Positive Force: More Than a Witness
Director: Robin Bell Run Time: 69 min. Format: DCP Rating: NR Release Year: 2015
Starring: Allison Wolfe, Dave Grohl, Ian MacKaye, Jello Biafra, Jenny Toomey, Kathleen Hanna, Kevin Seconds, Mark Andersen, Ted Leo
MUSIC DRIVEN looks at 25 years of punk politics in action with the documentary, POSITIVE FORCE: MORE THAN A WITNESS. Q&A with director Robin Bell, musicians Sohrab Habibion & Johnny Temple, and photographer Glen E. Friedman.
Punk activist collective Positive Force DC emerged in 1985, rising from the creative, politically-charged ferment of DC punk’s Revolution Summer. Born in a dynamic local scene sparked by Bad Brains, Minor Threat, and Rites of Spring, a handful of young activists also drew inspiration from UK anarcho-punks Crass and the original “Positive Force” band Seven Seconds to become one of the most long-lasting and influential exponents of punk politics.
This feature-length film by Robin Bell skillfully mixes rare archival footage (including electrifying live performances from Fugazi, Bikini Kill, Rites of Spring, Nation of Ulysses, Anti-Flag, and more) with new interviews of key PF activists including co-founder Mark Andersen (co-author of Dance of Days) and Jenny Toomey (Simple Machines, Tsunami) as well as supporters such as Ian MacKaye, Jello Biafra, Dave Grohl, Ted Leo, Riot Grrrl co-founders Allison Wolfe and Kathleen Hanna, and many more. Covering a span of 30 years, More Than a Witness documents PF’s Reagan-era origins, the creation of its communal house, FBI harassment, and the rise of a vibrant underground that burst into the mainstream amid controversy over both the means and the ends of the movement.