The following is an extract from my Film & Festivals Magazine coverage of the British Federation of Film Societies' annual conference for community cinemas. You can read the whole coverage when it is published on their website or in the next issue, but I thought it important to get down what I have to say about this sublime film whilst its admirable IndieGoGo campaign is still live.
Sound it Out was the first film of the weekend I managed to see. What an appropriate film it is for a weekend dedicated to independent enterprise; to doing something that you are really passionate about, for that very sake, making it financially viable and then infecting others with your passion.
Written and directed by Jeanie Finlay, the documentary traces the daily life of an independent record store in Stockton called Sound it Out Records; the last record store on Teesside. As well as seeing life within the store from the perspective of the proprietors Tom and David, Finlay’s camera also enters the households and record collections of numerous faithful patrons of the shop. From the Mákina (sort of happy hardcore sounding) DJ and MC, to the metal loving duo sporting their war jackets full of badges (nice to hear the reggae-metal act Skindred get a mention and a bit of air time). The most interesting and likeable character in the film is Shane, who has a surely unrivalled love for Status Quo and wishes to be buried with his vinyl – literally to have his vinyl melted down and turned into a coffin. Amongst these were various other characters, all of whom were genuine people, perfectly contented in their enduring and infectious passion for both music and collecting.
It would have been all too simple to play the moral-but-doomed crusade card, easily instilling the viewer with an emptiness, as they feel the inevitability of this shop's demise. Yet although this obvious subject is broached, the film far from does this. In a much more admirable move, it successfully conveys the strength of independent retail. For instance, David had previously worked at Zavvi, which was ruthlessly abandoned by neoliberal conglomerate capitalism, whereas Sound it Out Records is clearly still standing, and is thus a perfect example of how social capitalism (free market principles, minus the unnecessary greed) can work. This seemed an apt comparison to the passion in community cinema, and the likelihood that these hubs of dedication will survive much longer than the current soullessness of the multiplex.
The film’s production in the first place is a success story for independence, having raised the majority of its budget via crowd sourcing specialists IndieGoGo. The next step is to continue this process by raising money for the distribution side. If you’ve liked what you have read here, and want to ensure it plays near you, then click here to go and donate to their campaign
Also, don't forget to check it out when it plays at Leeds International Film Festival next month.