Photos courtesy of Sean Leon's Instagram
Sean Leon, the multitalented artist and founder of Toronto-based “IXXI Initiative”, premiered his short film LIFE WHEN YOU’RE THE MOVIE on Monday, January 23rd at Royal Cinema in Toronto. The 11-minute long film previews Leon’s upcoming project, “BLACK SHEEP NIRVANA”; a trilogy of full-length albums that are scheduled to drop throughout 2017.
“I’m just gunna put my life on the screen,” said Leon to the audience before the film began to play, “and I hope you’re gunna rock with me.”
The short film is a compilation of dreamlike visuals of Toronto and the greater area, with Sean Leon as the protagonist. The focus of the film is to show the audience a glimpse into Leon’s life and how his personal experiences have inspired the production of “BLACK SHEEP NIRVANA”.
Premiering the film in a small independent theatre in his hometown lent an overwhelming feeling of intimacy to the evening. It is this sort of event that perpetuates the feeling that Sean Leon is real and earnestly human. In his music, Leon has never shied away from going to a raw and oftentimes, dark place - and this is possibly what appeals to so many of his fans. People can relate to his vulnerability. He speaks his mind; he even writes his own Twitter feed. This level of transparency exudes confidence, but it also emanates overwhelming charm. His extreme hunger for his artistry is staggering as he explains, “I want to quit every day. I do everything from the heart so it hurts sometimes. To have a moment like this you have to have some dark times.”
We see him taking risks, and we also see him pulling it off. He’s doing it his way, and he is unapologetic about it.
"I just want to be myself. Every single person is their own movie - it's on you.”
This year, Leon is ready to prove to the world that he is a force to be recognized and LIFE WHEN YOU’RE THE MOVIE is just the beginning.
After the viewing, Leon sat down to do a Q&A where he explained the idea behind the film, what is to come from him in 2017, and his vision for elevating Toronto’s creatives and encouraging the whole artistic community.
Here’s a recap of the highlights from the film as well as from the evening’s Q&A with Sean Leon:
“The short film was made because we failed so many times at shooting a music video. I wanted to make and design something new that people would want to watch more than once because it grips you.” - Leon
“The idea is to have you walk right behind me. There is a scene in the film with the door of a GO Train (Toronto public transit system) opening, and that is an invitation to hop on this ride with Me.” - Leon
“In the film, I wear my Nike blazers as a symbol of myself being a ‘trail blazer’ in the music industry.” - Leon
A raw aesthetic is procured throughout the film by different means. Poetic voiceovers, spoken by Leon as well as by the poet and writer, Tania Peralta (also the mother of Leon’s daughter) are used meaningfully. 35mm photographs are interspersed candidly throughout the film, conveying the sincerity of the images in their reception.
Scenes with Leon smoking weed are dazed, whimsical, and heady.
He also shows us a softer side in the many scenes that star his daughter, Xylo.
“The film is about where I come from and how it’s affected me. The sins of the parents are often cyclical. I wanted to explore how my parents affected me, and now how I am affecting my daughter.” - Leon
When asked why he does what he does, Leon explained, “… it’s to express myself. I do it for my family. I do it for the kids in the 905 with little opportunity to do better.”
“In 2017 my purpose is to feed my family and to progress as a human being.” - Leon
Sean Leon’s Album “I Think You’ve Gone Mad/Sins of the Father” is officially scheduled to drop on February 5th. It is the first release of the BLACK SHEEP NIRVANA trilogy.
“This album is full of Canadian talent.” Leon even goes so far as to hyperbolize that it is “the most Canadian album of all time.” In this way, he wants to help other talented artists. Bring everybody together and build up the city by “making great stuff together.” He wants to build up the artistic community and show that Toronto is “the best fucking city in the world.”