“Take out your phones and Snapchat during the film!”
That pre-screening encouragement from hosts of the L.A. Film Festival was a deliberate shattering of cinema protocol — one meant to reassure 1,600 Zedd fans at Thursday night’s world premiere of his documentary “Zedd True Colors” that this was not a cinephiles-only, paint by numbers event.
“Don’t be a pirate and pirate the whole movie,” L.A. Film Fest’s Roya Rastegar continued. “Snap away!”
The superstar DJ behind hits like “Clarity,” “Beautiful Now,” and the Selena Gomez collaboration “I Want You to Know” unleashed a special Snapchat filter just for the night, continuing the spirit of the “one-off experiences” at the heart of the onscreen narrative.
The enthusiastic crowd at the Ace Theater in downtown Los Angeles included Andrew Taggart of the Chainsmokers.
Many cheered for Zedd’s managers Tim Smith and Dave Rene when they appeared on screen, and even the artist’s lighting and visual effects guys (they are known quantities to his fans).
On screen, everyone referred to the twentysomething German-raised musician by the name his parents actually call him: Anton.
“Zedd’s a homie,” Taggart told The Party Report, drink in hand, explaining his motivation for going out on a rare night off.
During the film, Jared Leto called Zedd a “humble, soft-spoken guy…and then he melts your head by the second song.”
On stage Thursday night, Kesha echoed the sentiment.
“[He’s] one of my heroes,” she said, taking the stage in a black dress to perform Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”
Backed by a string trio and Zedd on piano, Kesha performed a more subdued and melancholy version of the song they surprised fans with at Coachella back in April.
Footage from that recent festival performance made the final cut of the “album-release-in-the-making” doc, but in what must have been true postproduction heroics, Kesha’s interview segments appear to have been shot just 26 days ago, in a trailer on the Paramount Lot when she came to perform at another event.
Things move fast in the EDM world. Zedd and team, including co-directors Alex Lieu and Susan Bonds, imported the EDM BPM tempo to the film world.
The documentary chronicles a series of real-time stunts the producer and his team pulled off in 2015, during the promotional run-up to the release of his second studio album, “True Colors.”
They used social media to invite the first 50 fans to arrive to a location to be “kidnapped” for the night and transported to an iconic or exotic location for a private listening party of one track off the new album, months before its release.
Each of the 10 events in 10 different cities was tied to a song and a color on the “True Colors” album. They created an intimate experience for the superstar to reconnect and engage with fans intimately in the midst of selling out Madison Square Garden, the Staples Center, and headlining mega clubs like XS in Vegas.
During a Q&A after the screening, Zedd described the huddles as an antidote to his self-admitted fatigue of quickie meet-and-greets. He confessed to leaving his arm suspended in the air to cue fans to step in for a quick selfie before being ushered out.
The “kidnap private listening parties” took place in locations that ranged from the Grand Canyon, the top of the Empire State Building, on Alcatraz island (in the dark), and at the creepy Stanley Hotel, site of the movie “The Shining.”
Singers Aloe Blacc (whose Zedd collaboration “Candyman” has been a recent radio fixture) and Echosmith singer Sydney Sierota also performed with Zedd, as part of a three-song performance that capped the night.
The L.A. Film Festival continues through June 9 with highlights such as “Coffee Talks” with cinephiles like Damien Chazelle and Phyllis Nagy and free screenings of “Ghostbusters,” “Independence Day: Resurgence” and “Shrek” in addition to the regular festival programming. The Arclight Cinemas in Culver City is the festival’s home base.