea Stadium to those same girls later getting their chests autographed with the FF logo. But the main storyline and most endearing aspect of the film is the opposing creative dynamics between the two: Hugo Gruzman aka the jokester, shown rolling in the snow in a Hawaiian shirt and boxers, alongside James Lyell (Jimmy) who does yoga and packs his suitcase meticulously on tour.
Across America uncovers valuable snippets in its interviews with the boys, their manager, Future Classic label staff and music journalists. We find out that the duo took an hour to create their first track together, which become a funky, rhythmic track “Big Fat Rio.” We also get to see childhood photos in their bedroom and footage of past live shows. It is a story of two unlike characters with like minds, who get on famously and saw a spark in their work from the get go.
While we don’t know where they are at times, Red Bull have done a great job of expressing the spontaneity of overseas performances and the freedom of the tour bus lifestyle. The two started out as DJs but possessed a knack for writing great original content which, as the film shows, translates across international dance floors. And while Jimmy notes that Flight Facilities have never broken industry records, “we’ve never been the top of the top,” it seems to be better that way because they truly live both the ordinary and the extraordinary.
Flight Facilities: Across America premiered at an event in Sydney earlier this month and will will be available online soon.
Published on The Iris.