Wednesday, 30 July 2008

a doco with a lot of soul


Due to popular demand, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is presenting a special Freaky Fridays screening of Wattstax , the documentary about the legendary music concert and the civil rights issues that spawned the event.

Wattstax is centred around the 1972 Watts Summer Festival, a legendary day-long concert dubbed 'the Black Woodstock' that celebrated the music, people, and racial pride of the 1970s black community in the Watts area, Los Angeles.

Taking place 7 years after the Watts riots brought issues of racism back into public consciousness, Wattstax is "much more than a concert film" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer).  Described as "a time-capsule treasure" (The Age), Wattstax is a rich tapestry incorporating footage of the community, its people, politics and history.

As the Australian distributor for the film, ACMI screened the Australian premiere last December. In June this year, ACMI presented a special screening and a free concert at Federation Square by the Stax Music Academy direct from Memphis, Tennessee. The 16-piece group of music students aged from 14 to 18 years wowed (and warmed) an audience of 400 in Melbourne with their soulful, funky sounds and renditions of Australian classics, before performing to crowds in Sydney and Canberra.

"ACMI is committed to presenting unique social documents through film and we are thrilled to yet again give audiences the chance to enjoy Wattstax," said ACMI Head of Film Programs, Richard Sowada.

This blindingly brilliant concert film is a who's who of the black music scene circa 1972, with a series of stellar performances (and behind the scenes discussions) from the crème de la crème of the Stax music label including Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, The Emotions, the Bar-Kays, Albert King, Carla Thomas, Melvin Van Peebles and the Staple Singers.

Also featuring is a shout-out by Reverend Jesse Jackson, the comic stylings of a young Richard Pryor, and a wardrobe of the biggest flairs, afros, and pimpin' fashion you'll ever see!

This is an electrifying document of the civil rights movement. Social justice has never felt so good.

See the movie trailer and session details here

Wattstax screens as part of ACMIs Freaky Fridays Late Night Cult series on 22 Aug @ 10 pm.

Freaky Fridays highlights coming up later this year include Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me, Brian De Palma's Sisters and Louis Malle's Viva Maria!

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
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