In 2004, Benj Binks started working for Intrepid as a group leader on the Trans-Siberian Railway. He soon found himself in Mongolia and was caught off guard by the bustling modern city of Ulaanbaatar, with its cafes, trendy youth and hip hop. Mongolia soon became a highlight of his 3-week trips, and Benj fell in love with the country’s culture, people and music.
After leaving Intrepid, Benj pursued a career in filmmaking and returned to Mongolia to make his first documentary. Mongolian Bling delves into the world of Mongolian hip hop and explores how the youth are identifying with its beats and rhymes, whilst reconnecting with their ancient music. The film is in its final stages of production, but it’s now ‘all or nothing’. If $50k is not raised by Tuesday, 29 November, Benj and his team will receive nothing. If you want to help bring Mongolian Bling to the big screen, please make your pledge via Kickstarter today!
Mongolian Bling is an exploration of modern Mongolia. Based in the country’s thriving capital Ulaanbaatar, the film follows hip hop superstar Quiza, underground rapper Gee and the country’s first female rapper, Gennie. Joining them are traditional musicians, shamans and youth seeking an identity in hip hop, all of whom help weave an intriguing story about this emerging democracy.
Mongolian Bling has already caught the eye of the ABC and Screen Australia, both of whom provided funding for a one hour TV version of the film that’s due to be screened next year. But now Benj and his team of are vying to take it that bit further with a full feature length version for cinema and DVD, and have launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to raise the required funds.
“There are so many incredible elements and nuances to Mongolia’s music scene that we want to show. Most films that come out of Mongolia only focus on the traditional aspects of the country, such as the herders, nomads and ancient lifestyle. Mongolian Bling is the first film about modern Mongolia, and the feature length version is the story we really want to tell, not the version that has to be crammed into one hour for television” says Benj. “To create this, we’re asking anyone who loves music, foreign cultures and just amazing stories to jump on board and pledge money.”
In return for pledges, there are some unique rewards that the filmmakers are offering including traditional art by the country’s first graffiti artist, Bling Postcards, thanks in the credits, a place on the Mongolian Bling tour happening in August 2012 and of course the DVD!