The UK´s Music Documentary Festival returns for its 3rd London edition from November 2nd to 13th, 2016. Doc’n Roll Film Festival will present an amazing selection of diverse music documentaries on subjects including Parliament/Funkadelic, The Melvins, Frank Zappa, Sid and Nancy, Bonnie Prince Billy, Bad Brains, Placebo, The Orb, Gregory Porter, satanic black metal, Norwegian disco, Burmese punk, jazz stars Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon and Bill Evans, plus legendary producer Bert Berns (starring Keith Richards, Paul McCartney and Van Morrison).
This year’s London Doc‘n Roll Festival features multiple filmmakers Q&As, world premieres, European premieres, UK premieres and London premieres.
Eight of the films premiered at this year’s Doc‘n Roll Film Festival have been short-listed to participate in a competition for the Best Music Doc 2016 prize, judged by a panel consisting of Faye Milton (Savages) Simon Taffe (End Of The Road Festival), Liz Kershaw (BBC 6music), Steve Mason and renowned photographer/filmmaker Dean Chalkley.
Kicking the festival off in fine style on November 2nd is the world premiere of Gregory Porter Don’t Forget Your Music at BFI Southbank, featuring a Q&A with Mr Porter himself and the director Alfred George Bailey.
Film and listings information:
Gregory Porter Don’t Forget Your Music
Director. Alfred George Bailey
Film screening, followed by a Q&A with Gregory Porter and Alfred George Bailey
Directed by former musician and accomplished photographer Alfred George Bailey and produced by renowned music representative Heather Taylor, the feature film was shot over four years and spans the life and career of the breakthrough star. New interviews and archive footage chart Gregory Porter’s incredible journey from humble beginnings in Bakersfield, California, to stage, studio and beyond, with his remarkable story underpinned by exclusive access during recording of the new album, Take Me To The Alley. The film features contributions from Gregory Porter’s brother Lloyd and sister Lawanda, musical luminaries including Don Was, Hubert Laws, Van Morrison, Jools Holland, Gilles Peterson, Jamie Cullum and Jana Herzen– as well as an account in Gregory’s own words.
It is an intimate portrait of an incomparable talent that explores some of the trials that Porter has encountered in his life: the absence of his father growing up and how jazz music filled the void, racial hostility in his hometown, and his triumphant journey to musical success.
This inspirational story is told through candid interviews and exclusive access-all- areas coverage. The film touches on universal themes of fulfilling one’s promise, the hardest and most important, lessons gleaned from life, and how success can come calling for you at any time. Above all it speaks of the redemptive, all-conquering power of a mother’s love – the inspiration that would ultimately lead him back on the path to his destiny.
Director Alfred Bailey says, “this project started with Gregory’s first ever gig in the UK, and we have been with him, and watched him grow as an artist and a performer, through the years to capture his incredible voice and unrivalled musicianship. The world is about to understand what an immense talent Gregory is, and Don’t Forget Your Music is the complete story of how that talent came to be, and where that talent can go.”
Placebo: Alt. Russia
Director. Charlie Targett-Adams
Film screening, followed by Charlie Targett-Adams Q&A
As the band Placebo approach their 20th Anniversary they were given a unique opportunity to play ten cities throughout Russia. In a time when Russia was at the forefront of the world’s current affairs, little was actually reported outside Russia about the internal culture of the country.
Fronted by Placebo’s Stefan Olsdal, the film explores the alternative cultures that are present within Russia’s major cities. As the tour travelled through the country the band went out and met various artists, architects, animators and musicians, finding out about the alternative creative culture and celebrating all they have to offer.
From Krasnoyarsk in Siberia to St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea, Placebo: Alt.Russia takes you on the band’s journey through Russia, meeting great characters on the way, investigating the alternative culture in Russia, and taking in the raw emotions of Placebo’s powerful concerts.
Director: Torstein Parelius,
Film screening, followed by Torstein Parelius Q&A
Blackhearts follows three die hard black metal fans from Colombia, Iran and Greece as they risk their life, end up in jail and sell their soul to Satan as they pursue the dream of bringing their band to the unholy birthplace of black metal – Norway.
Black metal emerged from the roots of heavy metal with a strong connection to Satanism in imagery and ideology. It grew to a worldwide phenomena as it gained frontpage headlines through a series of murders, suicides and church burnings in Norway in the early 1990’s. Fast forward to Norway today, black metal has left behind its criminal past, and is now securely established in the Norwegian music mainstream; topping album charts and guesting the late night talk-shows.
