Big Gold Dream
|Big Gold Dream|
|Directed by||Grant McPhee|
|Written by||Angela Slaven|
|Narrated by||Robert Forster (musician)|
|Edited by||Angela Slaven|
|Distributed by||Tartan Features|
Big Gold Dream is a 2015 film documenting the story of Scotland’s post-punk scene, focusing on record labels Fast Product and Postcard Records. Directed by filmmaker Grant McPhee, the film’s name is taken from the 1981 Fire Engines single of the same name, the final release on the Pop Aural label.
The film won the 2015 Edinburgh International Film Festival Audience Award.
Using a combination of interviews, archive material and specially-shot footage, the film traces the development of a post-punk scene in Scotland, tracing its roots in the punk explosion of 1977 and its effect on the Edinburgh music scene, with the emergence of bands such as Scars and The Dirty Reds and the appearance of record label Fast Product, which went on to release records by The Human League, The Mekons and Gang of Four. The film goes on to chart (and contrast) the rise and fall of Glasgow's poppier Postcard Records, home to Orange Juice and east-coast defectors, Josef K.
While primarily regarded as a music documentary, McPhee has stated that he sees Big Gold Dream as a study of creative autonomy and DIY culture:
“Despite its billing, this film is not a history of Scottish punk or independent music. It’s not really even that much about Scotland. It’s about young people taking control and expressing themselves creatively, without seeking permission from anyone in authority first – it just happens that those young people in our films chose post-punk music.”
Big Gold Dream took nine years to produce, with the first interviews filmed in 2006. McPhee attributes this to a dearth of available resources, stating that "in the early days things moved very slowly, equipment and time were expensive so we had to save up for a while to do each interview – and that was frustrating. Even a dozen interviews could take a couple of years." So much footage was captured over this period that a second documentary, Teenage Superstars, followed, following the story of the Scottish music scene from the mid-eighties to early nineties, including interviews with Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake and Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines.
Big Gold Dream premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 19 June 2015, going on to show at Raindance, Belfast Film Festival, Leeds International Film Festival, Doc'n Roll Film Festival and Cambridge Film Festival. It was also included in the schedules of music festivals including The Great Escape, Indiepop NYC and Electric Fields.
Big Gold Dream received a television premiere on BBC Two on 15 April 2016.
The film was roundly well-received, including 8/10 in Uncut, 4* in Mojo, 4* in Record Collector Magazine and 5* in Musikexpress, as well as positive reviews in the Scotsman and Louder than War.
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