It's been more than 10 years since Larry Clark's seminal Kids made every teenager in America want to move to New York City, and every parent in America want to keep them as far away as humanly possible. With Wassup Rockers, Clark brings his signature style to the West Coast, following a group of Latino punks on a racially and socially charged journey from their home in South Central to the surreal world of Beverly Hills. Like Kids, the film blurs the line between documentary and narrative filmmaking, with handheld cameras and non-actors taking starring roles.
Wassup Rockers grew out of a chance meeting between Clark and the teenage stars of the film while Clark was on a photo shoot for a French magazine. "My first thought was that you never see kids like this in film," says the director. "They're at an age where they should have the freedom to express themselves in any way they want to," he continues. "But the peer pressure to conform in the ghetto is amazing–it's stronger than Beverly Hills or the suburbs or anywhere else. These kids have to fight because they want to wear their hair long and listen to punk rock and skate and wear tight clothes and just have fun and not smoke pot [or] drink."