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L7: Pretend We're Dead: The story of the fierce, funny and feminist pioneers of American grunge punk
L7: Pretend We're Dead: The story of the fierce, funny and feminist pioneers of American grunge punk
1,463 backers pledged $130,480 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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THE FILM

Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker, Sarah Price (American Movie, The Yes Men, Summercamp), L7: Pretend We're Dead takes us on an all-access journey into the 1990’s grunge movement that took the world by storm, and the band that helped define it as the genre of a generation.

Culled from over 100 hours of vintage home movies taken by the band, never-before-seen performance footage, and candid interviews, L7: Pretend We're Dead is an engrossing time capsule told from the perspective of L7, these true insiders who brought their signature blend of grunge punk to the masses!

Chronicling the early days of the band's formation in 1985 to their height as the 'queens of grunge,' the film takes a roller coaster ride through L7’s triumphs and failures, providing never-before-discussed insight into the band's eventual dissolution in 2001.

L7: Pretend We're Dead has unwittingly become the catalyst for a recently announced reunion of the band, becoming perhaps the silver lining in this rags-to-never-quite-riches story.

Dee, Donita, Suzi, Jennifer
Dee, Donita, Suzi, Jennifer

The Story

Formed by Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner-guitars/vocals, the band completed their lineup with the addition of Jennifer Finch on bass/vocals and Dee Plakas on drums.

To highlight the fact that L7 was an all-female group, however, was to miss the point. “Our fans couldn’t give a shit if we’re women,” Sparks says. "We did not set out to be an all-girl band. It just happened that way."

No matter, the formula— one part Donita’s love of pop and punk, one part Suzi’s hard rock and blues, and charged lyrics that had political bite and humor— proved enough for the disenfranchised, the marginalized...the punk.

"I like their rebelliousness," said Joey Ramone, “it's about being liberated and calling the shots... I definitely see a lot of us in them and we’re proud of that."

Donita Sparks with Flying V
Donita Sparks with Flying V

"We're livin' large in our own little way. We're livin large and we don't get paid" -Livin Large, Slap Happy (1999)

That the "gender issue” would return time and again for the band becomes a recurring theme in L7: Pretend We're Dead: from shock jocks refusing to play “chick rock” to academics accusing the band of "incorrectly" embracing their feminism to members of the press implying the band was merely riding a wave of "grrl power" trendiness.

Silver Hands Logo
Silver Hands Logo
Smell the Magic T-Shirt
Smell the Magic T-Shirt

Despite these obstacles, the band carried on with a style and authenticity hard to deny and uniquely their own. "How anyone can accuse them of riding a bandwagon is beyond me," writes the Dean of American Rock Critics, Robert Christgau. "Songs like "Wargasm," "Diet Pill," and "Shitlist" fulfill the ancient prophecy of a time when gurls would reinvent punk out of sheer delight in their own power."

L7 would go on to use this power by partnering with the Feminist Majority Foundation to form Rock For Choice, a nonprofit organization raising awareness and much-needed funding for women's reproductive rights issues. Often hosted by L7, each Rock For Choice concert featured the biggest acts of the day, from Nirvana and Joan Jett to Pearl Jam and Rage Against The Machine.

Reward Tier Hollywood Palladium 1992 Vinyl
Reward Tier Hollywood Palladium 1992 Vinyl

L7: Pretend We're Dead shows the thread of influence the band had not only on rock and roll but on future generations of women everywhere and is, at the end, a testament to the pioneering spirit of a band that refuses to take anything lying down.

