After TIFF tiff, local punk music doc heads to small screen

A filmmaker’s love letter to the Vancouver punk scene screens on KNOW Tuesday night

Bloodied But Unbowed, the edgy documentary of the glory days of Vancouver’s punk-era music and art scene, screens in a shortened 55-minute cut on KNOW-TV (cable channel 5) Tuesday evening at 10pm. We wrote about filmmaker Susanne Tabata’s hard core opus in an exclusive preview profile here on last April, just days before it’s universal premiere at the DOXA festival. In that post we described Tabata’s struggles in dealing with broadcasters and other agencies in her attempts to get BBU funded and released.

Thankfully BC’s Knowledge Network had the good sense to get behind this project, which thanks to the web & Facebook has spawned a rich archive of Vancouver music, film, TV and art from that exciting 1978-1983 period. Today on Facebook someone posted a video for I Can’t Wait by The Gina Show, a so-called f*** band made up of musicians from more established acts. The video is DIY at its best, and the scenes of Vancouver downtown circa 1980 are worth watching it alone. See which places you can recognize!

The documentary’s website has a "webisode" section with a ton of old video clips from innovative cable programs like Nite Dreems and Soundproof, which kept wayward teens in watching TV on Friday nights instead of sitting in a ditch smoking skunk weed (they did that on Saturday instead). BBU just got noticed in Georgia Straight‘s Best of Vancouver under the category Best Old-School Tribute.

While it’s great that Susanne was able to get BBU made and onto the big screen, the tube and soon on disc, it seems the gatekeepers of Canadian culture still don’t get what constitutes good content. Tabata’s documentary was turned down by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) because it was deemed by programmer Martin Bilodeau as being "too local".

Yes, you read that correctly. TIFF is the biggest film festival in North America, and among the largest venues for new and emerging talent on the planet. This is something we should be proud of. So why it would pass on an energetic, original and fun film like Bloodied But Unbowed is not clear.

It may be too local for TIFF, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying it on KNOW TV tomorrow night, or picking up the DVD release in the months ahead. Check out for any updates, and sign up for their Facebook page or Tweets.

– post by Mike

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