by Lynette Washington.
Sofie Kim from SUB[terranean]musicfilms is bringing more indie music films to the Adelaide Fringe this year. Last year SUB[terranean] was all about music films from Korea, so we speak with Sofie ask which countries the movies are from this year.
“Well, there’s Korea again, but this year I’ve also included Denmark, Australia, and there are two short films which are highlight clips of festivals in Denmark at Roskilde and France at Transmusicales.”
Why did you choose those short films?
“I’ve been to those festivals and I really love them. They remind me of festivals here. What the Big Day Out used to be: across so many genres but they are all indie, alternative, not mainstream. Electronic, pop and folk and rock. Old and new.”
And what can you tell us about the feature films?
“The Australian film is Persecution Blues: Battle of the Tote, which is all about how SLAM (Save Live Australian Music) protested the changing licensing laws that were going to destroy live music in Australia. The Tote is a live music venue in Melbourne and when they changed the liquor licensing laws the smaller venues where up and coming or independent musicians earned their bread and butter were being destroyed. It affected the whole grassroots scene, and without that, as a musician, how do you hone your skills?
“It was amazing how all these musicians marched together and made positive change within parliament. At the forefront was Paul Dempsey from Something For Kate, Paul Kelly, I think Dan Sultan was there, and Claire Bowditch. But there were also lots of lesser known musicians who were equally as important to the movement.”
And what can you tell us about the Danish film?
“That’s about an electronic artist called Mø. She’s quite an established artist in Europe and she did come here, but no one’s really heard of her! She’s really cool and the film is called Nyt Blod Mø (New Blood Mø) and it’s in English and Danish, with subtitles.”
You also said there was a film from Korea?
“There is. It’s called Us and Them: Korean Indie Music in a KPop World and it’s all about Korean indie versus KPop, and how the two can co-exist. It also shows how, with KPop taking off, it’s kind of misrepresenting the whole idea of the Korean music scene. There is this really exciting, bustling underground music scene which is all about rock and punk.”
Will there be any other films?
“There’s one more! Back by popular demand there’s Galaxy Express: Turn it Up to Eleven! That’s a very funny one, sort of in the style of Spinal Tap. Very silly, very funny! It’s all about a Korean rock band’s tour of the US. We showed it last year and people wanted it again!”
You seem to be drawn to films that tell an underground story – the subversive rock‘n’roll stories that go under the mainstream pop star radar. What is it about these films that you like?
“I like that genre! But it’s also a chance for these sorts of films to be seen. There are lots of great music docos that get cinema release, like the recent Nick Cave film. The sort of films I show don’t get cinema release so they don’t get the chance to be seen and heard and they’re great films! I hope that watching them people will become fans of these musicians too.”
The SUB[terranean] concept seems quite unique. Is anyone else doing this anywhere in the world? Where did the idea come from?
“The idea came when I was at WOMAD. I saw this band called Dengue Fever – a Cambodian singer mixing traditional Cambodian sounds with other sounds. Then their documentary was shown in the movie tent and it was so interesting. The band came and sat there and watched and it was really cool.
“Last year I showed films in Seoul. There was an Australian singer who came and sang a few songs. I hope that when I come back to Adelaide next year I can bring some bands with me and make it a film/live music event like at WOMAD.”
Now, I’ve heard there will be door prizes. What can you tell us about that?
“It’s free entry and if you give a gold coin donation you can win lots of prizes! We have a signed copy of the short story collection Breaking Beauty, we have tickets to RockWiz in Melbourne (you have to get yourself to Melbourne!). We’ve also got a signed Essendon jersey courtesy of Kia, and then we have a double pass to a mystery show at OzAsia. And there will be more! That’s just the start!”
And I’ve heard you are also supporting a charity?
Every year I like to support a local charity. Last year I supported Welcome to Australia, and this year it’s Save Live Australian Music (SLAM). The spirit of SLAM is all about supporting positive change and artists and I think it’s important to do that. I like to support local creative industries.”
You are in a different venue this year – The Jade Monkey. How does it work?
“Doors open at 9pm and films start at 9.30pm and run through to the early morning. It’s very casual and you can come and go, sit inside and outside, so if the weather’s bad, still come along! And if you are seeing another show at the Fringe or Festival, come by at midnight or any time and drop in because it’s all free!”
What is your next project?
“I’m working on taking the show to the Avignon Fringe in France, that’s the first stop. Then the Stockholm Fringe. And when I take it to Europe I want to focus on Australian films. Because Australia’s so multicultural, having films from Denmark or France or Korea, it all fits. But when I take them to Europe, I’d like to showcase the great talent we have here. And maybe an Australian performer will come along! I’ll definitely take Persecution Blues and probably Murundak: Songs of Freedom which is based around the Black Arm Band and Indigenous protest music. I’ll also take my favourite, Rudely Interrupted.”
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
“Well, even if you can’t come to the show, just check out the Facebook page SUBmusicfilms and hopefully you will become a fan of one of the bands!”
Sofie Kim presents SUB[terranean]musicfilms at The Jade Monkey from 9pm on Fri Mar 6.