Producer Nicholas Pino and his musical friends have three new short films to unveil.
Nicholas Pino made his name in New Orleans as half of the hip-hop duo Jealous Monk, but much of his creative energy these days goes into filmmaking. Last year, he and Alejandro de los Rios released the web series British Quarter Hustler and the short film Holy Men. The former posited the notion that is a British Quarter inside the French Quarter, and pitted British caricatures against French caricatures in a Spy vs. Spy-like battle for local dominance, while the latter literalizes a joke that begins, “A priest, a rabbi and a beggar walk into a bar.”
Pino and de los Rios and their DumbSmart Industries will showcase their new short films tonight at the Broad Theater. They’ll screen Jalapeño Andretti (about “the fastest man in all of New Orleans,” according to the press release), Richie Broke (a dark comedy about a chef whose life is going down the drain), and Joe & Josie (about a man and his love for a woman who says she’ll turn into a mermaid). There will be a post-show party at the Broad with musical guests promised, and since Pino’s ensemble of players includes M@ Peoples, Derrick Freeman and Flow Tribe’s KC O’Rourke, and Gravity A’s Andrew Meehan, there are a lot of possibilities to choose from. “It’s basically just my friends coming together,” Pino says.
British Quarter Hustler and Holy Men are as broad as the titles and premises suggest. Pino’s comedic sensibility was influenced by Monty Python, though it’s not always clear if he’s riffing on stereotypes or taking them to such cartoonish extremes that their bigness is a different kind of joke. Part of the fun of the films comes from energy that accompanies friends improvising together. “We’re used to improv’ing as musicians, feeding off each other,” Pino says. “It came natural to us.” His experience as a musician led directly to the films because when Jealous Monk needed a video, he taught himself to make one. “We were looking for directors, but we didn’t have anything to show so no one would mess with us. I had to do it all myself—editing, directing, filming. It was hard. It was interesting. Mistakes were made. It was the first thing we’d done like this.”
The trailer previewing Friday's movies hints at what Pino has learned so far.