Stand By For Failure is a new documentary about cut-and-paste sonic social critics / sound collagists / pranksters Negativland, who have held a mirror up to media and culture and defied copyright laws from the fringes for the last 40+ years, except for a brief time in the early '90s when they gained national attention after getting in a little hot water (perhaps intentionally) with Island Records and American Top 40 host Casey Kasem over their "U2" single. Here's the documentary synopsis:

Since 1959 at the age of five, David "The Weatherman" Wills has been recording and reporting on his life, self, and anything he likes (such as the weather, toilets flushing, and intercepted cell phone conversations) and broadcasting it to anyone interested. Together with childhood friends Richard Lyons and Mark Hosler they formed Negativland, which quickly became an absurd and noisy multimedia world without boundaries, ownership or privacy. Negativland's complex chaos of plunderphonics poses both serious and silly questions about the nature of sound, media, technology, control, propaganda, power and perception in the United States of America. Is what you're hearing true or simply familiar? It's media about media about media. As we are massaged into the singularity, the medium reveals that any message is all in our heads.

You can watch the trailer for Stand By For Failure, which feels like an actual Negativland creation, below.

The film is screening around the US in February, including SF Indiefest (February 2-12), where you can screen the film online. It's also screening in Brooklyn at Nitehawk Williamsburg on February 14, with a Q&A with director Ryan Worsley and Negativland's Mark Hosler, moderated by Mike Sacks (Vanity Fair). That's part of the BrooklynVegan-presented Music Driven series.

There are also Stand By for Failure screenings in Salt Lake City and Madison, WI. All dates are listed below.

stand by for failure a documentary about negativland

Stand By For Failure: A Negativland Documentary - 2023 Screenings
February 2 - 12 | Online | SF IndieFest | Q&A to follow
February 6 | 6:30 pm | San Francisco | Roxie Theater | Q&A to follow
February 14 | Brooklyn | Nitehawk Williamsburg | Q&A to follow
February 23 | Madison | Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
February 24 | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake Community College
April 28 | Perth | Perth Backlot

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