Filmmaker Gabriel Gomez and Dr. Martens capture layered artistry

Gabriel Gomez is a filmmaker behind the "Dr. Martens Presents: Music and Film Series."
PHOTO: Alice Plati

When I spoke to Gabriel Gomez, the filmmaker behind iconic “Dr. Martens Presents: Music and Film Series,” he expressed a fear of “being a jack of all trades but master of none.”

The 29-year-old does indeed excel in many fields: he’s a photographer, writer, filmmaker, production director and talent management with his own company, Crooked Letter. Essentially, Gomez is a frontrunner of a new generation of dynamic, layered artistry: of true, non-judgmental and unshackled creative freedom.

The five-minute mini-biopics are accounts of how the artistic community has survived and adapted throughout the pandemic. As Gomez states, “As artists we need fuel to make better work.” The central question is, what fueled artists to keep going during these tough times?

Gomez himself admitted to struggling with feelings of depression and hopelessness during a year of not only death and disease but also a civil rights movement. Gomez admitted that, “Everything seemed so unimportant, and I wasn’t sure how my career played into that. I was really questioning my life like, ‘Do I want to keep doing this? Do I want to drop it all and become a yoga teacher [laughs]’?”

To a certain extent, the Dr. Marten’s shorts series came at an ideal time in terms of inspiration, as community is one of Gomez’s highest values. He had found his fuel, and also ran “Crooked Letter Radio Hour,” that he describes as, “a catharsis for his community and full-time project throughout quarantine.”

Gomez’s talent as a filmmaker uses atmospheric lighting, cleverly curated voicing of the artist’s stories, varied locations, subtle and artful integrations of Dr. Martens’ footwear, as well as the juxtaposition of day and night scenes. The series is moving, authentic and lush, as well as illuminating.

One short follows Rosehardt, a writer and musician who is deeply involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. For Rosehardt, progress is crucial and a question that forms the powerful basis of his selfhood, artistry and activism is, “What can I do while I’m here to make sure the Black people who come after me have a better life?”

Filmmaker Ali Roberto, who has also been successful as a musician, photographer and director, admitted that, growing up with a single mom, she worked a bunch of different jobs—buying a pair of docs with her first paycheck. For her, Dr. Martens’ represents power and are the “embodiment of cool.”

Although her success in working on high profile Netflix series’ such as “Glow” and with networks such as HBO and NBC, Roberto states that, “Music and storytelling, if you put those two together, it’s the reason I exist.” Roberto also believes that female artists are “put in a box,” and now, with the endless possibilities and mediums we can utilize, that box is exploding.

Other artists committed to the project include Blimes and Gab, Cautious Clay, duendita, Frankie & the Witch, Fingers, Lauren Ruth Ward, NEZ, Orion Sun, The Regrettes, Stuyededeyed, Sunflower Bean and Tolliver. You can check them out at drmartens.com

Get your swag on with kids and adult footwear at www.drmartens.com, where you can also view this inspired series.

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