Hot Docs celebrates Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s film work

The documentary cinema is screening two films directed by the late rapper as part of its music-focused screening series This Film Should Be Played Loud


Welcome to NOW’s weekly spotlight on Toronto’s indie festivals and screenings. It’s your chance to learn a little more about that cinematic event you’ve been meaning to check out, pitched by passionate programmers in their own words.

THE SERIES

This Film Should Be Played Loud, a monthly music series at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema (506 Bloor West).

THE PROGRAMMER

Alan Black, managing director of the cinema and director of operations for the Hot Docs film festival. “I wear many hats during the day,” he says. “Technically, programming is not at all part of my job description, so I think of myself less as a programmer and more as matchmaker. I try to find the right film for the right person and create the right cultural context for the person and film to connect and fall in love.”

WHAT’S THE MISSION STATEMENT?

“We borrowed the name from the opening title card of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, and really want the series to evoke the spirit of that film,” Black says. “Each event is meant to be a raucous celebration of music, performance, film, and expression.”

WHAT’S THE FILM?

Awesome I Fuckin’ Shot That!, screening Saturday (March 30) at 9:30 pm. It’s the crowdsourced record of the Beastie Boys’ 2004 concert at Madison Square Garden, as filmed by 50 members of the audience and edited by Adam Yauch under his directorial pseudonym, Nathaniel Hörnblowér.

WHY THIS MOVIE?

“Over the Christmas vacation I read the new Beastie Boys autobiography and was reminded of the genius of Adam Yauch both as a musician and a filmmaker,” Black says. “Awesome I Fuckin’ Shot That! is so absolutely singular as a concert movie – and such a hilarious, visual, mind-bending document of a band at the height of its creativity – I knew we had to show it again. In January I was at Sundance and ran into the guys from Oscilloscope Films, the DIY distribution company that Yauch started to get incredible films out into the world, and I told them I wanted to screen the film and do something special. They offered it up, and suggested that we blow it up and screen Fight For Your Right Revisited [as well].”

Fight For Your Right Revisited is a half-hour short, made by Yauch in 2011, starring Elijah Wood, Seth Rogen and Danny McBride as the Beasties and Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Jack Black as their older selves. It is amazing.

“I think anybody who joins us on Saturday night is going to be reminded of how three young punks from New York City, in all of their various incarnations from License To Ill to Ill Communication to Hello Nasty, helped define our culture,” says Black.

WHAT’S THE VIBE?

“When we re-invented the Bloor as a documentary cinema, it was our goal from the beginning to create our own non-fiction version of Rocky Horror… something that would be less of a screening and more of a ritualistic event,” Black says. “We wanted to use concert films, classic rock docs, and the occasional fiction film as a reason to turn the cinema into a large music venue. We turn the sound up, bring in a DJ and offer beer specials. The goal is to get people out of their seats and moving in the aisles. We’ve shown films like Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense, LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up And Play The Hits and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party to a packed house of 500-plus people singing along, dancing and getting lost in the music.”

WHAT’S NEXT?

The next screening in the series is an April 13 show of Purple Rain, “which has become one of our beloved annual traditions,” he says. “Three years ago we had it scheduled before Prince died and it became his makeshift Toronto memorial – one of my favourite nights ever at the cinema.”

As for future titles, Black suggests we keep an eye on the August offering. (“We’ve got something really exciting planned around the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.”) But his real holy grail for the series is Nirvana Unplugged: “As far as I know it has never been shown on the big screen in Toronto.”

@normwilner

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