Some of the most intriguing record producers are those who can create albums that are not only musical, but also cinematic and narrative in structure, and exemplify the artist’s highly conceptual creative process. That’s certainly the case with versatile hip-hop record producer, Austin Hart, who performs under the stage name, L’Orange.
The musician’s life as a writer-composer is chronicled in the new documentary, ‘The Mad Writer,’ which is one of only nine feature documentaries that was accepted to screen during this year’s Slamdance Film Festival. The project is also the only music documentary that’s included in the feature section, and is in the competition category, at the festival.
Slamdance’s 29th edition is currently taking place in person in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, for the first time since 2020, until this Thursday, January 26. 2023. ‘The Mad Writer’ is having its second screening tomorrow, January 24, at 1:00 pm MT at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, after it premiered on Friday. Beginning today until this Sunday, January 29, the festival is also screening virtually on the Slamdance Channel.
‘The Mad Writer’ follows L’Orange, a rising hip-hop phenom, who’s dealing with mysterious tumors in his ear canals. The movie follows his journey of fear of the unknown and what this could mean for his career as a music writer, producer and composer. The film also captures L’Orange’s struggle with depression and anxiety as he undergoes several surgeries that may affect both his hearing and his career in music. The musician initially stated he thought the documentary was a mistake, but he eventually relented and agreed to have his life chronicled in the feature.
One of L’Orange’s friends, documentary editor Zach Kashkett, made his feature film directorial debut with ‘The Mad Writer.’ He also wrote, edited and co-produced the movie. The film was also co-produced by James Haygood (‘Fight Club,’ ‘Panic Room,’ ‘Tron: Legacy’), Katherine LeBlond (‘Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me,’ ‘Janis: Little Girl Blue,’ ‘Always Jane’) and Jon Webb (Westbrook Entertainment). Trevor Metscher (‘The Originals,’ ‘The Accountant’) served as the documentary’s Director of Photography.
L’Orange and Kashkett generously took the time earlier this month, before the feature’s premiere at Slamdance, to talk about penning, helming, editing, producing and appearing in ‘The Mad Writer’ during an exclusive interview over Zoom. Watch the interview with the musician and filmmaker in the above video.