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VIDEO | Paul Starkman talks hip-hop, New York and his movie Wheels

John Bleasdale talks to Paul Starkman director of his New York hymn to hip hop

If you can make it there you can make it anywhere. But the first part of Sinatra’s lyric is as they say the rub. Can you make it there? That’s the question for young Max (Arnstar), an up and coming deejay who lacks the decks – or the ‘wheels’ – to play on. Shot in a beautiful black and white, Wheels is a compelling drama about following your dreams over some rough terrain. We first see Max playing a children’s party and there’s an essential sweetness to his character which is sometimes at odds with the Brooklyn that surrounds him. He looks after his grandmother and deal with his brother who has just returned from a 3-year-stretch in prison and soon feels the pull of his old criminal friends. Steeped in Hip Hop tradition – the film features a cameo from Wild Style’s Lee George Quinones – and some banging sounds, Wheels is about ambition, music and making it there. We had the opportunity to talk with the director Paul Starkman via Zoom the day after Donald Trump left the White House and so we obviously started there.

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