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Watch LIVING LOUD at the Dances with Films Festival in LA

Thursday June 27



Members of Fogo Azul joyfully drumming in the surf of Coney Island
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Feel the Beat
A film by Carin van der Donk + Sarah Teale
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Living Loud - trailer
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LIVING LOUD is a timely film about the collaboration between two very different drumming groups with a lot in common, following them as they build community and empowerment through samba reggae. 


In 2016, Stacy Kovacs formed Fogo Azul with just fifteen members. By 2020, they were 110 people strong and quickly becoming the heartbeat of NYC marches and protests, including the Dyke March, the Women’s March, the Pride March, the Halloween Parade, and the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. The band brought together drummers of every age, race, income bracket, sexuality, and gender identity. United in their shared values, being a part of Fogo Azul meant belonging to a supportive and empowering community, one where they could learn and grow together. 

In February, 2020, Stacy took 40 members of Fogo Azul to Salvador, the historical center of the Afro-Brazilian community and the birthplace of samba reggae. There, they lived with and learned from Banda Didà, the first all-woman, all-Black samba reggae drum line, run by world-renowned drummer Adriana Portela. 

LIVING LOUD follows the main characters of Stacy, Adriana, and drummers Selma, Sara, Gaby, Velma, and Bia as the trip to Brazil transforms their lives and brings new meaning to their work. Adriana then travels to New York to continue working with the women of Fogo Azul and to lead them in the Mermaid Parade.

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Meet the Drummers


Meet the Team


Sarah Teale

  • Teale Productions Website

Sarah Teale (Producer /Director) was a Producer/Director of Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections which aired on HBO on March 26th, 2020 and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Documentary in 2021. She was a Producer on the HBO series The Weight of the Nation, which was nominated for a Prime Time Emmy. Other HBO films she produced and directed include Dealing Dogs, (Emmy nomination Outstanding Investigative Documentary); Hacking Democracy, (Emmy nomination Outstanding Investigative Documentary); Death on a Factory Farm; Bellevue: Inside Out, a year inside the locked psychiatric wards at Bellevue Hospital; and Mumia Abu Jamal: A Case For Reasonable Doubt?, Cable Ace Award nomination. She has also produced and directed documentaries for the BBC, A&E and Discovery. She most recently produced and directed Grazers: A Cooperative Story with Lisa F. Jackson, being distributed by Collective Eye and Passion River and Patrimonio, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and Full Frame and is being distributed by First Run Features. 


Carin van der Donk

  • Carin Van Der Donk's Instagram

Carin van der Donk is a Dutch photographer and camerawoman, based in NYC. At 15 she became an international fashion model, working with photographers like Richard Scavullo, Kurt Markus, and Jean Loup Sieff. After settling in New York City, she became an assistant-producer for Art + Commerce, working with photographers Ellen von Unwerth, Frank W. Ockenfels III, and Mary Ellen Mark, followed by becoming an agent and producer at Julian Meijer et Associes. Her photographs are used by political organizations, including Sister District, Future Now, Housing Justice for All, NoIDC, and Councilmember Carlina Rivera. She contributed stills to the HBO documentaries The Sentence (2018), and Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections (2020). A solo exhibition of her photography was held at the St. George Church, NYC in 2018.  Her portraits of Vincent D’Onofrio appear in Mutha, a book of the actor’s poetry (Cameron Books 2021). She is co-producing a documentary about Fogo Azul, an all women, transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming Samba Reggae drum line (she is a band member herself). She is a 2021 graduate of the International Center of Photography program in Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism.


Isabel Vega

  • Isabel Vega's Instagram

Isabel Vega is an award-winning filmmaker with a solid background as director/ producer/shooter and storyteller. Isabel has worked on film and TV projects for HBO, Bravo, Lifetime, Own, Oxygen, TLC and FX. Her film, LA CORONA, is a documentary about a beauty pageant in a high security female prison in Bogotá, Colombia. The film was nomi- nated for an Academy Award (2008), received an Honorable mention at Sundance (2008), won the IDA Award for best short film (2008) and was acquired by HBO.

Vega co-produced two episodes of Morgan Spurlock’s series, 30 DAYS (FX) and was an associate producer on THIN, (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006). In 2005 she worked with Maryann De Leo on her documentary about domestic violence, TERROR AT HOME. Vega’s latest film (currently in production) is about a local election in Jackson, MS.

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