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The New Diplomats: Kazakhstan

Californian artists raised on graffiti, punk rock, hip-hop, and skate boards, Daniel Gallegos and James Reitano might seem like unconventional...

Californian artists raised on graffiti, punk rock, hip-hop, and skate boards, Daniel Gallegos and James Reitano might seem like unconventional candidates for foreign diplomacy, which generally involves more suits and ties (or bombs and guns) than spray cans and beats. But every once in a while, the U.S. government can surprise you. Davon Ramos's documentary "The New Diplomats" (see the festival cut after the jump) tells the story of a cultural exchange program, wherein the State Department sends the duo to Almaty, Kazakhstan, to communicate in the global languages of music and art.[vimeo][/vimeo]This is the kind of diplomacy I could really get behind, especially if we want to improve America's standing with young people residing in other countries. If we want to establish connections among young people around the world, these three are the right people to send. Reitano's created some incredible music videos, like this one for MADVILLIAN (the MF DOOM Madlib collaboration), and Gallegos is the creator of the awesome Artpologist (that's art plus anthropology). Meanwhile, Ramos has directed projects for DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, People Under the Stairs, Jurassic 5, and Stones Throw.

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