But as the cradle of black metal, the image of Norway for foreign fans of this music is welded tight to the Satanism and murder headlines – attracting thousands of fans known as ‘blackpackers’ from around the world on a pilgrimage to the land of black metal. As the three main characters get the opportunity to play a metal festival in Norway, we travel with them on this journey. Blackhearts tells three very different personal stories unified by an extreme passion for black metal music and lifestyle, It doesn’t examine black metal as a genre historically, but is an observational documentary about expectation, identity, dedication and desires. How far would you go for the music you love?
Northern Disco Lights: The Rise and Rise of Norwegian Dance
Director. Ben Davis
Film screening, followed by Q&A with Ben Davis, producer Peter Jenkinson and musicians Bjørn Torske and Mental Overdrive
In the 1970s and 80s Norway was once known for oil, reindeer, Vikings and the Northern Lights – the radio stations played local folk and kooky pop while the country slid into a Eurovision stupor. By the late 80s a group of Tromsø teens geographically and culturally isolated set up radio stations, built synthesizers, threw parties and made dance music that broke all the rules. Taking cues from 80s synth pop, krautrock, dub, italo, jazz, soul, hip-hop, latin, afro, techno and house, they created a sound that was wholly original and distinctly Norwegian.
Word spread around urban regions of the country as like-minded kids recognized the call to arms. Berge’s Tellé Records captured the new sound but on the eve of their breakthrough hit, the 23 year-old prodigy at the centre of the storm was taken ill with a fatal heart condition.
Out of the ashes of tragedy a new generation realised their time had come. Norwegian producers, record labels and DJs exported this ‘new’ dance music and the world embraced it with open arms. Disco, which had been a dirty word for so long was re-imagined with Norway in its DNA and producers were no longer kids in bedrooms but superstars, who would go on to change dance music forever.
Northern Disco Lights is the new feature length documentary that looks to tell their story for the first time:
Two years in the making the production team has traveled the length and breadth of Europe interviewing all the key figures of the story including Bjørn Torske, Greg Wilson, DJ Strangefuit, Mental Overdrive, Lindstrøm, Annie, Idjut Boys, Prins Thomas, Mikal Tellé, Greg Wilson, James Hillard, disckJokke, Erot, Doc L. Jnr, G-ha & Olanski, Olle Abstract, Rune Lindbaek, SVEK Records, James Hillard (Horse Meat Disco), Mark Jones (Wall of Sound), Joakim Haugland (Smalltown Supersound), Matt Anniss, Magnus International & Blackbelt Andersen and many many more!
BANG! – The Bert Berns Story
Directors. Bert Berns and Bob Sarles
Film screening, followed by Bert Bens Q&A
Bert Berns was one of the great originals of the rhythm and blues’ golden age, who penned and produced a litany of hits, including Twist and Shout by The Isley Brothers, Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters and Everybody Needs Somebody to Love by Solomon Burke. As head of his own record label, he signed and supervised the first solo records by Neil Diamond and Van Morrison. Berns’ meteoric rise from obscurity, to music royalty, to becoming a ‘made man’ with mob connections makes for a story which must be seen to be believed.
The film features vintage performance footage and interviews with Van Morrison, Solomon Burke, Keith Richards and Paul McCartney. This is a rousing documentary whose release is perfectly timed with Berns’ 2016 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Sad Vacation – The Last Days of Sid and Nancy
Director. Danny Garcia
Film screening, followed by dir. Danny Garcia Q&A
Sad Vacation is an up close and personal account of the tumultuous and stormy relationship between Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen and how it ended in Room 100 of the Chelsea Hotel. Directed by Danny Garcia (The Rise and Fall of The Clash, Looking for Johnny), this films holds no punches and reveals the facts through personal friends, insiders and witnesses providing a first-hand account of Sid and Nancy’s mysterious deaths. Includes interviews with Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls), Bob Gruen, Walter Lure (The Heatbreakers), Lee Black Childers, Howie Pyro (D Generation), Kenny Gordon (Pure Hell), Cynthia Ross (The B- Girls) and many more.
The Royal Dutch Tour: Bonnie Prince Billy and The Cairo Gang
Director. Simona Dalla Valle
Film screening, followed by dir. Simona Dalla Q&A
The Royal Dutch Tour Documentary is the debut feature film by Italian film maker Simo Valley (Simona Dalla Valle). Funded by a small Kickstarter Campaign, the documentary follows Bonnie “Prince” Billy and The Cairo Gang, supported by Tonnie ‘Broeder’ Dieleman and Leo Meijer on an intimate tour of Holland in the summer of 2014.
Bright, sun-lit footage of charming villages and countryside contrast with candle-shadows and cloistered performances, The Royal Dutch Tour Documentary comprises a binary structure, switching between the entirely acoustic performances and interviews with local people talking about the venues. The debut feature is divided into seven episodes, one for each place visited during the tour.
