Punk The Capital: Building A Sound Movement
Punk The Capital: Building A Sound Movement is a highly acclaimed new feature-length documentary tracing the birth of punk in Washington D.C., focusing on the period 1976-1983.
When punk rock erupted in the US capital, it was a mighty convergence of powerful music, friendships and clear minds. This film is the first to explore the incredible challenges that this subculture faced when it first took root in the late 1970s.
Punk The Capital situates D.C. punk within the larger narratives of rock‘n’roll, working as a powerful multi-layered story for both fans and non-fans of punk rock. Featuring musicians such as HR (Bad Brains), Sharon Cheslow (Chalk Circle), Henry Rollins (S.O.A.), Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat) and Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), and other scene mainstays including photographer Cynthia Connolly and recording engineer Don Zientara, this film dives deep into the ideas and sounds from this transformative music scene which continues to be influential, culturally and politically, around the world.
Created by James June Schneider (co-director, editor), Paul Bishow (co-director) and Sam Lavine (associate producer, co-editor), Punk The Capital was theatrically released in the US in Spring 2021, and garnered rave reviews from the press and fans alike. Many of the screenings became special events, with Q&As with the directors and Pete Stahl of Scream, Chris Stover of Void, Nicky Thomas of Fire Party, curator/publisher Roger Gastman and Hudley Flipside of Flipside fanzine, just to name a few.
Schneider states: “The final version of our film that we’re releasing now is just the intense tip of the iceberg - our first cut was 7-hours long. In the end, we wound up focusing on the untold and improbable story of punk rock’s beginnings in Washington D.C., that happened concurrently with cities across the western world. We took a lot of our extra material that otherwise might never have been seen and edited it together to make short films that will be in the bonus section on the DVD. One of the shorts focuses on the band Scream and their family connections to D.C.’s legendary 1960's garage band scene.
"As we roll the film out, we’ve been blown away by the positive response not just from fans of punk and D.C. punk who see and hear a lot of unseen material. We’ve also heard from a lot of people even up to 90 years old who didn’t really like punk but nonetheless love the film. We’re glad to see that Punk The Capital works on a lot of levels and are hoping that it will reach a broad audience, since the DIY ideas highlighted in the film about the D.C. punk scene go well beyond the music.”
"… the real joy of the film is the equal billing it gives to the many other bands of the time and their cultural impact. Even if you’re not from D.C., this is a thrilling account of an important musical movement, and how it took off in the nation’s capital surrounded by government" - The Village Voice
"Paul Bishow and James June Schneider’s fascinating documentary Punk The Capital successfully captures the zeitgeist that changed the world. It gives us a strong overview of the biggest movers and shakers within this community and encourages us to seek out more where we can" - Film Threat
"...the film takes viewers through the story of punk’s birth in the District (known for short-and-unsweetened paeans to defiance, the punk genre came to flourish in this capital city, becoming one of Washington’s greatest cultural exports.) Dating from the 1970s, the film’s footage captures the raucous spirit of the communion of limbs (and spittle) that once rattled around cramped houses and makeshift stages. That spirit is one of the hallmarks of Washington’s punk landscape that carries through to today: a D.I.Y. spirit of music-making that exists not because it’s fun or easy, but because doing it under anyone else’s rules would betray your principles" - The Washington Post
"Punk the Capital is thoroughly entertaining and compelling and one of the most refreshing takes on D.C. hardcore ever. That there are still so many new stories to tell and unheralded figures to discover, all these decades later, is a testament to how significant and multi-layered this community's story and cultural contribution really is" - Exclaim!
- US import
- 1h 30min feature-length documentary
- DVD and BLU RAY are both region-free
- Subtitles available in French, Portuguese and Spanish
- Includes 50+ minutes of bonus short films:
- Scream Meets The Hangmen: Featuring all of Scream including Dave Grohl
- Void and Friends: A portrait of the cult hardcore band from the D.C. suburbs
- The Seminal WGTB Concert: The legendary first punk concert for so many D.C. kids, featuring The Urban Verbs, The Chumps, The Cramps, and total chaos
- The Slickee Boys: Extra material on the band who got D.C. punk off the ground circa 1976
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