By Pablo MENSI


Documentary - Production 2019

In the wake of Argentina’s 2001 economic crisis, artists and musicians from the Buenos Aires underground returned to their roots, and found themselves at the forefront of a musical revolution. The beating heart of this global movement is ZZK Records, and this documentary is their story.

    • Year of production
    • 2019
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 80 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Pablo MENSI
    • Producer(s)
    • Grant DULL (ZZK Films)
    • Synopsis
    • In 2001 Argentina faced an economic crisis leading to one of the country’s most difficult economic and political times. Riots ensued and three presidents came and went in a matter of days. In the wake of this tumult, the Argentine people came together and do what they have always done best: created.
      Rebelling and against outside cultural influences, and without a means to participate in the global creative economy, Argentine musicians and music producers turned inward. They reconnected with their own cultural heritage, joining together popular music such as cumbia and folklore with the modern electronic music of the times. This was the sound that infused the ZIZEK parties, and would later become the signature of ZZK Records.
      As the Zizek parties grew they became a place where members of the community could finally express themselves freely, authentically, and explore the boundaries of their own cultural voice in the context of the technologically expansive, hyper connected world.
      By 2008, another phenomenon was also taking root that would have a profound impact on the future of Zizek and later ZZK Records: the internet and the advent of desktop production. This technological advancement would allow Argentine music producers, who had always managed to accomplish so much with relatively little, to create music on a global scale. Able to leverage new distribution channels through the world wide web, ZZK Records would be the vehicle for getting it there.
      ZZK artists were soon seen in France, England, Germany, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, at major festivals including Sonar, Womex, Roskilde, SXSW, and even the pinnacle of festivals in the United States-- Coachella. With this success came a greater demand for label resources to scale distribution to new markets. So when the big labels came knocking, the opportunity seemed golden to close a deal that would take ZZK artists and sound to the next level.
      As a result of this deal ZZK music was heard on Breaking Bad, on radio Funkhaus Europe (Germany), Radio Nova, Radio France (France), and in a new Apple commercial. But at what cost? In reaching these heights, the label risked losing sight of its very foundation; the authenticity, self reliance and resilience that gave birth
      to ZZK Records in the first place. By 2014, the label was barely turning a profit, facing potential copyright lawsuits by Sony and Disney, and had to grapple with the death of a community member.
      The label philosophy is, was, and always has been to place music, friendship and artistic values over mainstream success. In the face of these difficulties, ZZK decided to sever ties with the big label and go forward as a truly independent entity. They signed new artists and launched a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign. Exceeding all expectations, 2015 ended up being the label’s biggest year to date. The founders pulled together and pulled through, laying the foundation for success in the years to come.