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Marissa Cetin
19 September 2023, 13:27

New ‘90s free party movement documentary to premiere at Doc'n Roll film festival next month

Documentaries on Tony de Vit, Pauline Oliveros and TLC will also be screened

New ‘90s free party movement documentary to premiere at Doc'n Roll film festival next month
Credit: Michelle Miles, Free Party: A Folk History

A slate of music documentaries, including ones about the late 1980s and early '90s free party movement and late hard house pioneer DJ Tony de Vit, are set to premiere at the UK-wide Doc n Roll film festival next month.

Running from 26th October through 12th November, Doc'n Roll will present 25 music film premieres over 50 events with Q&As, talks and afterparties based in London at venues including the Barbican, Rich Mix, The Castle Cinema, Finsbury Park and Hackney Picturehouse, ​​Ritzy Brixton and more. There'll also be satellite screenings in cities like Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester and more.  

The Doc'n Roll film festival shortlist for the Best Doc Award, judged by a panel featuring filmmaker Alfred George Bailey and BBC 6 Music's Deb Grant, includes Free Party: A Folk History, directed by Aaron Trinder. It follows the iconic UK free party movement, birthed as Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher's time in office wound down, and culminated in the infamous 1992 Castlemorton free festival that led to the restrictive Criminal Justice Act in 1994. Matt Kay's TLC Forever feature and Daniel Zarvos and Liliane Mutti's Miúcha: The Voice of Bossa Nova are also in consideration.

Elsewhere on the programme is Don't Ever Stop: Tony de Vit, directed by Stuart Pollitt. It tracks how late working-class gay DJ Tony de Vit developed the genre of hard house in '90s London and popularised it at famed club Trade, as well as his professional and personal connections with Robert "Fergie" Ferguson and Andi Buckley. A film centred on experimental American composer titled 'Deep Listening', directed by Daniel Weintraub, exploring the meditativeness of her art and "sound environment". Additional features focus on artists like Cyndi Lauper, The Zombies, Marc Rebillet, Nicky Hopkins and more.

Find the complete Doc'n Roll programme, screening schedule and more information on the selected films here

Earlier this summer, Doc'n Roll debuted director Alessandro Ugo's documentary F[R]EE – Behind The Scenes of the Free Party Movement about the European and UK techno counter-culture of the '90s. Tidy Trax also commemorated the 25th anniversary of Tony de Vit's death with a remix compilation featuring Nicole Moudaber, Patrick Topping and Eats Everything.

In September 2022, Tony de Vit was honoured with an English heritage blue plaque at the site of his frequent Birmingham recording studio Custard Factory. 

Harold Heath spoke to the cofounder of free party trailblazers DiY Sound System Harry Harrison about their revolutionary mark on UK history.  Revisit the interview here, and read an excerpt from Harrison's book Dreaming In Yellow. 

See photos from 1990 through 2004 capturing the euphoria of the free party movement. 

Watch the trailers for Free Party: A Folk History and Don't Ever Stop: Tony de Vit.