Now in its third year at Regent Street Cinema, the 2020 SoundScreen Music and Film Festival brings together a host of exciting, new and rarely seen documentary films. Featuring a wide range of artists and genres, from the hard rock of Jimi Hendrix, the blues of Paul Butterfield, and the rap of Bushwick Bill and more, there is something for every music fan. We will be joined at the festival for a special live acoustic blues set from original members of the Pretty Things, Dick Taylor and Phil May as the highlight of Saturday's programme. See you there!
(UK PREMIERE) Friday 27th March 7.30pm
A feature length music documentary that offers a rare glimpse at the human stories and songs — that are locked away in our nation’s jails and prisons. The film follows a unique rehabilitation effort in the Richmond City Justice Center that invites inmates to write and record original music. In the jail’s makeshift recording studio, 4 men collaborate on an album with a Grammy-winning recording artist, Todd “Speech” Thomas, from the iconic activist hip-hop group Arrested Development. As the creative process unfurls, each of these men must unearth painful memories from the past, which hold a key to a new chapter in their lives.
The film is set in Richmond Virginia, the former seat of the confederacy, where the legacy of systemic racism, a spiraling opioid crisis, generational poverty, and a lack of mental health services have entrapped many of its citizens in a cycle of incarceration, making the city itself a unique case study for rising recidivism rates in the U.S. at large. With the U.S. locking up more of its citizens per capita than any other nation on the planet, the music of the film serves as rare testimony to the raw and messy truth behind the criminal justice system’s revolving door.
“…A hopeful look at the potential power of song and creativity to focus, empower and inspire.” — Gary Goldstein, L.A. Times
(UK PREMIERE) Saturday 28th March 3.00pm
An intimate portrait of the legendary gangsta rapper Bushwick Bill reflecting on his turbulent life both on and off the stage. Known mainly for his hardcore lyrics, his size (he is a little person) and his missing eye, Bill recounts his highly controversial life as one of the original Ghetto Boys.
Filmmaker Gregy Roman offers up a rare glimpse into the rapper’s life as the two discuss Bill’s migration from Jamaica to the mean streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn, his pioneering rap career, and the infamous shooting incident that almost took Bill’s life. Bushwick Bill: Geto Boy is a revealing documentary about the man, Richard Shaw, his persona, Bushwick Bill, and the blurring of the lines between the two. With some unexpected anecdotes along the way, the film reveals an emotional and contemplative side never before seen and offers insight into the history of hip hop, the complexities of the music industry, and what really goes on in the mind of Bushwick motherfuckin’ Bill.
Saturday 28th March 5.30pm
The untold and ultimately inspiring story of legendary soul singer Teddy Pendergrass, the man who was poised to become the biggest R&B artist of all time until the tragic accident that changed his life.
The unforgettable lead vocalist of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and their classic songs such as‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ and ‘I Miss You’, Teddy subsequently became the first solo male African American artist to record four consecutive platinum albums in theUS, but his career was struck by tragedy in 1982 when a car accident left him paralysed at the age of just 31. He later made a triumphant comeback in front of a global audience of 1.9 billion at Live Aid.
Featuring revealing interviews with his family, friends and colleagues alongside industry legends Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, rarely seen archive footage and a soulful soundtrack, this insightful and moving documentary captures Teddy’s rise to fame against the complex backdrop of 1960s America and his victorious comeback after his life-changing accident.
This screening marks 10 years since Teddy Pendergrass’ death.
(UK PREMIERE) Saturday 28th March 8.30pm
Followed by a Q&A and an acoustic blues set from Phil May and Dick Taylor
Featuring David Gilmour & Van Morrison, The Pretty Things’ final concert brings the curtain down a ground-breaking musical career spanning over 55 years. Founded by an ex-Rolling Stone; Dick Taylor, along with superb vocalist Phil May, The Pretty Things were so raucous and rebellious that they made the Stones seem sedate by comparison.
Featuring behind the scenes documentary footage with interviews with Phil, the band and more, this is their final bow to a sell-out crowd at London’s Indigo O2.
Sunday 29th March 2.30pm
Followed by Q&A
Following on from the sell-out tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of their debut album, Greatest Hits Volume 1, we are joined by Mick Geggus and Jeff Turner of the Cockney Rejects along with the film’s director, Richard England for a special screening of East End Babylon – The Story Of The Cockney Rejects followed by a Q&A discussion.
The story of London’s toughest and poorest part as told through the eyes of its most iconic band. From the bombs that flew in World War II and from the greatest industrial docks the world ever saw, to the formation of the original and best Terrace Band of them all, the battles, living outside the law, the wilderness years of both the band and the area that spawned them, and eventually to the rebirth and transformation of the band into a worldwide cult, this is the rockumentary to beat them all. This is East End Babylon!
(UK PREMIERE) Sunday 29th March 5.30pm
A feature-length documentary about the life and career of legendary blues musician Paul Butterfield. A white, teenage harmonica player from Chicago’s South Side, Paul learned the blues from the original black masters performing nightly in his own back yard. Muddy Waters was Paul’s mentor and lifelong friend, happy to share his wisdom and expertise with such a gifted young acolyte.
The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring the twin guitar sound of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin, added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues.
The band’s first LP, released in 1965, was named “#11 Blues Album of All Time” by Downbeat. The only artist to perform at The Newport Folk Festival in 1965, The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and the Woodstock Festival in 1969, Paul would continue to break new ground in the blues, and to stand up for racial equality, until his death at age 44 in 1987 of a drug overdose.
Through his music and words, along with first-hand accounts of his family, his band mates and those closest to him, Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story tells the complex story of a man many call the greatest blues harmonica player of all time. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Paul Butterfield is one of a handful of musicians inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Blues Halls of Fame, alongside other legendary artists including B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Billie Holiday and Eric Clapton.
Sunday 29th March 8.00pm
It’s September 24th, 1966 and as Jimmy James fastens his seatbelt on the New York runway, he’s full of excitement and hope. Next to him is Chas Chandler, the bass player of British band The Animals who only days earlier had spotted him playing in a club in Greenwich Village and was now taking him to London to launch his musical career. By the time the plane touches down Jimmy James has reverted to his original surname and has become Jimi Hendrix.
But Jimi has no idea that the other man he was travelling with, a mysterious suited man wearing dark glasses, would become embroiled in Jimi’s own murder investigation. Fifty years on, The Animals and Jimi Hendrix not only remain top box office, the cause of Jimi’s death still remains an open verdict. While many stories continue to surround his death the open verdict does not rule out murder, neither does it rule out suicide: this film reveals the secret history of Jimi’s manager and British spy Mike Jeffery and explores why he was the prime suspect in the Jimi Hendrix murder enquiries. Yet, Hendrix and The Spook, with first hand testimony, reveals another more likely candidate for the cause of the death of one of the world’s greatest rock stars.
Do you have questions about our festival? Would you like to suggest a film for next year's festival? Send us a message, and we will get back to you soon.