The Slits to Be Explored in New Documentary
Published May 08, 2015The surviving members of the Slits have been working with a pair of filmmakers to produce a documentary covering their post-punk history. The film goes by the name Here to be Heard: The Story of the Slits, and the project is currently seeking funds through Kickstarter.
The campaign page explains that executive producer Jennifer Shagawat first met the band's Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt in 2006 when she was recruited to be their tour manager. During this time, vocalist Up apparently became "more and more obsessed with documenting the band in hopes that she and Jennifer would be able to release a film documenting their art, spirit, and their struggle." No one in the band knew at the time that Up was suffering from a battle with cancer, which would take her life in 2010.
Shagawat later teamed with director William E. Badgely to produce a film about "a band that was not willing to be contained... not within a gender, not within a musical style, not within a time period or an art form." They've been working on Here to be Heard over the last two years and are currently working on an edit. They're asking for $30,000 US to help secure never-before-seen footage of the band from the '70s and '80s, as well as photo and music rights.
Described as "the first all girl punk band, first wave British punks, and the godmothers of punky reggae," the Slits lengthy career will be the focus of the film. It will start with the band's very early punk days, which quickly led towards the heady, genre-crossing sound that filled the band's debut album, Cut.
"The Slits totally freed themselves from any of the initial punk shackles; they were this avant garde, afro-jazz, punk motherfucking group that no one else could touch," DJ/producer Don Letts says in the trailer, which you can see down below.
The film will bring vintage clips of the band together with new interviews with members including guitarist Viv Albertine, bassist Tessa Pollitt, original drummer and future Raincoats member Palmolive, and onetime skinsman Budgie (Siouxsie and the Banshees). The film also include interviews with Sex Pistols' Paul Cook, Vivienne Westwood, Culture Club's Jeni Cook and Bratmobile's Allison Wolfe, among others.
The Kickstarter campaign has just started, with the project so far having only raised about $150 US of its $30,000 goal. The number has already been rising since the morning, though. Incentives for backers include button sets, signed drum sticks, digital and DVD copies of the film, signed T-shirts, and, for $10,000, an executive producer credit. You'll find the full breakdown over here.
The Slits had issued four full-lengths between the late '70s and 2009, the last of which being that year's Trapped Animal. Up was the only original member throughout their reign, while members of the Pop Group, the Raincoats, Siouxsie and the Banshees and future solo artist Neneh Cherry all passed through the ranks.