Work / Film

Scott Carthy talks about his hugely successful NYC subway dancers film

Scott Carthy only graduated from Kingston University’s Graphic Design course last summer, but the 22-year-old Irish creative looks like he has a very big 2015 in front of him if the first week is anything to go by. Uploaded just seven days ago, Scott’s new film Litefeet has racked up thousands of views and been featured on many of the leading creative blogs around. The film – which follows New York subway dancers against the backdrop of a city-wide crackdown on their activities – is the follow-up to 1050.6© Scott’s first look at the same issue which we featured back in May.

“I had originally seen the dancers in a YouTube clip, at the start of the final year of uni. I thought it would be great to make some sort of film with these guys but obviously never thought anything would come of it. It was only while out in the city working on another project in March that I came across them on the subway, and started discovering that a new crackdown had been implemented against them. I decided to commit some time to it while out there and just see where it went.

“I had no intention of developing it any further until I saw the reaction to the first film and how this could be a subject I revisit.”

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Scott Carthy: Litefeet (still)

At 17 minutes the new film is more than twice as long as the first, which reflects the time and effort that went into its production.

“I spent months just looking into the history of Litefeet and subway dancing, its online presence, and tried to see the potential in another film that way. I made contact with the dancers as well so it allowed me to develop the film from London; what type of scenes to shoot to explore different aspects of the dance, what characters or groups should I focus on, what kit would be best suited for this etc.” He spent eight days with different dance groups “which gave me a much better understanding of what was what, what made the styles different. After a while I think my presence just became normal and it was all very chilled.”

Scott says the dancers were happy to welcome him into their groups, convinced that this was a good way to get their message across. But interestingly in the new film Scott also gives a voice to the other side of the argument, centred on the Broken Window theory of policing which suggests that even seemingly small or insignificant improvements can have wide-ranging effects on the city as a whole. “It was really important to give this subject some grounding historically,” he says. “If people are watching it in other cities and countries they need some context as to why this is developing the way it is, and it makes the subject much more interesting to have that knowledge to form your own opinion with.”

He admits he’s been hugely surprised by the reaction to Litefeet (“It’s all really blown up over the past few days”) but he’s pleased he’s brought this very local issue to a much wider audience. For now though he thinks he’s done telling this particular story.

“I’ve another piece coming out in the next few months covering a different area of New York’s street dance culture, but after that I want to see what’s going on in the rest of the world, what other crazy shit is happening that people need to see. I’ve just planted a money tree so hopefully that will start producing fresh notes to fund it all with. That’s how it works right?”

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Scott Carthy: Litefeet (still)

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Scott Carthy: Litefeet (still)

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Scott Carthy: Litefeet (still)

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Scott Carthy: Litefeet (still)

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Scott Carthy: Litefeet (still)

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Scott Carthy: Litefeet (still)

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Scott Carthy: Litefeet (still)