Punks, dead guys and doom: the best movies at Doc’n Roll music film festival

The annual music movie fest takes place from November 2-19 in a host of London cinemas

Doc’n Roll Film Festival is the UK’s only film fest dedicated to movies about music. It runs from November 2-19 with 25 different premieres in London, but plans for events in Brighton, Liverpool, Hull, Bristol and Manchester are set for next year. “Doc’n Roll Film Festival was set up three years ago to rattle the cage of the risk-averse UK cinema scene, by supporting first-time filmmakers in kicking doors down and getting their crowdfunded music docs out to the widest possible cinema audiences,” says Doc’n Roll founder, Colm Forde. “We knew there was a niche, yet large audience of alternative music and films fans out there who weren’t being served by these gatekeepers.” Damn right – here we look at the cream of this year’s crop, with help from the directors and producers. You can read about the rest here.


L7: Pretend We’re Dead

L7 anti-Trump

Director Sarah Price: “L7’s fierce determination as a band and as women is just as relevant today as it was when they emerged in the early ‘90s. Known for their heavy music and powerful live shows, they were made legendary by their hilarious tampon-throwing exploits and searing lyrics. Although their story is one of classic rags-to riches-to rags, ultimately it’s one of navigating the treacherous rock world with authenticity, resilience, and a wicked sense of humor. All that and a kickass soundtrack to boot.”

Manchester Keeps On Dancing

Director Javi Senz: “I always knew that Manchester was a great musical city, but living there I really felt the creative vibe and realize that Manchester is a key city to the development of club culture around the world. I wanted to know more about how it all started before The Hacienda and why there, and found a great story, with unsung heroes such as Colin Curtis or Mike Shaft, probably the first DJs to play House music in the city. After that, the story continues with amazing people and great nights.”

The Allins

Director Sami Saif: “In New Hampshire, a legend is buried. GG Allin, the most outrageous singer in rock’n roll history. He was known for defecating on stage, fighting and having sex with the audience. He died a mythological death from a heroin overdose in 1993, aged 37. The Allins is a loving and entertaining look at the family of the departed rock singer. Twenty years on from his all too premature passing in 1993, we meet GG’s mother Arleta and brother Merle, each of whom in their own personal way has tried to come to terms with GG’s death.”

Play Your Gender

Producer Sahar Yousefi: “5% of music producers are women even though many of the most bankable pop stars are female. Although enrolment in music lessons is equal between the genders, only 6 women have ever been nominated for the ‘Producer of the Year’ Grammy and no woman has ever won. In PLAY YOUR GENDER, Juno award-winning producer Kinnie Starr is on a quest to find out why this disparity exists by speaking to music industry stars and veterans about the realities of being a woman in the recording studio.”

The Story Of The Ealing Club

Director Giorgio Guernier: “Suburban Steps to Rockland is a feature film documentary about the Ealing Club, Britain’s first Rhythm & Blues Club. The place, which was opened by Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies in London in 1962 and was the first one dedicated to the sound of the electric blues guitar, soon became a hub for young musicians, who would congregate there to listen to their favourite music and learn the business.”

The Doom Doc

Director Connor Matheson: “Huge volumes, sluggish riffs and plenty of weed! The Doom Doc enters the UK’s dingiest pubs, practice spaces and house parties as we follow the story of Holy Spider Promotions, a DIY collective determined to put on a heavy alternative to Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival. Through their ups and downs we find out what it takes to keep this extreme form of music alive and thriving in a world dominated by profit margins and mainstream appeal. Delving into issues such as drug use, mental health and gentrification, the documentary features interviews with luminaries of the scene including members of: Black Sabbath, Conan, Crowbar, Primitive Man and Wet Nuns.”

Conny Plank: The Potential Of Noise

Directors Reto Caduff and Stephan Plank: ” It’s not only a primer for the birth of a European music style outside of the dominating UK influence starting in the 60’s [kraut rock], but also the portrait of a genius producer and the story of a son looking for answers about his father.”

Raving Iran

Director Susanne Regina Meures: “It all started when I read a short article about hedonistic techno parties in the Iranian desert. I got this picture in my head of these small ‘Burning Man’ type festivals, an image of ecstatic, colourful kids, dancing their personal utopia under the bribed eye of one of the most oppressive political systems in the world. I was fascinated and intrigued by the will power and force for freedom of these young people, who are organising parties despite the immense risk.”