For five years, first generation Chicano Queer Ché Arias worked as an animator, but he put that aside in pursuit of his joie de vivre by way of worldly travel. Surprisingly, those travels led him to Atlanta, and here he’s found new footing as a filmmaker. His primary focus is “disenfranchised artists, QPOC (Queer people of color), weirdos”; artists that work against the conservative pedigree he was expected to fit as a child in a strict Chicano household. This is one reason why his piece Little Rickey has the feeling of two kindred spirits exchanging histories and hardly displays the objective and removed qualities of a standard documentary short.
On translating the discipline of animation to a new respective medium he says, “[It's] a lot of the same fundamentals. In animation one can spend months perfecting just one scene, whereas in film [the process] is quick and fast: you shoot, load, and edit.” His subject, the eponymous Rickey Josey, contributes an abundance of energy to the intimacy of Ché’s short that rounds out the meeting of two like-souls to completion.
Ché originally approached his neighbor Rickey for voice work on an animated project, but after Rickey revealed that he had a number of gigs—all at assisted living facilities—he ended up following him and acquired two days worth of footage. Rickey’s career as a queer artist of color seems to echo the serendipitous nature of Ché’s short: “I started singing at five years old when my Mother had me sing to my newborn sister Kathy so she would stop crying. It worked like a charm and I've been working ever since. I just love making people happy! [...] I love what I do." If his exuberance about singing to the elderly leaves you incredulous, it only takes him half of Rickey’s four minutes and twenty seconds to convince you that he is in fact a genuine article.
You can email Rickey at RickeyJosey@yahoo.com