Many of us remain attached to our hometowns long after we move away. The people, places and things that helped make us who we are live on forever as treasured memories. While our upbringings may also be filled with strife, trials and tribulations, home will always have a piece of our heart.
This is one of the central themes in the entertaining documentary Making SkyBreak, the story of music producer Zo! and his quest to create his best album yet. Through engaging interviews and a tightly woven narrative fueled by a stellar R&B soundtrack, Making SkyBreak succeeds as both a well-told examination of artistry and an entertaining time at the movies.
The aforementioned interviews, conducted by director-producer Donnie Seals Jr., take the viewer inside Zo!’s process. Zo!’s friends, collaborators and fellow musicians give us a backstage pass to the main man’s process, as Zo! himself waxes poetic about his process from the confines of his Washington D.C.-set studio. The artist is tireless in his methodical approach to music, and is intent on producing his best work yet—the album that eventually becomes SkyBreak.
Like the many other albums in the accomplished artist’s discography, SkyBreak is a contemporary soul record that incorporates jazz, pop and hip hop elements to create a listening experience unlike anything you’re likely to hear on the radio or, well, anywhere. But there’s something different about SkyBreak, which Zo! – and all of the artists with whom he works – knows.
But while the interviews with Zo!’s colleagues and collaborators are both enlightening and entertaining, it is the artist’s journey from city-to-city that give the readers true insight – and pack an emotional wallop. The artist’s hometown of Detroit provides the backdrop for some of the documentary’s most powerful scenes, while also drawing a distinctive link between Zo!’s city and his artistry.
It is in these moments – however fleeting they may be in Seals’ quick, fast-paced pic – that the viewer begins to understand the man behind the music: his inspirations, his family and his home. And that history – more than any track or collab – shows us the true magic of both SkyBreak and its talented creator.
Making Skybreak is a documentary feature and runs 57 minutes and will be shown Saturday, January 27 at 5 p.m. with 40 Seconds and Print Shop as part of Denton Black Film Festival. This screening will be shown at the Black Box Theatre, 318 E Hickory St. To purchase tickets at the online box office, click here.