Electronic music, or EDM, has defined an entire generation of music lovers coming of age in the new millennium. Born from the unique musical stylings of under-represented communities in Chicago and Detroit, EDM has risen to exceptional heights, headlining some of the biggest international music festivals across the globe. However, the women who are operating in this artistic space and producing chart-topping tracks fail to receive the recognition that the men in their field are showered with.

Filmed over the summer festival season and criss-crossing around the world, the feature debut from award-winning documentary filmmaker Stacey Lee provides a platform for a diverse group of established DJs like Alison Wonderland, Sherelle, and Canada’s own REZZ. At the same time, the film amplifies the women operating in the underground scene and honours the trailblazers who went unheralded in their time.

Beautifully shot with intimate access, Underplayed is as revealing as it is poignant. Lee takes us on the personal, inner journeys of so many talented and vibrant women making their mark and rising to the top of their industry, while inspiring a more diverse range of artists for future generations. Perhaps what’s most affecting is how the narratives of each subject — both past and present — eloquently question the social structure of an entire industry. These women are calling for greater gender, racial, and ethnic equality, demanding that the industry becomes more inclusive.

Through the artists paving the way, we experience a tangible shift in the balance of power that will hopefully transcend the electronic music scene, transcend music altogether, and bleed into everyday life.

RAVI SRINIVASAN

Content advisories: references to sexual abuse, coarse language, mature themes

Stacey Lee was born in New Zealand. She directed the documentary short Live Fast, Draw Yung (15). Underplayed (20) is her first feature film.

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Underplayed

Stacey Lee

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