‘White Riot’ documentary chronicles ’70s UK’s “Rock Against Racism” movement (watch the trailer)
New documentary White Riot chronicles the late '70s UK "Rock Against Racism" movement, where punk, pop, ska and reggae fought back against racist organizations like The National Front and controversial "Sus" laws. The centerpiece of the film is RAR's April 1978 march from Trafalgar Square to Victoria Park, featuring over 100,000 protesters, which concluded with an outdoor show featuring The Clash, Steel Pulse, Tom Robinson Band, X-Ray Spex, Sham 69's Jimmy Pursey and Patrik Fitzgerald.
White Riot, which won Best Documentary at the 2019 London Film Festival, features new interviews with Rock Against Racism founder Red Saunders, Clash drummer Topper Headon, reggae great and producer Dennis Bovell, The Selecter's Pauline Black, and others, plus tons of archival footage and interviews.
The film's out October 16 via Virtual Cinema which allows you to help out a local independent theater that is struggling during the pandemic, and distributors Film Movement have partnered with voter awareness organization HeadCount to allow you to watch Headcount shorts along with the documentary.
You can watch the trailer and read the official synopsis below:
Britain, late-1970s. Punk is exploding. The country is deeply divided over immigration. The National Front, a far-right and fascist political party, is gaining strength as politicians like Enoch Powell push a xenophobic agenda. Outraged by a racist speech from Eric Clapton, music photographer Red Saunders writes a letter to the music press, calling for rock to be a force against racism. NME, Melody Maker, and Sounds all publish the letter. Flooded with responses, Red discovers many share his views. Teaming up with like-minded creatives Roger Huddle, Kate Webb, Syd Shelton and Australian graphic designer Ruth Gregory, the team bands together to create Rock Against Racism (RAR) and a fanzine, Temporary Hoarding. Speaking directly to the youth, Temporary Hoarding reports stories and issues that the mainstream British media ignores, like immigration, the Catholic side of the Northern Ireland conflict, and the police’s controversial “suspected persons” (sus) powers. They give a voice to the voiceless. The National Front begins to strike back, committing acts of violence against RAR supporters and petrol-bombing their HQ. Despite this, RAR spreads virally across the UK and into Europe, becoming a grassroots youth movement. The Clash, Steel Pulse, Tom Robinson and other top bands of the day jump on board. White Riot is a moment in time when music changed the world. When a generation challenged the status quo. It’s Woodstock meets the March on Washington, punk-style.