Tribeca Festival / Review : Sauve Sidle Maps His Professional Journey as a Promising Rapper-Actor in Hip-Hop Drama Lost Soulz

Tribeca Festival / Review : Sauve Sidle Maps His Professional Journey as a Promising Rapper-Actor in Hip-Hop Drama Lost Soulz

Leaving behind the friends and family they hold dear in order to embark on a new journey to find the personal success they’ve longed hope to achieve isn’t as gratifying for everyone as they initially believed. That’s certainly true for up-and-coming rapper-actor Sauve Sidle’s protagonist of Sol in the new character-driven musical drama, Lost Soulz.

Hoping to pursue his musical dreams on a grander scale, Sol leaves behind his surrogate family during one of their most challenging times. Despite the surprisingly sudden success he achieves in his home state of Texas after doing so, he soon begins to question if leaving his family is really worth the pain he’s causing not only them, but also himself.

Lost Soulz marks the first feature from writer-director Katherine Propper. Besides Sidle, who made his feature film acting debut in the movie, the project also stars an ensemble cast that includes Siyanda Stillwell, Aaron “Seven” Melloul, Krystall Poppin, Alexander Brackney, Micro TDH, Malachi Mabson and Tauran Ambroise.

Lost Soulz, which is inspired by Sidle’s real-life experience as a musician on the rise, follows Sol as he aspires to become a rapper in Austin. The Texas-based singer is living with his best friend Wesley (Stillwell), who serves as his manager. Wesley’s family has also embraced Sol as a brother and son.

After the duo attends a raucous house party, at which Sol performs with a group of fellow Gen Z musicians, the police arrive to break up the gathering. Sol, who’s on parole, decides to abandon Wesley, who overdosed during the party, in an effort to protect himself from being sent back to jail.

Despite his concern for his best friend’s health, Sol chooses to leave their home for good after the party. He joins the group of hip-hop artists he performed with at the part as they continue their tour. As they travel across Texas creating new tracks and performing their music, they bond over their shared pains and longings from the lives they left behind. Equally bold and vulnerable, the group pour their emotions into the tunes they create together.

Along the way, Sol discovers who he is as an artist and person. He realizes that the novelty of his newfound musical family isn’t as strong as he initially believed, as his past demons begins to haunt him, including abandoning his ailing friend. His sense of self is put to the ultimate test as he seeks true refugee for the rootlessness and loss that has defined his existence.

After penning and helming several shorts since she enrolled in the MFA program in Film at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin in 2016, Propper effortlessly brought her emotionally grounded and relatable sense of storytelling to her first feature. Lost Soulz is an authentic Austin area-based story that’s rooted in the personal life of all people who are struggling to achieve their dreams.

The scribe-director’s first feature is manifested deep in certain truths about humanity. Its story thrives on its characters, particularly the complex development of Sol as a protagonist, as they grapple with shame and overcoming hardships while pursuing their goals.

The titular group of lost souls view themselves as family as they pursue their radical creative expressions together. But their own internal struggles lead them all, not just Sol, to question if the decisions they make while they’re together are ultimately the best ones for their futures.

Suave was the perfection inspiration for, and actor to play, the drama’s struggling protagonist. Propper chose to base the character of Sol on the actor’s own life as a rapper, after they previously collaborated on a school project the filmmaker worked on during her time at UT. The duo then reunited to make the 2019 dramatic short, Street Flame, about the skate community, of which he’s a member.

While working on the short together, Propper realized how determined and serious Sidle was in his goal of becoming a famous rapper in real life. He even moved from Texas to L.A., after which he became an opening act on fellow rapper Juice WRLD’s world tour.

Inspired by Sidle’s perseverance, Propper began writing the feature’s script, which she partially based on events that occurred in his real life, during the initial COVID lockdown in March 2020. The filmmaker’s ease at building characters anchored in cultures the performer’s a part of allowed them to create another heartfelt story together for Lost Soulz.

Sidle and his co-stars, particularly those who play the performers in the touring rap group with Sol, infuse their characters with a powerful sense of vulnerability on screen. Their excitement to play the characters that Propper penned for them that are similar to their real selves is clearly evident throughout the story featured in the musical movie.

As a result, their interactions with each other are full of easy camaraderie, especially when they’re creating new songs and performing their music on stage together. The moments in which the musicians hand off their raps to each other are highlights, as their music and performances are reflective of their shared experiences and emotions. They also highlight the communal joy the characters receive from creating their art together.

Lost Soulz‘s composers, Shawn Sutta and Adam Robl, also effortlessly blended the characters’ freestyle raps and original tracks with electrifying beats. The pulsating lo-fi beats, which cross over diverse genres, reflect the overarching story of Sol and his fellow musicians searching different communities for a place to fit in.

Besides its score, the drama also thrives on its visual aesthetic, which was stunningly captured by its cinematographer, Donald Monroe. The filmmaker captured the way Sol and his fellow Gen Z musicians view themselves by interweaving standard camerawork with cuts to split-screen and smartphone-style footage, which shows the way the young artists record and view themselves.

Monroe’s overall cinematography is visually stunning through its mainly yellow desert hues. Lost Soulz‘s color scheme mirrors the at-times barren landscapes of the endless, lonely highways that Sol and his new fellow musicians travel on as they drive to their next shows.

Blending Sidle’s vulnerable performance with Sutta and Robl’s pulsating, reflective score and Monroe’s insightful cinematography in Lost Soulz created an intimate look into the lives of young Gen Z creatives, particularly musicians. Propper proves she has a commanding control over working with her cast and crew to construct an emotional, realistic narrative out of music. Under the filmmaker’s direction, the cast and crew’s ability to infuse the feature’s characters, story and aesthetics with a sense of vulnerability, and reflect on the artists’ shared pain, makes watching the movie a visceral experience.

Grade: A-

Lost Soulz won the second-place audience award in the narrative film category at the 2023 Tribeca Festival. The drama had its World Premiere on June 11 in the U.S. Narrative Competition section during the festival.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

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