Morven Masterton on Doc'n Roll: 'We don't discriminate, our festival line-ups always feature something for everyone'

Morven Masterton on Doc'n Roll: 'We don't discriminate, our festival line-ups always feature something for everyone'

Keith Mansfield Orchestra in The Library Music

Doc'n Roll Scotland director tells us more about this year's programme of music films

Describing itself as 'the film festival for music lovers', Doc'n Roll began five years ago in East London, in response to the founders identifying a lack of outlets for documentary films being made about music and musicians, with very few of them actually arriving in cinemas. Now, after touring dates around the UK, it's finally arriving in Scotland for three weekends of screenings over the next three months.

'Doc'n Roll is an indie film festival celebrating an eclectic mix of music and performers in a selection of newly-released documentaries from across the globe,' explains Morven Masterton, director of Doc'n Roll Scotland, who is originally from Dunfermline, but became involved with Doc'n Roll while living in London. 'We don't discriminate, our festival line-ups always feature something for everyone, from the established to the obscure. Doing this has been a musical education for me – I've learned about library music, Doom metal, and Ethiopian jazz as a result of Doc'n Roll.

'Almost everything we programme is a premier,' she continues. 'We try to screen films that haven't been shown in the city before, unless it's so popular we need to organise a second screening. In Edinburgh we have a programme of six films; my personal favourite is Shut Up and Play the Piano (Phillipp Jedicke, 2018), I'm slightly in awe of the talent of Chilly Gonzalez and this film is as wonderfully eccentric and interesting as the man himself. I'm also currently working on a surprise element for the screening of How We Got Over (Robert Clem, 2017; about the rise of gospel choirs after the Second World War), if you like a bit of gospel get along to that late on Saturday afternoon. For the purist collectors, the sorts that spend an afternoon in Vox Box, the opening night doc is The Library Music Film (Paul Elliott and Sean Lamberth, 2018).'

Morven Masterton on Doc'n Roll: 'We don't discriminate, our festival line-ups always feature something for everyone'

Stories from the She Punks

One particularly special event will see musicians-turned-directors Gina Birch of The Raincoats and Helen Reddington of The Chefs attending the screening of their film about women in punk, Stories from the She Punks (2018), for a Q&A, while the programme also includes Pure Love: The Voice of Ella Fitzgerald (Katja Duregger, 2017) and It Must Schwing: The Blue Note Story (Eric Friedler, 2018). Three weeks later, Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records (Nicolas Jack Davies, 2018) and About a Badly Drawn Boy (The Mitcham Submarine, 2018) arrive in Dundee for Doc'n Roll Scotland's second leg.

'We're unique, there are no other UK-wide film festivals that focus exclusively on music, and we've worked hard to become specialists in what we do,' says Masterton. 'We've just helped establish the Music Film Festival Network in Europe, alongside other festivals based in Paris, Berlin and Turin, and what's so great is that each festival is completely different. The most important thing is that our festival-goers have a great experience. We want them to come along, get a flavour of what we're about, and then come back again to try something else, to take a risk.

'The longer-term plan is to run the festival (in Scotland) on an annual basis, and I aim to organise special screenings and events in the meantime. Our annual festival in London shows in the region of twenty-five films and one day I'd like an equivalent Scottish programme. As we become more established, I hope we can work with local partners to extend the festival with live music and other related talks and screenings, and the more people respond to it positively, the more I can develop it further.'

Doc 'n' Roll Scotland, Cameo, Edinburgh, Thu 25–Sat 28 Apr; DCA, Dundee, Fri 17 & Sat 18 May; date and venue tbc, Glasgow, Jun.

Doc'n Roll Scotland

The UK's music documentary festival funded by the BFI. The festival was brand new to Scotland last year and returns in 2019 to showcase compelling music films from all genres.

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