It's finally March. There's plenty to be excited about, warmer weather, spring flowers, and the start of women's history month! On March 8th Stacy Lee's captivating "Underplayed" debuted on several streaming services in honor of International Women's Day. The film was an official selection of the Toronto International Film Festival (tiff) in 2020 and is now available on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, AppleTV, Microsoft, amazon music, and prime video.
As the title suggests, it is about the gender discrepancies and the underplaying of female artists in the music industry while focusing on electronic dance music and DJ culture. The documentary follows Rezz, Alison Wonderland, TOKiMONSTA, Nervo, Sherelle, Nightwave, Tygapaw, and Louisahhh through the 2019 summer festival season.
The documentary follows both the triumphs and the tribulations, the highs and the lows of each artist’s journey, and touches on the current status of gender, ethnic, and sexual equality through the diverse cast of pioneering artists pushing to have their voices heard and pave the way for more diversity in the industry.
"Electronic music was born from the ideals of diversity, community, and inclusivity, and yet in 2019 only 5 of the top 100 DJs were women," the official film website states. "Ultimately, the film explores how gender disparity happens, a theme that transcends music and finds relevance in many of today's industries."
The documentary also revitalizes early female electronic music pioneers whose names have often been overlooked over the course of history. Like Delia Derbyshire, an electronic music composer in the 1960s for the BBC and created the arrangement for the theme music of Doctor Who. And Suzanne Ciani, who was a record label executive and electric music composer in the 1970s and was nominated for a Grammy five times.
The film website showcases the diverse list of crew members, showing they actively practice what they preach. On the list is lead composer Kate Simko, leader of the London Electronic Orchestra ensemble. Stream the soundtrack here.
"Underplayed" is directed by Stacy Lee, a New Zealand native. Her work "focuses on humanity, music, and movement." She also directed the award-winning short documentary "Live Fast Draw Yung," which premiered at Tribeca in 2015 "Underplayed" is her debut feature-length film.