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London’s first ever music documentary festival starts tonight

By | Published on Thursday 25 September 2014

Doc N Roll Festival

London’s first ever music documentary festival kicks off at the Hackney Picturehouse this evening, with a four day programme of films – both classics and newer pictures – documenting a number of music greats.

Doc N Roll Festival co-founder Colm Forde spoke to CMU’s sister magazine ThisWeek London, and explained the motivation for the new event. He said: “Other festivals have music documentaries within them, but our angle was to stage an event that concentrates exclusively on the genre. It’s quite strange – given the heritage of this city in terms of musical output, I’d say it’s second to none – and yet there hasn’t been a festival specifically focused on music documentaries here before”.

He continued: “We were mainly inspired by a music film festival in Barcelona called In-Edit, which I attended when I was staying there. The idea of doing our own event, initially in Dublin and later in London, has been brewing for a while, though we only made the actual decision to do this earlier this year”.

Introducing the first ever Doc N Roll Festival programme, Forde continues: “We’ve hooked up with Julien Temple, an iconic director in this particular genre of course, who made his name with Malcolm McLaren and the Sex Pistols way back when, and our programme includes a retrospective of his work. That includes a particular favourite of mine, the Dr Feelgood film ‘Oil City Confidential’, plus his Joe Strummer profile ‘The Future’s Been Written’, and the film he put together with the BFI, which uses footage from their archives to document the influence immigrant communities, and especially people from the Caribbean, have had on culture in London”.

And as for what makes a good music documentary, while the music itself is important, Forde reckons that the personality of the subjects is also key. “The people in these films all have electric personalities, and we get to see the trial and tribulations they went through, how they ended up where they are, what kind of climax and anti-climax they had in their career”.

Forde chats more about the Doc N Roll Festival on this week’s ThisWeek London Podcast, hosted by CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke, which also features snippets from and information about theatre, musical and cabaret shows happening in London this week. Check the podcast out here.