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INTERVIEW: Gimme Some Truth – Jason Cleary

28 Nov

WAM got talking to RTRFM‘s station manager Jason Cleary about Australia’s first music documentary film festival Gimme Some Truth, happening Friday 5 til Thursday 11 December.

Set to feature a range of national and international films as well as the WA shorts section where we can expect to see ’70’s stadium rockers’ to ‘freestyle rhyme’, it’s an event you can’t miss. We asked for his top three recommendations (he gave us four) and shared the station’s inspiration for the concept.

How did you go about selecting the films for the Gimme Some Truth, and what were some of the hurdles you faced (costs, difficult directors, funny stories, cancelled doco!)?

Being quite new to curating a film festival, I found getting contacts for all these films pretty difficult and random. There have been a lot of dead ends, but also a lot of great people working very hard to get their films made and out there.

The Records Collecting Dust screening has been unfortunately cancelled, but as it turns out, I was dealing with a company who had not even finished their film yet, and ran into some last minute production issues. A small bit of advice – finish it before you start pushing it. I must admit though, I have found most people really good to deal with in this process.
What makes this doco festival the first of its kind and different to others?

Gimme Some Truth is not the first of it’s kind as such, but after getting the inaugural festival off the ground we very quickly realised that a specific music documentary festival does not exist in Australia. Music documentaries are showcased in other film festivals, but no one is specifically only doing music documentaries. International festivals like the SXSW Film showcase and Sound Unseen were the types of film festivals that inspired Gimme Some Truth.

What sort of things can audiences expect from the WA shorts section of the festival?

The shorts selection is a very diverse program, from 70’s stadium rockers, to freestyle rhyme, and a couple of RTRFM-produced projects. This program is really about showcasing some of the great work being done by local producers in the world of short films that often never get such a screening.

There seems to be a common theme of breaking racial barriers in a couple of the films (including Finding Fela and Clark Terry’s influence in the recently added documentary Keep on Keepin’ On) – was this important in the essence of the festival and RTRFM’s philosophy?

Gimme Some Truth is about showcasing underground, independent music and musicians, first and foremost. I think you often find that stories like this are groundbreaking and outside the norm. I would say that every film showcases boundary-pushing, risk-taking artists just like those you mention above – artists that deal with their surroundings and lives through their music.

Obviously they’re all selected for a reason, but let’s force you to play favourites; your fave 3 films and why:

  1. Come Worry With Us! – I thought this film was an amazingly personal insight into the struggle of Thee Silver Mt Zion Orchestra. They were so open about the issues faced by so many musicians on the road.
  2. Heaven Adores You & Finding Fela are the festival opening and closing films for very good reason – and we have some great parties happening after them as well!
  3. In Search of Freestyle: Episode 1, which is part of our WA Shorts showcase – Brian Kruger (aka Perth MC, Empty) has shot an amazing fly-on-the-wall style doco in New York City, searching out freestyle rhyme.

That’s actually four films, but I can honestly say this year’s program is super strong and I’m very excited that RTRFM can bring this line-up of films to the community.
What is it about the combination of music and film that draws viewers in so passionately?

I think it is always a good story. RTRFM’s radio broadcasting and music documentaries are so well aligned because, at the end of the day, you are trying to tell a story, either literally or through the DJs music selection on any given show.

The chance to get an insight into the artist’s ways of working, struggles and ideals are the main reasons I love music documentaries, and this festival showcases some of the best music documentaries released in the past year.

More info here.

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts Australian Government

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.