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Diamond docs

This year’s Doc’n Roll Festival features a diverse line-up of music-makers and genres, from Zambian rock to Krautrock, jazz to jungle and prog to folk

31 October, 2019 — By Róisín Gadelrab

PJ Harvey’s A Dog Called Money is among the Doc’n Roll festival films

AS the nights get colder, where better to seek comfort than in the safe confines of London’s cinemas while indulging in a massive selection of music documentaries and films?

Doc’n Roll Festival returns for its sixth London edition this week (Nov 1-17) across eight of the capital’s cinemas, screening a hugely diverse line-up of 30 music documentaries featuring music-makers and genres from Zambian rock to Krautrock, jazz to jungle and prog to folk – plus incredible archive footage of cult favourites and much more.

We’ve tried to give a flavour of what is on offer on this page but the selection is vast so, to see the full listings visit

This year’s festival will feature six world premieres, 17 UK premieres and seven London premieres, along with filmmaker and artist Q&As and live music events. It begins at the Barbican tomorrow (Friday) with the London premiere of A Dog Called Money, a look at the creative process of one of the UK’s most compelling artists – PJ Harvey.

Highlights include:

World premiere of Cracked Open (Nov 2) at the ICA, which offers a closer look at artist Gina Birch’s creative universe and acclaimed work as an audiovisual artist, followed by a Jäger Soho, Jägermeister and Soho Radio’s afterparty and exhibition of filmmaker Gina Birch’s artwork at Soho Radio’s collaborative events space with Jägermeister complimentary cocktails and DJ sets from Helen McCookerybook and Anna Da Silva from The Raincoats.

• UK premiere of Where Does A Body End? (Nov 2), Barbican Cinema 1. A portrait of NYC band SWANS, drawing on interviews and archive footage, plus Q&A with director Marco Porsia.

• World Premiere of Passions and Rituals (Nov 3), at The Castle Cinema, telling the immigrant story of Cuban composer Marietta Veulens, who has spent 20 years trying to complete her life’s work and album, plus Q&A featuring Marietta Veulens and director Olivia Emes.

• UK premiere of Lee Moses: Time And Place (Nov 7), at Picturehouse Central. An insightful and moving portrait of Lee Moses, the gifted deep soul singer and songwriter who was long forgotten by his hometown of Atlanta, plus Q&A with director Simon David.

• UK premiere of Show Me The Picture – The Story of Jim Marshall (Nov 10), at Curzon Soho. US photographer Jim Marshall’s diary of a life in music, capturing the volatility of the man behind the lens and the changes that defined the 1960s, directed by Alfred George Bailey, plus Q&A with director and producer.

• London premiere of Hype Master (Nov 10), at Genesis Cinema. Telling the story of Shaun Lewis – aka Stormin – and his emergence from being one of the pioneering figures in grime to becoming one of the biggest drum & bass MCs in the world – and charting how his cancer diagnosis affected him, his family and the music scene. Plus Q&A with director Isaac Reeder and preceded by short film world premiere – Grime Waltham Forest – focusing on the significant contributions to the scene made by local artists and producers in the early 2000s.

• UK premiere of The Show’s The Thing – The Legendary Promoters of Rock (Nov 12), at Picturehouse Central. Shining the spotlight on the small group of music-obsessed hustlers who brought live rock and roll to the world, plus Q&A with special guests TBA.

• London premiere of Desolation Center (Nov 16), at Curzon Soho. The previously untold story of a series of Reagan-era guerrilla music and art performance happenings in southern California that are recognised to have paved the way for Burning Man festival, plus Q&A with director Stuart Swezey and Mark Stewart (The Pop Group), hosted by Chris Bohn (editor, The Wire).

The festival, which was launched in 2014 by Colm Forde, aims to show love to the many under-the-radar music docs that risk-averse film programmers have long ignored.

Doc’n Roll programmer and festival CEO Vanessa Lobon Garcia said: “A music documentary is more than just the music; it’s a window on the artists, the stories and the social history of the places and eras the music was made and played.”

She added: “Making our selections is an incredible journey of discovery. This year, we watched 126 feature films on artists and scenes we thought we knew, and many more that were revelations even for music addicts like us.”

Six of the films premiering have been shortlisted for the festival’s Best Music Documentary 2019 prize.

They are: A Dog Called Money (PJ Harvey); Once Aurora; The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion; Digging For Weldon Irvine; David Crosby: Remember My Name; and The Rise of the Synths.


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