DOC’N ROLL, the nationwide music documentary film festival which was set to return to Liverpool last month, has announced its plan to stream films from their programme via a new sofa-friendly platform, Doc’n Roll TV.
Offering front-row excitement via front-room access, Doc’n Roll TV is a new pay-per-view video on demand platform serving up a wide range of music docs to viewers across the UK and Ireland. Launching with an assortment of 16 feature-length films covering genres as broad as electronic, blues, grunge and death metal, Doc’n Roll TV’s menu of offerings is set to grow rapidly in the coming weeks. Originally revealed alongside its sixth annual celebrations last October, the festival’s organisers felt there was no better time to create awareness about their streaming platform than in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused the cancellation of hundreds events in our creative communities, including the Liverpool leg of the festival due to take place on 26-29 March.
Now more than ever, Doc’n Roll feels it is important to support and champion independent creators and risk-takers. Speaking to founder Colm Forde over the phone earlier this week, he’s clear that the entire film industry is experiencing a massive shift. “I am concerned particularly about indie cinemas that I know would be really affected by this lack of income,” he says. “Sadly, the individual venues across the country are going to be really hit by this closure, especially community cinemas and little one-screen cinemas that have been around for 100 years.”
The vast majority of Doc’n Roll films, Colm reiterates, came from Kickstarter campaigns. This means that they rely on the grassroots community to get funding for the projects, but, as he points out, this will also raise a concern over the way high profile streaming platforms exploit the demand. Colm continues: “Netflix and the other big players like Amazon might use this as an opportunity to really take advantage of cinemas closing if they see big enough hits online. [In America] they’re already releasing their films now with premium prices, which is probably about $20 per view. We have no idea what will happen then.”
Powered by the dedication of independent music documentary creators and fans, rather than Hollywood executives and industry gatekeepers, Doc’n Roll TV’s most recent addition includes an exclusive viewing of Manchester Keeps On Dancing. Profiling four decades of the electronic scene in Manchester, including recent surge of The Warehouse Project, Colm explains how refreshing it is to watch a documentary on the city’s prolific electronic scene from a different perspective: “It’s a Spanish film. The story behind it is that Harvey, the director, was relocated to Manchester for three years working as a TV Studio guy with Man City, and he borrowed the equipment from his day job to make a short film in his spare time which eventually became a feature over two or three years of work. He has this outsider look in, which makes it really fresh. There are so many documentaries about Manchester and the Haçienda made by the BBC and other programmers, but this is so much broader.”
Also available on the platform are films such as Pretend We’re Dead, a window into the unique perspective of L7, Bunch of Kunst, a film about Sleaford Mods and 2018’s So Which Band Is Your Boyfriend In?, an exploration of the real-life experiences of non-male participants in the UK’s DIY and underground music scenes.
“We ourselves are always learning a lot,” Colm concludes. “There’s a lot of music that isn’t our scene at all, but there’s always something curious or interesting [in our programme] that tangents off to other genres and other bands from particular scenes. This unique video on demand platform reflects our determination to bring great music docs to a nationwide audience… and especially during these uncertain times when escapism is no longer frowned upon.”