One day while updating the friend requests on the Seventh Dagger myspace I was pleasantly surprised to get a request from the myspace page promoting EDGE THE MOVIE. I immediately went to the page to watch the trailer and was completely stoked on what I saw. So I wrote Marc and Michi and asked if they would mind doing an interview about their movie. Below is the conversation that transpired.
Name, age, where do you guys call home?
Marc, 31, living in Münster, Germany.
Michi, 30, relocating somewhere in Germany right now.
What is it that made you take on the task of making a documentary about straightedge?
Michi: The initial idea for my diploma thesis was to do some research on the core values of Straight Edge, the reasons why people decided to live a drug free life and if there are any commonalities or regularities. But unfortunately I could not convince my professor with my idea... so I ended up writing an analysis of Marxist Development Studies, which was a good decision after all. What fascinates me about Straight Edge is that there are so many different people with different lives and backgrounds but all identify and gather under the 'label' of Straight Edge. The other thing that kept my interest is that there is somehow a certain conservative element of not drinking, not using drugs or having promiscuous sex that weaved it's way into the principles of Straight Edge - and I guess every mother would love if her daughter or son followed those ideas. But on the other hand Straight Edge is Punk, the rebellion against society and (hopefully) most of the times connected to radical politics. Not to mention that a lot of people would characterize the music taste and the entire habitus as extreme...
Marc: I was involved in shooting a short documentary a few years ago and because Michi and I are really good friends we exchanged experiences and ideas about our current projects back then, so the idea came up to do a sociological view on Straight Edge in form of a documentary in the U.S. There are already some good books about Straight Edge, but no one had ever made a balanced documentary, so why not make one? The whole project took us about 3 years until now. We shoot it two years ago in 2007 and the process of editing took us almost two years, since we did this completely as a side project.
I saw you have interviews with Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi), Ray Cappo (Youth of Today/Shelter) and Karl Buechner (Earth Crisis) can you tell us who else you interviewed? How was interviewing all these people?
Marc: We interviewed 12 people all together, but we wanted to have musicians as well as people like you and me, so that if you watch it and you don't know anything about Straight Edge, you realize that being drug free is the most normal thing for these people. We chose Ian, Ray and Karl to talk about the certain era's of Straight Edge, and to get a little historical background. It was fun to talk to all of them, although it was not that easy to convince Ian and Ray to do the interviews at first. I think Ian is really cautious with everything regarding Straight Edge, since this all started from a song he wrote. But I'm glad that we have his views in the film. Hearing what he had to say made me understand Straight Edge much better.
Tell us how you approached documenting a realistic portrayal of straightedge?
Michi: We planned to shoot the Edge Day show in 2007 in Massachusetts, and we were quite surprised to find a team of National Geographic there, doing the same - obviously with a huge crew and massive equipment. In the end we saw, in my opinion, a very biased view on Straight Edge, dominated solely by the violence and militancy that has been reported on extensively by network news media in the past years.Our documentary is 'a little' different from the previous ones - we don't have a narrator because we want the viewer to draw his or her own picture from the statements given. We used structured in-depth interviews to get really close to each persons opinions, ideas and thoughts. The result is a balanced view, you hear about the positive and the negative aspects of Straight Edge. I think unfortunately no one can deny that besides all those wonderful ideas that help people to stay away from drugs and lead a positive, conscious, active and healthier lifestyle, there are problems in the scene, e.g. homophobia, violence and machismo.
How hard was it lining up the U.S. and Canada screenings and what should people expect when they attend these?
Marc: It meant writing lots and lots of emails. It sure is a little difficult to plan a tour from another continent, but we lined up some really cool screening locations, like libraries, churches, cafes, basements, a bike repair place and of course some really nice old movie theatres.People can except to see an interesting movie about different people that are all connected through the idea of Straight Edge. The viewer will find out why they decided to live a 'clean' lifestyle and how this influences their everyday life. If there is time we'll have a Q&A session afterwards. In Chicago we'll do that together with Brian Peterson, the author of the Burning Fight book. I think that should be really interesting and in Indianapolis EDGE will be a screened after the Bane and Foundation show. Oh, and for the Seattle screening we can offer free popcorn! Just thought that might be worth mentioning.
You were accepted in two different film festivals that's really exciting can you tell us a little about those?
Michi: The Radar International Film Festival in Hamburg, Germany takes place in St. Pauli, the alternative district of Hamburg. It has a massive line up of films from around the world and we are very happy to screen our documentary there. The Mission Underground Film Festival in San Francisco is a smaller festival with a focus on independent cinema.
What do you hope people get out of watching your film?
Marc: All the Straight kids should get some very interesting insights into others peoples reasons for being Straight Edge; everyone else will see that Straight Edge is everything else but a gang. All the people we've talked to for the movie explained how their decision to live 'poison free' has changed their lives. A lot of them have either struggled with addiction themselves, or have seen the lives of friends or relatives being destroyed by it. And at the same time drugs are so accepted and glorified in society that it's still frowned upon to oppose drugs. So that becomes clear in our film, and hopefully will make others think about it.
Any final words or thoughts, things we missed?
Michi: The EDGE World Premiere is on October 3rd in New York, a few tickets are still available. For a complete list of screenings dates check out our website: http://www.edgethemovie.com/ The DVD with lots of extras, e.g. deleted scenes, an audio commentary by the directors, a making of etc., will be released in early 2010 - so stay tuned!
CHECK OUT THE TRAILER HERE: