Q&A with Marco Collins of SIFF's Face the Music series
With a pedigree that includes stints at Seattle’s KNDD (as Music Director and on-air host), VH1 in New York City, and radio stations in San Francisco and LA, — as well as a rabid interest in film — Marco Collins has the perfect background for programming SIFF’s Face The Music series of documentaries and one special live event. Here he gives us an inside look at how it all comes together:
How did you get involved with SIFF?
I volunteered for SIFF for a couple of seasons before I got involved as a programmer, but I was a voracious fan of the festival and tried to see as many films as I could every year.
What’s involved in programming? Does SIFF get a lot of submissions of music-related films, or do you have to look for them?
We watch hundreds of submitted films, but we do go on the hunt for them as well. Sometimes tracking them down can be tricky; I found myself reaching out to directors, film companies, artist managers, other film festivals and even Facebook fans to try and track down a film. I even reached out to Dave Grohl to see if he was done with his documentary about Sound City (the studio where Nirvana recorded Nevermind). That one is not done yet, btw! I also went to the SXSW Film Festival this year to scout films for our Festival. That was an eye opening experience!
Is there any overriding theme to this year’s Face the Music roster?
No real overriding theme. I think we created a pretty well rounded series this year... From Bad Brains: A Band In DC to Under African Skies (Paul Simon's return to Africa to recreate Graceland) to Welcome To Doe Bay, we cover a lot of ground.
Which of these films are you especially excited to be presenting at SIFF?
I'm particularly excited about Bad Brains, mainly because I grew up with punk rock in the ‘80s and Bad Brains became the soundtrack to my pissed off teenage years. It's a very compelling story whether you like punk rock music or not. The band's singer, H.R., suffers from schizophrenia and the story details a very rocky existence of a band trying to stay together. The Ginger Baker documentary (Beware of Mr. Baker) is another favorite. It won the Grand Jury Award at SXSW. Within the first five minutes of the film, Baker breaks the Director's nose...another story of a very intense life. Under African Skies is an unbelievably powerful film. I definitely shed a few tears during that one.
What can you tell me about Welcome to Doe Bay? (about the Doe Bay Festival on Orcas Island)
Welcome to Doe Bay is amazing. It's gonna reaffirm the Northwest's reputation of musical fertility! I knew about The Doe Bay Festival from seeing Youtube videos of Pickwick performances from last year's festival, but I had no idea that there was such an amazing community of musicians and fans who all shared equal billing in the film. The festival may be small, but after the world gets a glimpse of this film, it's gonna be legendary!
What are some of your favorite music films?
I'm a big fan of Hi-Fidelity, Gimme Shelter, Purple Rain, Once, Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous and my favorite has got to be, This is Spinal Tap! Come on, how can you not love that film? It goes to 11!
Pictured above: Bad Brains