Hunter: The Documentary, and the YouTube road to distribution

18 May, 2011 by Ruby Lennon

In the last few years, countless amateur musicians across the globe – Justin Bieber amongst them – have logged onto YouTube, crossed their fingers as they clicked upload, and prayed for the lofty heights of international stardom.

For Perth Hip Hop veteran Hunter the stakes are much higher.


Diagnosed with terminal endocrine cancer in 2009 the former hard man of Aussie Hip Hop has become the subject of a multi-platform documentary by filmmaker Sam Field – including self-shot YouTube clips from Hunter’s darkest moments.

“What I’d like to do is not just be a traditional observational documentary,” Field told IF. “I want his stuff and his input to be a big part.”

The filmmaker whose first short took home $10,000 from the Revelation Perth International Film Festival explains what drew him to Hunter: “the way he approached the news, threw himself into his music and was supported by the [Hip Hop] community.”

“It's an interesting modern story; they really do use Twitter and YouTube and stuff quite effectively, almost, to run their community,” Field says. “Also the rapper tag thing – they pass [it] on with rap, and around the country with different rappers, and they do it through YouTube.”

The footage, shot in HDV on a Sony V1P, includes the first days of Hunter’s chemo, scans, interviews with friends and some of his rap shows.

“I’m not one to shy away from sharing my feelings in my art,” the 35 year-old rapper says. “I guess it's wearing my heart on my sleeve – so [being filmed] doesn’t worry me – I’m quite happy for people to know what I’m thinking all the time, or whatever.”

“It has changed my life for the better but I just wish that I could have changed my life and then not been sick anymore – cause obviously being sick really sucks.”

The final destination, to Field’s mind, is a television distribution deal with SBS or the ABC – his basic plan is to turn his $11,000 budget, donated by a cancer widow, into 10,000 hits on YouTube.

“The general idea was to see if we could get a ground swell of interest ourselves and have something more concrete to go to them with,” says the filmmaker. “We’re just trying to generate our own audience.”

More information on the film can be found at the website, or at Hunter’s YouTube channel.