Working to erase stigmatized BMX culture with Raphael Xavier’s film ‘Swerve’
The Philly-based filmmaker wants to address and eliminate the stigma surrounding the city’s BMX culture.
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The Wilmington, Delaware-born Raphael Xavier is known today as a filmmaker and all-around artist working in Philadelphia.
Xavier is a noted hip-hop artist, music producer, breaker/dancer, visual artist, comedian, writer and professor in addition to being a filmmaker. He has also worked as a photographer.
He is the founder of the Somatic dance technique, Ground-Core, and is a former member of Rennie Harris Puremovement. He also tours with the production, The Musician & the Mover.
The filmmaker teaches at Princeton University and The University of Texas at Austin. He teaches a History of Hip-Hop Dance and Culture course and some Intro to Breaking Courses.
Multitalented, Xavier has been dancing for the past 25 years, often specializing in breaking.
As a filmmaker, he is known for his documentary Chamber of Echoes, which originally premiered in 2012.
The documentary was filmed in Brazil, and depicted Xavier’s trip to the country, where he taught his techniques to a group of dancers from the Favelas of Rio.
Now, Xavier is working on a new short film titled Swerve: The Movie.
Swerve depicts an old school BMX rider, Xander, who mentors Eli, a 15-year-old kid — played by Jayden Alexander — seeking reputation among the BMX scene in Philly.
The film will be directed by Gary Dourdan. Starring alongside Jayden Alexander is Xavier, who also produced. Xavier plays Xander.
Xavier self-produced the film after utilizing an IPMF grant. The filmmaker has been riding BMX since age 12, influencing the story behind Swerve.
One main intent of Swerve is to dismantle the standing stigma surrounding BMX riders and culture in Philadelphia, and potentially beyond.
The Swerve producer hopes to highlight the positive impact BMX has on communities, offering a pastime that keeps riders active and focused.
Swerve: The Movie does not have a release date, but is promised to be released soon. Those interested can stay up-to-date through Swerve’s Instagram page.