Sean Dunne - American juggalo

23:22, 2011, Documentary
American Juggalo is a look at the often mocked and misunderstood subculture of Juggalos, hardcore Insane Clown Posse fans who meet once a year for four days at The Gathering of the Juggalos.
We went to The Gathering of the Juggalos and let the Juggalos speak their minds.
DirectorSean DunneProducerSean DunneCameraHillary SperaEditorKathy Gatto


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What is American Juggalo about, and where did you get the idea from?
American Juggalo is a short documentary about hardcore Insane Clown Posse fans. They call themselves Juggalos and 20, 000 of them meet in the woods once a year for four days. It’s an event called the Gathering of the Juggalos. People get naked and do drugs and listen to music and watch wrestling matches and get eachother pregnant.

The past few years the Gathering has gotten a ton of media coverage, mostly negative. A good majority of that coverage was really weak journalism. The press tended to tell one side of the story and often involved making fun of these people. I decided to take a crew there and let the Juggalos have a voice in a documentary in the vein of Heavy Metal Parking Lot.

Could you tell us some problems or peculiarities you encountered whilst filming among the Juggalo’s?
The first night we were there we had wrapped the camera equipment and decided to just partake in the festivities a little. At one point we stumbled upon a makeshift strip club that some Juggalos had made in their tent. We go in there and order some beers and then notice that 3 feet away from us is a 12 year old boy getting a lapdance. I’m talking full nude. I’m talking lady garden up in this poor kids face. He looked terrified. His dad was drunk standing behind him encouraging the whole thing. That image stuck with us. Pretty disturbing.

Did you plan this film carefully, or did it evolve spontaneously as you were filming?
A combination of both. I planned for as much as possible. I knew how I wanted it to look and sound and what the pacing would be like. The actual content of the interviews was going to be a complete mystery. Luckily my ninjas came through for me and gave me some compelling stuff to work with. We have a TON more unused footage that is just as good as the stuff in the film, but didn’t work for one reason or another.

Did you need to improvise a lot during filming?
The worst thing you can do as a documentary filmmaker is not leave room for spontaneity. So yes, tons of improvising. Things got out of hand a few times.

How long did you work on this film, and how long did you stay there?
We shot for 4 days and edited for a couple weeks. Sound mix took about a week. Pretty quick turnaround on this one.

It seems the Juggalo’s are very open and welcoming towards you, could you elaborate on that?
We treated them like normal people and didn’t look down on them so they embraced us and treated us as one of their own. As a whole they are truly kind hearted people. Most of them have been through a lot of shit in their personal lives, we heard a lot of hard luck stories. Living in those types of circumstances gives you character and usually makes you more accepting of others. That was the case with the Juggalos.

Did the Juggalo’s surprise you in any way, or did you basically knew what you were getting (into)?
I had a feeling they would be welcoming. What I didn’t expect was that given the complete lack of security or any authority that there were not fights at all. The whole thing was totally self regulating. It was refreshing and I guess a little surprising.

There is a lot of swearing, drinking and nudity, did that limit screening- or distribution opportunities in any way?
I don’t care about any of that stuff, so I’m not really sure. I just put this fucker on the internet the day we finished it. That’s a way easier and more effective approach than being told by some jaggoff what changes need to be made to my film in order to make it commercially viable.

What is the reaction of the audience in general towards this film?
People seem to dig it. I get a lot of emails and phone calls from people telling me they loved it. I was actually a little shocked that more people didn’t react negatively to it. I guess people are pretty savvy these days and can handle more than I assumed.

Did any of the Juggalo’s respond to your film (after they saw it)?
Totally. The Juggalos love it. I’ve heard from a bunch of the people that were in the film and they were thankful to be a part of it. Overall the Juggalos are pretty grateful to be portrayed in a more honest light.

What are your favourite scenes/quotes in this film?
The interview with Eddie, the large bearded Juggalo in the red shirt is hands down the best interview I’ve ever conducted. He gave us so many gems that it became next to impossible to edit him down. Everything that came out of his mouth was gold. I mean the guy wants to find a "skinny bitch" and make her fat so they can lose weight together...and bond. That shit is straight up profound.

Are you yourself a Juggalo (now)?

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