Lights, camera, music! Doc’n Roll, the UK’s Documentary Music Festival, kicks off its Scottish debut in Edinburgh’s Cameo Picturehouse from 25th to 28th April with six acclaimed films about music. From jazz giants and Seventies punk heroines, Doc’n Roll Scotland promises to entertain music lovers and documentary aficionados alike with Scottish-debut screenings and Q&As with directors, artists and music experts. Morven Masterton, director of the festival, spoke with The Fountain about we can expect from Doc’n’Roll and her personal picks.
TF: What is Doc ‘N’ Roll, can you elaborate on this debut festival?
Doc’n Roll is an indie film festival celebrating an eclectic mix of music and performers in a selection of newly released documentaries from across the globe. We don’t discriminate – our festival line-ups are always a dynamic fusion of music, with something for everyone – from the established to the obscure.
TF: What inspired you to curate and programme this festival, and why Edinburgh?
We started the festival five years ago in East London when we spotted there was a growing number of films being made about much-loved artists that weren’t getting released in theatres. As music nuts and cinema-lovers we wanted to give people the chance to see their heroes on the big screen. Since then we’ve expanded the programme and toured the festival around the UK. I’m thrilled to finally bring it back home to Scotland – I’m a Fifer – by launching in neighbouring Edinburgh next month. It’s also great to be housed in the wonderful Cameo Picturehouse, it will be Doc’n Roll’s home for our festival, which is apt since it was Picturehouse that supported us from day one!
TF: And what are the highlights from the programme, what are you personally looking forward to?
As it’s our first festival in Scotland we’ve carefully crafted a select programme of six films for Edinburgh audiences – our annual festival in London shows in the region of 25! It’s really important for me that we bring films that aren’t otherwise being screened so almost all of our films in Edinburgh are Scottish premieres. For the purist collectors, the sorts that spend an afternoon rummaging in Vinyl Villains, head along to the opening night doc, The Library Music Film, to learn about the music you’ve never heard of! It’s an honour to have Gina Birch of The Raincoats and Helen Reddington of the Chefs attending their film screening, Stories from the She Punks on the Friday. My personal favourite is Shut Up and Play the Piano; I’m slightly in awe of the talent of Chilly Gonzalez and this film is as wonderfully eccentric and interesting as the man himself, and it’ll be a lovely high to close the festival with on the Sunday. I’m currently working on a surprise element for the Saturday screenings so fingers crossed I can pull that off!
TF: And what more can we see from Doc n Roll, are you looking at this being a prospective annual event?
After Edinburgh we’ll be in Dundee for a day in mid May – screening the fantastic story of reggae label Trojan Records, Rudeboy, and the Scottish premiere of local Director Craig McNeill’s film, About A Badly Drawn Boy. Then we roll on to Glasgow at the end of June with another festival weekender screening a different combo of music docs that I’ve chosen to link in with the city’s love of techno, rock and indie pop. Details to be announced soon! The longer-term plan is indeed to run the festival on an annual basis and I also aim to organise special screenings and events in the meantime. As we become more established I hope – with the essential enthusiasm of others – to be able to extend the festival with live music and other related talks and screenings. The more people respond to it positively, the more I can develop it further.
TF: Where did the distribution come from with these kind of films?
As well as having the usual submissions process – where directors can submit their films online for selection – over the years we’ve established a really strong network with directors and producers. In this particular genre there are a lot of first time filmmakers and also crowd-funded films so it’s about identifying opportunities early and building relationships with the filmmakers at the production stage so they start thinking about their audience and how we can help them. We’ve already got our eye some films that are doing the rounds at some major international festivals so things are already looking interesting for festival number II.
For more on the programme click here.