This year’s Beat Film Festival had a major UK presence. The festival opened with Francis Whately’s new film “David Bowie — The First Five Years”, the last and most delicate film in a trilogy about the iconic artist that rhymes with the main theme of this year’s festival which is “coming of age”.
The programme had a new section, Gala Premieres, a series of premieres at the Karo October cinema, the biggest in Russia. Within this section two films featurec prominent UK musicians. ‘Songwriter’ is a film about Ed Sheeran by his cousin Murray Cummings who is also the author of lyrics to several of Sheeran’s songs and director of several of his videos. Murray Cummings was a guest of the festival and the premiere of his film was followed by a public talk by him, moderated by a key Russian music critic. The premiere of “PJ Harvey: A Dog Called Money” by famous UK-Irish photographer Seamus Murphy who is also a close friend and collaborator of PJ Harvey, also took place in the presence of the director. Seamus Murphy also had an exhibition of his photos in Moscow including his portraits of PJ Harvey and photos taken in the course of travels that generated the album “The Hope Six Demolition Project”. The film is also scheduled also be part of the Beat Weekend programme in October and will screen in 15 cities across Russia.
This year’s festival also featured a new programme, Beat Night, a series of night events in which the focus shifts from film to music. The opening Beat Night event took place on 1 June at Aglomerat with a party around the British film “Rudeboy” about the story of Trojan Records. Trojan Sound System came to Moscow to deliver a truly authentic performance with the full international touring crew – Daddy Ad, who is Trojan Sound System, along with vocalists Supa4 Creation and Chucky Bantan, two of the UK's best sound system vocalists. This live performance was followed by a DJ set by Jerry Dammers, founder of ska band The Specials.
Another theme within the UK programme was electronic music and raves in the late 1980s - early 1990s and two films: “Beats” by Brian Walsh and “Everybody in the Place” by prominent UK contemporary artist Jeremy Deller. “Beats” premiered at Strelka Institute for Media, Design and Architecture with a themed backyard party after the screening. “Everybody in the Place” premiered at Garage Cinema and will be preceded by a public talk by Jeremy Deller.