Fusing local interviews and reportage exploring the unique character of each venue with performance footage, The Royal Dutch Tour Documentary maintains a spirit as peaceful and unique as the tour itself and offers a rare and intimate glimpse into life on the road for these extraordinary musicians.
“Dalla Valle has made here a film that contextualizes a musical trip in a completely new way. As a musical participant in the documented trip, it’s a joy to see the outside of what I had experienced from deep inside, and even more of a joy to know that such a great adventure is so memorialized, with necessary grace and beauty”. Will Oldham
Director. Janus Koster-Rasmussen
Film screening, followed by dir. Janus Koster-Rasmussen Q&A
A multiple award winning film profiling jazz giants Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon’s 1962-76 European exile in Copenhagen.
Two of the jazz world’s greatest saxophonists washed up on the Danish coast in the early 60s and over the next several years made Copenhagen their adopted home town. Cool Cats is the story of how Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon found a human haven from the racial discrimination and drug problems of their home country. At the same time, the two saxophone magicians started a musical avalanche, which turned Copenhagen into a European capital of jazz. Skillfully orchestrated archive material, including Ben Webster’s own home footage from his time in Copenhagen, shows how this little city changed and was changed by two of Jazz’s greatest icons, featuring plenty of cool jazz along the way.
Eat That Question – Frank Zappa In His Own Words
Director. Thorsten Schutte
Born in 1940, Frank Zappa – self-taught composer, musician, bandleader, producer and independent thinker – first transcribed his avant-garde, Varèse-influenced compositions onto paper at fourteen. He only began to write lyrics in his early twenties. Nevertheless, upon the ’66 release of his debut album, Freak Out! (with The Mothers of Invention), he swiftly became the most quotable voice of dissent in popular music.
A subtle, skillful montage constructed solely from historic footage, Eat That Question – Frank Zappa In His Own Words is an energetic celebration of this outspoken maestro. Zappa died far too early, in 1993, of cancer. How important then, that such unforgettable Zappa interviews and performances across three decades have been painstakingly gathered by director Thorsten Schutte from the obscure vaults of TV stations around the world to create this unique 90 minute feature documentary.
Following Zappa from clean-shaven, besuited youth, to fearless chief freak, to his relentlessly productive final days before his death at 52, Eat That Question – Frank Zappa in His Own Words seats us right up front from the start; close enough to Zappa to read the flickering emotions in his eyes.
The Colossus of Destiny – A Melvins Tale
Director. Bob Hannam and Ryan Sutherby
Film screening, followed by dir. Bob Hannam Q&A
The Colossus Of Destiny – A Melvins Tale is a film about a band who have defied all the rules, for over 33 years and counting, and still managed to succeed and do it their own way. It follows the journey of band members King Buzzo and Dale Crover as it takes us from the back-waters of the Chehalis River in Washington State, down through the Golden Gate of Northern California, finally settling into the Los Angeles River Basin of Southern California, with the rest of the world thrown in along the way.
Witness first-hand the beliefs and attitudes, values and obscenities, slows and fasts, triumphs and toils, loves and hates, wits and giggles of a hugely talented and highly influential band. Hear what the countless number of peers, collaborators, understudies, admirers and even haters have to say about their encounters with The Melvins over the past 3 decades. And come away with a lesson in how to survive in the wicked world of the music biz, without taking yourself too damn seriously.
Tear the Roof Off: The Untold Story of Parliament/Funkadelic
Director. Bobby J. Brown
Film screening, followed by dir. Bobby J. Brown Q&A
Award-winning documentarian Bobby J. Brown uncovers the numerous secrets of seminal funk collective Parliament/Funkadelic. Members open up about the unorthodox methods in which they were paid, heavily exploited, and the creativity behind this unique genre of music. This is the untold story of the rise and fall of the greatest funk band ever.
HR “Finding Joseph I” (Bad Brains)
Director. James Lathos
Film screening, followed by dir. James Lathos Q&A
HR “Finding Joseph I” is a feature documentary chronicling the eccentric life and struggles of punk rock reggae singer, Paul ‘HR’ Hudson, AKA Joseph I. The charismatic frontman’s energetic and explosive live performances helped pioneer hardcore punk rock with Bad Brains, one of the most influential bands to rise out of the 1980s. HR’s heavy devotion to the Rastafarian faith guided him in a spiritual direction, leaving the band several times to explore his love for reggae music as the solo artist – HR Human Rights. Over the years, Bad Brains have reunited several times only to struggle with the unpredictable singer. HR’s increasingly strange and abnormal behavior has left many convinced that he is suffering from psychological troubles, while others believe he’s still living out his journey as one of the greatest frontmen in rock and roll history.
