Thursday, March 11, 2010

Update..... Reggae Film Festival/Don Letts footage/Prince Fari/King Tubby/Reggae in the Ruff/Wah Do Dem..

Just a quick update....

We promised to release the 1975 reggae documentary in Feb. but we're still working on the cover art but if you want to reserve a copy feel free to email us and we'll keep a copy for you.
The Reggae film Festival 2010
I've just returned from a great 2 weeks in JA where i attended the 3rd annual Reggae film Festival, the event was everything i expected it to be and each year it's growing in popularity, despite many problems with funding which caused some minor problems the event went ahead and we had a great turn out. Thanks to all the people who flew out to JA to support the event and all the reggae artists who attended in particular the Congos and the legendary Gladdy Anderson, Fred Locks and Bob Andy whose presence was a great honour, also big thanks to Junior Reid, Macka Diamond, Ras Kassa, Ras Tingle, Carl Bradshaw, Carl Davis for supporting us and to everyone else who i forgot to mention.

There will be plenty of information going up on the official website over the coming weeks at including videos and photos from the event so don't miss this.

My own personal highlight of the film festival was an American entry from Don McConnell with his film "Reggae in the Ruff", this film was show for the first time ever and i beleive it to have been one of the best received films of the festival, i hope that the film will soon be available on DVD, if you get the chance to see the film please check it out, this is a beautiful film and we also got chance to meet all the stars of the film who attended the event.

The other film that stood out where 'Wah Do Dem' which again was an amazing film, although it started off slowly, as soon as they got to Jamaica things started to heat up and the film left the audience dying for more, with a superb performance by Carl Bradshaw and The Congo's, i hope we will see this film released shortly.

The award for Best Documentary went to "Ruff'N Tuff: Founders of the Immortal Riddim" by Shuizo Ishi of Japan who attened the event with his son and we where all so pleased to have met them both, the film is available on dvd in Japan(try japanese hmv wesbite). Those of you that have seen the film will know about the King Tubby footage, everyone seems to ask where did this come from and i heard rumours that it had been bought from Jamaica by some Japanese guy many years ago but it turns out that Shuizo Ishi himself filmed this in Jamaica back in the 1980's, there is apparently more footage of the master of Dub himself but it's not yet been made available but i hope one day we'll get to see some more of this.

An honour award for best international documentary went to "11 miles to Paradise" which was a film shot in Hawai which followed a group of friends who took an adventure to a Hawaian island which was out of bounds, all for their search of enlightenment, we had the pleasure of meeting the cast of the film who all flew over from Hawai. More on all these films later...


My trip to view Don Letts Super 8 footage....
I mentioned some time ago that i would be doing a little write up on my trip to London to view Don Lett's super 8 footage which he shot in 1975, many of you will have read about the well known trip that Don and Johnny Lydon took to Jamaica in search of Reggae artists for Island records, they apparently spent a week in some hotel in Kingston and word soon spread that they where in town looking to sign artists, the whose who of roota reggae turned up at the hotel and partied by the poolside while auditioning, you can just imagine what that was like, good old Don took his super 8 camera and filmed much of his trip, he also filmed lots of footage back in the UK at Dingwalls and in Brixton. The collection of film i refer to was donated to the BFI some years ago by Don and it had apparently never been digitized until i contacted them recently and they agreed to cover the costs of digitization which was very nice of them, i explain to them just how important the footage was and all of this film is now available for anyone to view on the BFI premises via appointment only for a small fee.

The majority of the Reggae material is on reels 19-37, i will try to make a more detailed post in future but for now a quick summary....
The footage includes artists like Dr.Alimantado, Tappa Zukie, U Roy, Big Youth, The Congos, Culture, Prince Hammer, Militant Barry, Keith Hudson, LKJ, Marianne Faithful, Viv Goldman, Prince Fari, Johnny Clarke, Sly Dunbar, so as you can see we have here some artists who have never before been seen on film eg. Keith Hudson, Tappa Zukie, Militant Barry, Prince Hammer, Alimantado, Prince Fari, so this collection of film is of great importance historically.

Regarding Prince Fari, there was only ever one clip that was used in a documentary which showed him at Dingwalls live, it was about 10-20secs long and can be found on youtube, this was a clip from Dons footage. There is much more of Prince Fari and this alone is so important as we've never had the chance to see him on film before, there are clips of him in Jamaica by the sea dressed in his signature red/gold+green robes, also some live footage of him in the UK.

One of the highlights of the footage was The Congos with Tappa Zukie, they are filmed getting stopped by police and being searched! there is also much footage of Johnny Rotten who is being very annoying and can't sit still!

I'll make up a list of the scene's shortly but you will also find lots of old punk footage on the tapes, and bands like the clash, sex pistols, Joe Strummer, billy Idol, PIL, Motorhead etc.
I was a little dissapointed in the fact that there seemed to be no footage of the actual auditions that took place by the poolside which i had heard so much about, i wondered if maybe Don had only donated part of the collection but i later heard that some of the tapes went missing a long time ago so i guess this is the reason we don't get to see the auditions...
Either way this collection is very important historically and anyone wanting to view the films can now go and view them in London at the BFI, please contact me if you need more info.


This ultra rare film featuring Toots and the Congos which is virtually impossible to find is soon to be released on DVD for the first time, we hope it will be in stores by the end of June 2010, i hope that this time round the film will be recognized for the classic that it is, more news on this as we get it...


The new documentary from Luciano Blotta was screened on UK TV last week as part of the Storyville series of documentaries, it turns out the documentary was produced in association with the BBC, this is the first time i heard this, i always thought it was an independant production but apparently not. I'm sure it will repeat soon, check BBC4 for more info, i guess it might end up on BBC1 or 2 if the first screening got enough viewers.

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