“We had been working on stories before Nick had equipment,” New Orleans musician and actor Derrick Freeman explains of video/film collective DumbSmart Industries, which he co-founded a few years ago with like-minded conspirators Nicholas Pino and Matthew Zarba.
Rapping under the name M@ Peoples and directing the music-education nonprofit Upbeat Academy, Zarba joins Freeman (who plays lead as a down-and-out chef in the coming short Richie Broke?) in bringing a street-wise music pedigree—along with a shared flair for absurdist, satirical comedy—to DumbSmart. Pino has established himself around town as DJ Jermaine Quiz and brings a visionary narrative quality to balance the team’s creative equilibrium in addition to his obvious talents for shooting film, composing scores, and editing. “I have a very basic set of equipment and a lot of ideas,” Pino says. “I try not to let equipment dictate what we do. Getting the equipment was just a means to an end. I wanted to write and I wanted to find someone to film and direct.”
Pino filmed and directed the video for Lyrics Born’s collaboration with Preservation Hall, “That’s It,” which earned Best Video at the 2016 Best of the Beat Awards. Additionally, a commercial for Juan LaFonta featuring Big Freedia earned him Best Use of Local Music or Musicians in Advertising at the 2017 Best of the Beat Business Awards. He recently shot concert footage for the Revivalists’ New Year’s Eve show at the Orpheum, joining clients Nigel Hall, Dumpstaphunk and others in further cementing DumbSmart as local musicians’ go-to choice for film/video needs.
Pino teamed up with Alejandro de los Rios two years ago and now the duo “write and direct everything together,” Pino says.
De los Rios explains that he was “bartending to support my journalism habit” when they were introduced via de los Rios’ work on a brass-band documentary that featured Freeman as narrator. A gig with ESPN the Magazine taught him video skills, and he played the lead role in Jalapeño Andretti, which debuted last month at Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival in Lafayette.
“Being able to collaborate with such creative people has proven very productive for me,” says de los Rios. “We have a lot coming up as far as commercial work, and that’s great, but we’re working to have that support our creative work.”
You can check out the first season of DumbSmart Industries’ “British Quarter Hustler” here.