This documentary features interviews with musicians and peers HR has worked with and influenced, as they share their stories and first hand experiences. Most importantly we will hear from HR himself about his life, philosophies, and career whilst seeing him continue to write, record and perform, spreading his passionate message of universal peace and love.
Lunar Orbit: The Orb
Director: Patrick Buchanan
Film screening, followed by dir. Patrick Buchanan and Alex Paterson Q&A
Taking you into their ultraworld, this feature documentary explores The Orb’s unique creative process and delves deep into the stories behind the music, revealing the history and friendships behind their cult phenomena.
The film boasts unprecedented studio access from the duo’s Moonbuilding 2703AD recording sessions in Berlin, live concert footage, rare unseen archive material and interviews with key creative players including Youth (Killing Joke), Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd), Mixmaster Morris, Matt Black (Coldcut), and members of The Orb’s extended family.
Bill Evans: Time Remembered
Director. Bruce Spiegel, USA, 2015, 85min
Film screening, followed by dir. Bruce Spiegel Q&A
Bruce Spiegel has produced a complete documentary giving you insights into Bill Evans; not just the musician, but also the person. The film moves chronologically starting with Bill’s childhood in New Jersey and culminating with details about his death.
“The film Bill Evans, Time Remembered took me 8 years to make. Eight years of tracking down anybody who knew Bill and who played with him, to try and find out as much as I could about the illusive and not easy to understand Bill Evans. I feel very honored to have had the chance to interview and get to know good guys that spent a lot of time with Bill: Billy Taylor, Gene Lees, Tony Bennett, Jack DeJohnette, Jon Hendricks, Jim Hall, Bobby Brookmeyer, Chuck Israels, Paul Motian, Gary Peacock, Joe LaBarbera. It was a once in a life time experience talking to these gifted talented guys about their time in jazz music, about their “Time Remembered“ with Bill Evans. – Bruce Spiegel”
“The film was a bull’s eye at capturing as much as one can capture of someone’s music, pain, and life story. My family is forever grateful to your outstanding work.” – Debby Evans (Waltz for Debby)”
“The film is musically intriguing and sensitively crafted. Not soppy with just the right amount of honesty regarding his personal life.” – Nenette Evans
My Buddha Is Punk – Burmese Punk
Director. Andreas Hartmann
Film screening, followed by dir. Andreas Hartmann Q&A
The film follows Kyaw Kyaw, a 25-year-old Burmese punk, as he pursues his dream of seeing the punk scene take off in Myanmar. Despite the former military dictatorship carrying out a few democratic reforms, Kyaw remains skeptical. Along with the members of his punk band, he tries to raise awareness of the persistent violation of human rights amongst the Myanmar people. By way of his music and demonstrations in the streets, he criticizes the ongoing civil war and the persecution of ethnic minorities. He travels across the country to promote his philosophy to the younger generation: A symbiosis of Buddhism and punk that rejects religious dictates and political doctrine.
Burn The Place You Hide: The St. Thomas Film
Director. Richard Knights
Film screening, followed by dir. Richard Knights Q&A
“I am a dreamer and I sometimes live so much in my dreams that I get very disappointed when I find out which world I am in”. Thomas Hansen, 2001
Thomas Hansen was one of the most original and painfully honest voices in Norwegian pop music. Yet the conspicuous absence of a filter between his life and his music of led to both critical acclaim and personal tragedy. Haunted by the debilitating effects of mental illness, his music, both joyous and melancholy, was rooted in a place of heartfelt candor – an open invitation to the world of a uniquely talented and often very troubled artist.
Filmed with unprecedented access to unreleased archives and interviews with the musicians, friends and family closest to him, Burn The Place You Hide is the first time the extraordinary life of Thomas Hansen has been fully documented.
The Parkinsons: A Long Way to Nowhere
Director. Caroline Richards, UK, 2016, 98min
Film screening, followed by dir. Caroline Richards and band members Q&A
London. The dawn of the new Millennium. The Britpop party is over and the UK music scene is suffering from a severe hangover. The promise that Things Can Only Get Better now seems like a distant dream. Then, as if from nowhere, The Parkinsons burst onto the scene and give the music business a shot in the arm and a kick up the arse. Singer Afonso, guitarist Victor, and bassist Pedro met in their home town of Coimbra, Portugal – land of Madeira, Catholicism and boredom. Relocating to London in search of adventure, they teamed up with fiery Scottish drummer Chris Low. They swiftly built a reputation for chaos, revealing their penchant for getting naked on stage and attempting to abuse anyone or anything that refused to worship at their altar of rock’n’roll damnation. In the shadows, The Libertines and Razorlight were taking notes. Having conquered London, The Parkinsons were unleashed onto the rest of the UK, receiving ecstatic responses and rave reviews wherever they went.