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Beatles-related films dominate film festival
Hollywood -- June 17, 2008 -- The American Cinematheque announces the lineup of its 9th annual "Mods & Rockers Film Festival". The expansive two-week program features 31 films and shorts and the first full-length solo concert in the festival's nine-year history. 24 of the films are receiving their theatrical premiere at the festival. Many of the theatrical debuts are World Premieres. Others are US or West Coast Premieres.
The festival will open on Thursday June 26 and will run for 2 weeks till Wednesday July 9th at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
The festival - which started in 1999 as a one-off salute to 1960's pop-culture flicks - has now expanded to become America's largest annual celebration of music-related films. Each year the festival presents a mixture of premieres of new films - and screenings of classic movies that have not been seen theatrically in many years. Many of the films in this year's festival are not available on DVD and have never been released on home-video. Many have never been seen on US TV.
The 31 films feature on-screen appearances and/or soundtrack performances by over 250 top musicians and composers. An A-Z (Animals-to-Zappa) of the music world.
The festival opens on Thursday June 26 at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre with the World Premiere of the full-length documentary "The Seventh Python." The film is a portrait of Neil Innes - who since his film debut in the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" in 1967 has been a major presence as a comedic composer and performer with Monty Python, The Rutles (the spoof Beatles band he created with Eric Idle) and originally with the cult British group - the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. The film features all five of the surviving Monty Python members - John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam - who in a nod to the expression "the Fifth Beatle" - have dubbed Neil Innes as "The Seventh Python". Innes will be present for the World Premiere and will partake in a conversation about his career with Festival producer Martin Lewis.
(Innes and Lewis are old friends and collaborators. They worked together on Lewis' "Secret Policeman's Ball" shows in the 1970s and 1980s - and Lewis instigated and produced Innes' Rutles reunion album "Archaeology" in 1996.)
The festival's second night - Friday June 27th - sees a first - the first-ever concert presented inside the historic Egyptian Theatre as part of the Mods & Rockers Festival. Neil Innes will return to the theatre to present a very rare solo concert - his first L.A. live appearance in several years. He will perform songs drawn from his entire 40-year canon - including Bonzo Dog Band, Monty Python and Rutles material - and from his extensive solo catalogue.
In previous years there have been live performances as part of the Mods & Rockers Festival - but they have always been in the historic Egyptian courtyard or at adjacent music venues (such as The Knitting Factory or the Pig 'n' Whistle).
"Neil Innes Live At The Egyptian!" is supported by the Roland Corporation - manufacturer of electronic musical instruments.
The crown jewel of this year's festival - alongside the two-night tribute to Neil Innes - is a marathon salute to America's popular music - fittingly presented over the July 4th holiday weekend. It is the US Theatrical Premiere of Tony Palmer's critically-acclaimed 1977 series "All You Need Is Love" - 17 films that celebrate every major musical genre - and feature virtually every major music star of the first 75 years of the 20th Century. The series was made at the direct instigation of Palmer's friend John Lennon - who also gave the series its title.
The 17 films have been divided up into 7 programs to run Saturday July 5 and Sunday July 6. Two of the programs are FREE ADMISSION events. The other five programs are linked thematically - eg three films on ragtime, jazz and swing, three films on the blues, R&B and early rock 'n' roll etc etc.
In addition to tickets being sold for the individual programs - a special season ticket covering the entire weekend of events is available at a 30% discount. All those who buy the season ticket also receive a free DVD of one of the films in the series.
Full details are on the www.ModsAndRockers.com website - and on a special website for the marathon: www.HappyBirthdayAmerica.US
Among the other events at the festival:
• The World Theatrical Premiere of "The Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd Story" the film about Syd Barrett - featuring all four members of Pink Floyd (Weds. July 2)
• The World Theatrical Premiere of the Director's Cut of the new film about Robyn Hitchcock "Sex, Food, Death... And Insects" (Weds. July 2)
• The World Theatrical Premiere of the film of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's 40th Anniversary Concert (Thurs. June 26)
• The US Premiere of "Love Story" - the definitive documentary about seminal L.A. band Love and its principal singer/composer Arthur Lee (Sun. June 29)
• 40th Anniversary Screening of the 1968 psychedelic classic "Wonderwall" - featuring George Harrison's only movie score (Sat. June 28)
• 44th Anniversary Screening of the 1964 Beatles film "A Hard Day's Night" together with the 2002 documentary about the making of the film "Things They Said Today"
• 40th Anniversary Screening of Tony Palmer's controversial 1968 film "All My Loving" (not seen in the US until it premiered at last year's Mods & Rockers Festival) - starring the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Cream, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Eric Burdon, Donovan et al (Weds. July 2)
• 50th anniversary salute to America's space agency NASA - with World Theatrical Premiere of the digitally-restored edition of Tony Palmer's 1979 cult film "The Space Movie" celebrating NASA conquering space and the 1969 moon landing - set to a stunning score by Mike Oldfield ("Tubular Bells") - (Mon. July 7)
• Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is currently scheduled to appear at this screening
• Double-movie salute to the Athens, Georgia music scene - with films featuring R.E.M., The B-52s, Exene Cervenka and Jack White. (Weds. July 9)
The Festival also features a FREE-ADMISSION Private Clubhouse next door to the Egyptian Theatre. It will be open most nights of the festival (except Sundays) from the end of the last film of the night till 2:00am. The club serves drinks at regular bar prices. The clubhouse has developed a reputation as a late-night, post-screening hangout where the guest filmmakers and stars mingle with festival-goers. Musical guests who have got on stage for impromptu jams in the Mods & Rockers Clubhouse in the past 12 months include Donovan, Eric Burdon - and all four members of The Rutles.
Tickets go on sale immediately - and may be purchased online through the festival website: www.ModsAndRockers.com. Ticket prices are $10 General Admission, $8 for Seniors and Students and $7 for Cinematheque Members
The Egyptian Theatre is located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, 2 blocks east of Highland Avenue.
For more information, please visit www.ModsAndRockers.com or call (323) 466-FILM.
The festival is presented by the American Cinematheque - and is produced & hosted by Mods & Rockers co-founder Martin Lewis (a longtime Member of the Cinematheque's Board Of Trustees).
Published June 17, 2008