City Heights–raised D. Dove has been rapping since she was 14. “There’s not a lot of opportunity. Besides the sheer number of other MCs in San Diego, this is simply a hard city to break out of unless you have strong financial backing. That stops a lot of people from moving forward.”
But after 16 years, the lyrical rapper tells the Reader she is getting a “bucket list” opportunity that she says will likely give her that push forward. Three of her songs were used in The Nasty Terrible T-Kid 170: Julius Cavero, a documentary-style feature film about a notorious New York City street artist who started tagging trains and public buildings in the ’70s, and whose style inspired modern graffiti artists but cost him jail time.
The Nasty, which won the New York Hi Lights Award at the Harlem International Film Festival two weeks ago, will make its West Coast premier this Sunday, September 28, at the San Diego Film Festival. The 50-minute film was one of only two locally produced films of the 104 that won an invitation (out of 1500 entries) to be featured in the 13-year-old film fest. Most of the other films feature star-power names such as Bill Murray, Reese Witherspoon, and Denzel Washington and were produced by major studios.
D. Dove sort of earned her spot on the soundtrack. Two years ago she started interning and then became an employee of Love Machine Films, the Oceanside-based company that produced The Nasty. Love Machine is literally a mom-and-pop operation, led by director/editor/videographer/writer Carly Starr Brullo-Niles and husband Lou Niles, who handles the business end of the production company. Love Machine is known nationwide for producing cause-related, hard-hitting documentary-style public service features for clients such as the American Cancer Society, Mama’s Kitchen, and Habitat for Humanity. “They are showing our suicide prevention film at high schools across the country,” says Brullo-Niles.
Brullo-Niles worked at 91X from 1989 to 1993, where she produced promotional spots. That's where she met Lou, who was the first host of the locals-only Loudspeaker show. They married and moved to L.A. when Brullo-Niles broke into films by working as an onset assistant prop master, for films such as Vanilla Sky, Blue Crush, and Wonder Boys.
The couple launched Love Machine when they moved back to North County ten years ago. Brullo-Niles says cause-related productions will always be Love Machine’s “true passion,” but she hopes accolades for The Nasty will make it easier to create more entertainment features. Her next film, Dying In America, based on hospice care, features an all-local soundtrack, including artists such as Eric Berg and Jaymie Valentine.
Local artists Tramlife and 4th World also contributed to The Nasty soundtrack. “I was offered music from around the world,” says Bruno-Niles about The Nasty. “But I try to stay with local music as much as possible.”
D. Dove appears October 17 at the Hideout.