'Punk the Capital' Film Seeks to Chronicle D.C. Hardcore Scene

Posted by Billy Gil, May 21, 2014 03:10pm | Post a Comment

A new documentary currently in production seeks to explore the fertile punk and hardcore scene of Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s and ’80s.

Filmmakers Paul Bishow and James Schneider are seeking funding for their documentary Punk the Capital, Straight from Washington D.C. via Kickstarter. The film is more than 10 years in the making and will explore how the hardcore movement began and why it has such staying power, focusing on the period from 1976 to 1985.

Ian MacKaye

The filmmakers say they conducted more than 100 interviews with key figures in the hardcore movement, collecting more than 200 hours of archival footage along with flyers, pictures, zines and more paraphernalia from the time. The film includes interviews with and footage of such hardcore luminaries as Alec and Ian MacKaye (the latter from Minor Threat, Fugazi, The Evens, The Teen Idles and Embrace), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Jeff Nelson (Minor Threat), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Tesco Vee (The Meatmen, Touch & Go), Cynthia Connolly (photographer, Dischord), Joe Keithley (D.O.A.), Sharon Cheslow (Chalk Circle) and more.

The filmmakers are intimately familiar with the scene they chronicle. Schneider is a D.C. native who grew up in the punk and skate scenes of the ’80s and has gone on to direct and produce films and music videos such as Blue is Beautiful (1997), featuring Dischord band The Make-Up. Bishow moved to D.C. in the late 1970s and filmed the punk scene via Super-8, making dozens of short films with punk bands.

Schneider and Bishow are hosting a fundraiser screening of parts of the film in Washington, D.C. at independent music venue the Black Cat June 10. The screening is $10 and doors are at 8 p.m. You can help fund the film through Kickstarter—as of today, they have more than $15,000 toward their goal of $43,000 by June 14.

Donations to the project would help fund the editing process, including film lab transfers and preservation, equipment rental and purchase, sound mixing, DVD production and other expenses (for instance, Super-8 footage collected for the film is deteriorating and needs to be transferred to an archival format).

Watch the Punk the Capital trailer below:

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Punk The Capital (1), Hardcore (10), Washington Dc (2), Kickstarter (4), Film (193), Punk (70), Ian Mackaye (6), Henry Rollins (8)