We're delighted with the press we received for Teenage Superstars appearing at this years EIFF
Here's a selection from around the world.
And here's the director, Grant McPhee's full interview with The Skinny for Teenage Superstars
Big Golden Dream went down a storm a few years ago at EIFF – what can audiences expect this time around from Teenage Superstars?
Much of the pleasure of Big Golden Dream came from the great interviews and stories you pulled together. Who features in this new film?
What’s your approach to getting people to open up?
I believe Big Golden Dream was ten years in the making. How did you manage to turn Teenage Superstars around in just two years?
Do you plan continuing the story of the Scottish music scene into the mid-90s?
You also make narrative features – do you find documentary filmmaking to be as creatively satisfying?
1. The same but different. They are sister films, and as a good majority of both were filmed at the same time there inevitably are similarities. Although I've said TS is a sequel they are really intended to be two stand alone films that just happen to form a continuous timeline, aremabout similar music and set in the same country. BGD was about a group of people taking on an industry and trying to break in. TS is about a group of people ideologically opposed to a system and making their own alternative one. They could easily have been set in two completely different cities or countries, it just happens to be Scotland. You can view them both as having a kind of anti-establishment flag waving message, or you can equally view them as two films which are full of great characters, anecdotes and fantastic music. Or ideally both.
2. Boring people generally don't make great music and that's pretty clear in this film. Musicians are not regular 9-5 folk so before music is even mentioned we have an amazing cast of differing personalities and characters. Part of what interests us is the differing personalities involved and what drives them to live and work outside of the mainstream. We try and find a good balance of musicianly detail and a little insight into who these people are without it turning into The Fog of War. Because really it's the people we're interested in. I think a lot of 'indie' documentaries are very po-faced and worthy, even some of the music is but that's not what everyone behind the music is like and that's what we wanted to show.
3. I think many of those whom we interviewed responded to how enthusiastic we were. There was a genuine interest from us and I think people responded to that. Also, the questions were very much about the music and the creative process rather than airing dirty washing or grievances. It's very hard for someone you've never met to allow you to ask them questions about their past so we'd usually talk about similar interests for a while which would open things up a little and put them at ease. After Big Gold Dream came out I think people were more comfortable with what we were doing and that really helped. Sometimes it just took a while to build up a relationship.
4. Teenage Superstars was probably about 4 years in the making. The final version of Big Gold Dream was around 5, there was just a very slow and difficult period from the start which is why it took so long. One of the reasons why it took less time was access to cheaper equipment which meant we didn't have to save up for so long. With a small team and less resources it's very difficult to organise the less creative parts of filmmaking – which is the more legal side of things. But we've had great support from a lot of good people, who we just could not have made the films without. Having a really great social media support has been essential – access to archive and people support has really what's kept us going.
5. There is a very, very rough framework for a third film and a few interviews have been conducted. Unless there's some funding it probably won't go further however. I think this part of youth culture is incredibly important to document but the hard reality is that doing these films outside of an established system is incredibly demanding in many ways. The end results seem simple but a tremendous amount of time and work – from a lot of people has to go in to them. I do feel very duty bound to make people aware of individuals and bands who seem to have been unfairly ignored by the mainstream; creative people who really deserve to be recognised for what they have contributed to a culture - and there are many in the mid 90s scene who deserve to be known better. So who knows.
6. Haha, I'm sure some people would say the documentaries are very creative....with the truth. They can be creatively satisfying in different ways to a drama though. At their heart both films (BGD and TS) are about creativity. Feature Documentaries are probably more popular now than they have ever been and I think there's a danger for non fiction filmmakers of forgetting what it is they are documenting and who their audience is. Our audience is music fans and musicians so there's no need to try and show off any fancy filmmaking skills on our part. The creativity is in the subject and it would be unfair of my to try and push me in there. All that's of importance is for the story to be told well, simply and concisely. With such a large cast the best way is to have everyone sit down and tell their own story. There's no reason for long contemplative shots of someone looking over photos of their youth, or someone's daughter's journey through finding their dad's old record in the attic. The subjects are the creative one's and that's what we want to show.