Colorful and wandering, the film ‘Lost Soulz’ showcases Texas and Gen Z talent

The debut feature by UT-Austin alumna Katherine Propper stars Houston-born and Austin-raised Sauve Sidle and a group of talented young artists playing some aspect of themselves.

By Laura RiceMay 10, 2024 1:14 pm, ,

A group of Gen Z rappers go on a road trip across Texas, getting to know one another and sharing their dreams and their rhymes. That’s pretty much all the background you need for the new film “Lost Soulz.”

Katherine Propper wrote the film, which stars Sauve Sidle and is currently in a limited theatrical release.

Listen to the interview in the player above or read the transcript below.

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:

Texas Standard: Katherine, I understand Sauve actually inspired this film in a lot of ways. You’d met him during an earlier project. What is it about him that made you think there was a film that needed to be made?

A photo of director Katherine Propper. She has long brown hair and is smiling at the camera. She is wearing a black casual jacket and a white shirt.Katherine Propper: I think it was because when I first met Sauve, he was a high school football player at Lake Travis High School, and he was living with friends, but he told me he was going to move to LA one day and be a famous rapper.

And I had just moved to Austin from LA, and I wanted to be, I don’t know, a successful movie director, and I think we connected to both having a pipe dream.

And I don’t think Sauve knew it at the time, but I had lived with friends in high school, so I had also experienced sort of having an unconventional home situation and kind of an unstable family situation too.

And so I thought, like, there were seeds already there planted for a story about somebody who feels like they’re on their own in the world and doesn’t have a home and is figuring out how to pursue a big dream.

Sauve, beyond the specifics, how much are your dreams similar to your character’s?

Sauve Sidle: I think they resonate very well because being a rapper and being on the road and being a superstar, it’s like always been one of my goals.

So I feel like it’s super compatible.

Katherine, you’ve found this group of young and up-and-coming artists for this film. How much of your story was scripted, and how much of it was letting them be themselves?

Propper: Well, we definitely had a script and it was about 90 pages, and that script told the story of the film. And the skeleton of that story is what is in the final cut of the film.

But I also, having worked on short films with first-time actors and non-trained young people, knew that I wanted to leave a lot of room open for improv and for real life to make its way on screen.

This Gen Z world and this no-rush pace is something that you’ve explored before, in your short films and in “Birds,” which won a special prize at SXSW here in Austin. Why is this time of life interesting to you?

Propper: I think it was interesting to me because I enjoy spending time with the people I’m going to work with on screen, and sometimes it’s younger people who have more time available to meet with an up-and-coming filmmaker or a student at UT, because they don’t have 9-to-5 jobs and they don’t need to be constantly hustling to work sometimes. And so some of it is that I spent more time with this age group.

I also think I made a lot of these films, and I wrote the script for “Lost Soulz” in my 20s, and I think it’s easier to sort of look back on what you just sort of left behind in life. And, you know, I mean, I’m interested in working with other age groups, too, and I hope to tell stories about all kinds of people and all generations.

A photo of three or four people holding microphones close to their faces as they sing on a dark stage lit by red lights.

Sidle (far left) raps alongside other actors in the film “Lost Soulz.”

Sauve, how was acting? We mentioned you worked with Katherine before, but this was your first feature. Is this going to be your thing now? Bye-bye music?

Sidle: No, I think they just coexist. In this world, a lot of people have been told that they have to do one thing or they get pigeonholed into one specific thing. And I’m going to try to do everything.

I just, I think as a human you should have experiences in multiple different fields. So I was like, this was just me testing and obviously something that’s going well. So I may have to keep doing whatever that is.

Katherine, you’re not from Texas, but you really created a portrait here, from under highways and bridges in Austin to wide open fields in West Texas. It’s a bit cliché to phrase it like this, but is this a love letter to Texas?

Propper: It definitely is, because, you know, I came from Los Angeles, California, which I know in Texas as a bit anathema to be Californian here. I promise I didn’t buy a house, just renting!

And, I think sometimes as an outsider, it’s easier to see what’s so special and beautiful about a place, maybe. And this film is definitely a love letter to locations that I find really inspiring and beautiful here.

But, one thing spiritually that sort of connects all of Texas is this feeling of freedom. And it’s that sort of cowboy independence spirit. And I think that’s something that I was really drawn to here and felt really inspired by creatively. And I think that is in the film – which is just like the freedom that you feel in Texas to be, I guess, whoever you want to be. And so I am grateful to the state of Texas for taking some Californians, including myself.

Five young people of various races pose in a colorful El Paso skate park.

The primary cast of “Lost Soulz” in a film still from the movie.

Sauve, let me let me get your thoughts on that. You grew up in Austin and Houston. Did you get to experience Texas in a different way through this film, or was it what you already knew?

Sidle: I kind of feel like it’s always been this way, and I just feel like, okay, I’m the representative of Texas to kind of show what we do.

And, I mean, I never went to El Paso, so I kind of got to experience that side of Texas, like the desert and being close to the border and seeing how people live out there. I think that gave me a new perspective on Texas.

Texas, go, Texas. We’re the No. 1 country in the world!

You guys sort of traded spaces. Katherine was from LA, you’re from Texas, and then you switched: You went to LA for a while; she was here in Austin. Now you’re back. You were saying you think Austin’s the new LA?

Sidle: It’s just on the up-and-up. And I think this is the right time to get in on what’s happening in the future with what they’re building.

So, I feel like this was my foundation as an artist, my first fan base. So I wanted to come and harness that energy and kind of, like, plant more seeds before it takes off and really goes where it’s supposed to go.

Katherine, what are your hopes and dreams for “Lost Soulz?”

Propper: I hope that people connect with the film and audiences see it, and that they download the music when the soundtrack comes out and they interact with the very talented, amazing individuals in the film. So that’s my hope.

You want the last word, Sauve? Anything else you’d say?

Sidle: Uhh – can you do that in a sentence?

Propper: Say you want the film to be like a cultural touchstone.

You’re being directed over here.

Sidle: I would love for this movie to be a cultural touchstone or a cult classic that, you know, over the years that grows, you know, like “Kids” or those movies where it’s like this time period was such a golden era.

And I feel like we captured the Gen Z era not fully to full capacity, but right in the middle, you know?

Oh, you took that. You made that your own. I see how this works here.

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