As first-years living in South Hall, Kevin Alexander and Jonathan Pfeffer became fast friends. Both budding musicians, they shared a common interest in electronic music and the creative scene on campus. They started a fake band with a name that isn’t exactly fit to print; their point was to satirize the prevailing music culture they felt was too trendy and somewhat inauthentic.
The 2007 graduates have carried those sensibilities into their professional careers by collaborating on an award-winning mockumentary film set in the Brooklyn indie electronic music scene.
A week before the release of their debut LP, Sasha and Carson—aka electronic music duo Hunter&Game—welcome a Catalan documentary film crew into their Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment (which doubles as a practice space) and let the documentarians shadow their lives. As excitement builds for their album launch and upcoming tour, the duo trip eagerly through Brooklyn’s thriving DIY music scene. But as hype slams into reality, the film crew realizes they may have stumbled upon a story more interesting than the one they anticipated.
Written and directed by Alexander, Hunter&Game stars Nico Tortorella (Scream 4, Odd Thomas, the television series The Following and Younger) and Cameron Scoggins (The Happy Sad, currently in “Hir” at Playwrights Horizons, NY). Five original songs performed in the film were written by Pfeffer. Fellow Oberlin classmate Daniel Schloss ’07 was cinematographer and co-editor.
Hunter&Game has won best feature in the LA Indie Film Festival and the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. The film is currently streaming for free on Indieflix.com and brooklynondemand.com, a streaming service curated by The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. Both streaming services are available on Roku.
Alexander, a lifelong Brooklyn resident, says the film is in the spirit of Spinal Tap. “This is about trying to make it in the Internet age of music. Labels are less important. It’s about Internet popularity and the fleeting experience these new musicians have. I wanted to capture that feeling.
“The two characters are different archetypes. They are, like Jonathan and I, best friends who want to make it in the music industry. One is a lifelong musician who will do anything to get some sort of traction… he’s been through so many styles of music and wants something to click. The other guy is the more social one, who doesn’t have the same musical dedication. He just wants to be part of something cool.”
The film was shot almost entirely in Brooklyn, showcasing popular venues such as Bushwick's Bossa Nova Civic Club, Brooklyn Bowl, and the famed Cake Shop on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Although Hunter&Game is satirical, Alexander says it’s done with a loving hand. “We both like and have an appreciation for the Brooklyn electronic music scene, and there are several real bands who perform in the film.” One of those acts is Ava Luna, described by Time Out New York as “a brilliant, up-and-coming Brooklyn quintet with a sound perched between angular indie rock and supple soul.”
Alexander majored in Technology in Music and the Related Arts, while Pfeffer majored in studio art with a multimedia concentration. In addition to working on sound and performance art, Pfeffer is a freelance composer and performer and freelance writer and radio producer. Schloss earned his degree in cinema studies and is an independent filmmaker and creative director based in Brooklyn.
“Ironically, I abandoned music as a professional outlet,” Alexander says. He worked as a producer for WNET, the New York affiliate of PBS, for six years. One of his highlights was a feature on conceptual artist Cory Arcangel '00. While at WNET, he started writing and doing preproduction for Hunter&Game. He now does freelance editing and camera work. His latest collaboration is for a project that Schloss is directing and producing, a dramedy pilot called Truth Slash Fiction. Written by another classmate, Charlie Sohne '07, with music by Tim Rosser '06, the story is about a group of high-school girls who write “slash fiction” about the boy band with which they're obsessed.
“This was a huge learning experience—to some degree, my film school,” Alexander says. “I just sort of hit the ground running. It was less grand plan and more, ‘let’s do this fun project.’ We came up with something we were happy with.”
He credits Oberlin for being an incubator for what’s cool. “I met a lot of interesting people at Oberlin. Now, everywhere I go, I see another Oberlin grad doing something great. It’s not just the famous people. It’s people doing creative things at every turn.”