WASHINGTON — After several years of production, and 30 years after the events in it happened, local filmmaker Scott Crawford’s documentary about D.C. hardcore punk revolution, “Salad Days,” is ready for harvest.
WTOP has learned the local premiere will be held at the AFI Silver Theatre, in Silver Spring, on Friday, Dec. 19.
Tickets for two shows sold out within hours. A third show for Sunday, Dec. 21 has been added on the AFI Silver website.
“It’s been, what, three or four years in the making,” Crawford tells WTOP.
Crawford and director of photography Jim Saah are showing a 25-minute snippet of “Salad Days: The Birth of Punk in the Nation’s Capital” Saturday evening at the CBGB Music and Film Festival, in New York. But Crawford acknowledges he’s most nervous about the film’s reception from the hometown audience, many of whom were in the audience with him during the 1980s.
“The fact that AFI is in Silver Spring, and I grew up just down the street from it, meant something to me personally,” says Crawford. “I’m proud to have it premiere there, and I’m looking forward to it.”
So are local music fans, many of whom contributed to a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 when Crawford first told WTOP about the project.
Crawford says local reception to a movie about D.C.’s then-fledgling hardcore punk scene was explosive. The Kickstarter campaign raised almost $55,000, with almost 1,000 backers.
Crawford hasn’t calculated how much he and Saah have spent out of their own pockets, “but it wasn’t pennies, that’s for sure.”
Now, Crawford says he’s ready for the film to be seen. Almost.
“If I had it my way I would never stop tweaking it, but I’m learning to let go,” says Crawford, who’s working on last-minute edits before this weekend’s screening in New York.
The dangers of messing with memories
Crawford saw his first D.C. punk rock show in 1984, when he was 12 years old, and quickly started a fanzine called MetroZine, which documented the music and people in the local hardcore scene.
Now, 30 years later, he realizes his documentary may contradict the memories of audience and band members who shared the historic and groundbreaking punk scene. “All I can offer is my take on things in the roads that I went down in terms of the story line.”
Crawford said it would be impossible to capture all of the excitement of those musical and cultural times in a single 100-minute movie.
“I think there could be a dozen of these documentaries and you’d still never get it all right, because there was just so much going on, and it was such a creative time.”
Another film about the early days of D.C. punk — Punk The Capital — is in the editing stage.
Crawford says his experience as a fan and journalist was a benefit as he interviewed the now-much-older musicians and fans of the 1980s scene.
“A lot of the people I spoke with for the film I interviewed for the first time 30 years ago,” says Crawford. “There was somewhat of a personal connection there.”
Crawford says that while documentaries often begin as a factual archive, audience members typically gravitate to some characters and are less sympathetic to others. “There were certainly some twists and turns, and the story went in places I really wasn’t expecting it to take me.”
Watch the official trailer for “Salad Days.”
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