London, 12th November 2015: Steel Pulse, director Yoni Gal and the Oscar-nominated producer Mike Lerner (The Square), today launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise completion funds for their feature documentary, Dreadtown, due for release end of 2016. http://www.dreadtown.com
Dreadtown is the first official documentary film to tell the story of how Steel Pulse took the Black British experience to the world through their unique reggae sound. Fans all over the world are being invited to be part of the Steel Pulse story by donating to their Indiegogo campaign, which can be found here.
The film not only explores the forces that made Steel Pulse, but also their significance to communities inside and outside the music world. Dreadtown will feature interviews with stars such as Snoop Lion, Rita Marley, Gwen Stefani, Matt Groening (creator, The Simpsons), Lennox Lewis (World Heavyweight Boxing Champion), Alpha Blondy (United Nations Ambassador of Peace), Burning Spear, UB40, John Lydon (Sex Pistols), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Chris Blackwell (founder, Island Records), Aswad, Billy Idol, Jason Mraz, and many more. The film is narrated by renowned Hollywood actor and activist Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon/The Color Purple).
The first half of the film explores the British context to Steel Pulse’s influential reggae music. Coming from Handsworth in Birmingham/England, Steel Pulse witnessed the hard edge of British working-class life during the 1970’s, a time of political upheaval and racial tension. Songs such as “Handsworth Revolution” and “Ku Klux Klan” looked to music to confront the exploitation and violence faced by the Caribbean and Indian migrant communities in the U.K. Steel Pulse responded to the rise of the far right in Britain through catchy reggae beats.
The film also explores how Steel Pulse related this past to audiences in the U.S, now the band’s second home. They climbed the ladder of obscurity in the US through the 1980’s and by 1993 they were playing at the inaugural festivities in Washington D.C., at the personal request of an unlikely fan, President Bill Clinton. A rich mix of contemporary performance, interview and exclusive archive will frame the incendiary issues of race and police/minority relations from 1970’s Britain to the present day in America.
Beyond an exploration of reggae music and popular culture during the 1980’s and early 1990’s, the documentary film explores socio-political issues that continue to resonate in the U.S. and beyond. Resonance with those same issues today requires names, not explanation; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York and Trayvon Martin in Sanford. The list continues, as does Steel Pulse’s mission to confront injustice and empower communities.
Filmmaker, Yoni Gal, returns to the personal histories of the band members with the personal vested interested in the political lessons of a generation - “I can trace the beginning of Dreadtown back to my upbringing in the Caribbean. As a teenager I found my political voice thanks to bands like Steel Pulse. Like Bob Marley before them I realised that the greatest music could also convey a powerful, social and political message. The band educated me on subjects I was not being taught at school”, explains Yoni.
Raised between the UK and Anguilla, a small island in the Caribbean, Yoni has had a lifelong passion for films and studied Film & TV Production at the University of Westminster in London. Since graduating, Yoni has produced a number of projects internationally, focusing at first on music promos for well-established artists in the US,
Jamaica and West Africa. Since befriending the band on a trip to Ghana, Steel Pulse have entrusted Gal with giving a visual voice to their music and history. Gal has spent several years filming the band and gathered extensive, never before seen archive material. He has met with friends, family and associates that traverse the history of the group across decades and continents.
All fans contributing to the crowdfunding campaign will have access to exciting and limited perks such as Behind the Scenes backer access, original signed movie posters and DVD’s, a chance to see the movie before anyone else, a cool Dreadtown t-shirt and even a VIP screening with David Hinds and Selwyn Brown in attendance in four cities in the world. You might even be able to pick up a recipe or two from David Hind’s mother.
“I'm thrilled to be working with David and Yoni on their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign - Fans of Steel Pulse will have a once in a lifetime chance to get involved in Dreadtown the movie and they'll be a crucial part of extending the film's audience across the world,” says Oscar-nominated producer, Mike Lerner.
Lerner has been making films since 1988 for BBC, Channel 4, BFI, HBO, PBS and Discovery Channel. He has won a number of industry awards including an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 2012, six Sundance awards (Grand Jury, Special Jury, Best Director, Audience, Cinematography), an Emmy for Best Documentary, two Grierson Awards for Best Documentary, Prix Italia, two Royal Television Society Award Nominations and two IDA Award nominations, Cinema Eye Award, Independent Spirit Award, Gotham Independent Film Award, Audience Award Durban Film Festival, the Alfred duPont Award, and Winner for Best Documentary at the Moscow Film Festival.