"They can't hear a word we said, when we pretend that we're dead"

-Pretend We're Dead, Bricks Are Heavy (1992)

Discarded Test Polaroid Book
Discarded Test Polaroid Book
Jennifer Finch
Jennifer Finch

THE TEAM

Robert Fagan (Producer) is an award winning producer that has produced five feature-length films to date including the critically acclaimed "The Life of Reilly" ( starring Charles Nelson Reilly), and the cult hit comedy "Dummy" (starring Adrien Brody, Milla Jovovich), a film Richard Roeper calls, "the best ventriloquist -stalker -family-drama -romantic -comedy I've seen in, well maybe forever." Two Thumbs Up. As a founding member of 42 Entertainment, Robert has also worked on some of the most heralded trans-media projects ever. He is an active member of the Producer's Guild of America where he serves on the Mentor Committee and is a featured speaker at Universities and guest panels.

María Aceves (Producer) a native of Bilbao, Spain, is an accomplished multi-lingual producer showing versatility and skill in delivering high profile commercials, multi-platform campaigns and live events for Fortune 500 companies including Live Nation, Ford,  7UP, Orange Cellular, T-Mobile, Comcast, and Toyota, to name a few. As a founding partner of LA Panda, a production company begun with a collective of like minded Spanish filmmakers now living in Hollywood- whose mission is to bridge the gap between the Latin American, European and U.S. film industries- she has seen recent success with the  2014 SXSW award winning feature 10,000KM. A trained musician, Maria also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration & Management and a Masters in International Finance from Universidad del País Vasco. 

Sarah Price (Director): Sarah is a director and producer, known for the feature documentaries American Movie (1999), The Yes Men (2003), and Summercamp! (2006). Price was also a cinematographer on The Yes Men Fix The World (2009), and a Co-Producer of Youssou N'dour: I Bring What I Love (2008), about the Grammy award-winning African singer. Having played drums and guitar herself in various indie bands for over 10 years, Price brings unique insight to the L7 film.

JoLynn Garnes (Editor): JoLynn edited the acclaimed feature documentaries The Fearless Freaks (about the band The Flaming Lips), All Dolled Up: A New York Dolls Story, and Summercamp!. In addition, she has edited national commercials and music videos for artists including Prince, Low, Poliça, Liz Phair, The Flaming Lips, and Bon Iver. Garnes also provided the background visuals for Beyoncé's 2007 world tour, The Beyoncé Experience.

THE FUNDS

Since 2013, the filmmakers have spent hundreds of hours digitizing, reviewing, assembling and editing material sourced from numerous origins including VHS, Hi-8, YouTube, Super 8 and TV footage.

It was very important to us and to the band that before we brought this project to you backers, we knew that we had a special film on our hands. 

These funds will now allow us to complete the final production process including some key interviews, the licensing of broadcast footage, final editorial, sound mix, sound design and artwork. 

We can't wait to share it with you.

THANK YOU for Being a Part of the L7 Story!

Photo by Michael Lavine
Photo by Michael Lavine

Risks and challenges

Being dedicated, arduous and experienced filmmakers, we have brought to Kickstarter a product we know will complete, will ship and will be seen by fans new and old.
sincerely,
BHC

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    BACKERS ONLY UPDATES and exclusive “in the making” footage sent to you digitally. Be a part of the film making process in real time!

    Plus a THANK YOU on the film’s website

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    BACKERS DIGITAL PDF of a large and mind blowing L7 ephemera collection including
    handwritten lyrics, diary entries, tour photos, flyers, and weird artifacts. A must have for an L7 lover.


    PLUS UPDATES and a THANK YOU on the film’s website

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    DELUXE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
    Digital Download of the film L7: Pretend We’re Dead

    PLUS a Digital Download of L7 live at the Hollywood Palladium
    Historic L7 1991 concert from the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles!

    Please NOTE that ALL pledges exceeding $25 will also include the Deluxe Digital Download

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    BACKER EXCLUSIVE DVD of L7: Pretend We’re Dead
    Stylishly packaged Backer Only DVD with extra never-before-seen performance footage, home movie ridiculousness, and commentary from the band. Also includes a sweet twelve page

    BOOKLET of photos.

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    BACKER- EXCLUSIVE SIGNED DVD with booklet and a THANK YOU in the Film Credits of L7: Pretend We’re Dead.

    DVD is signed by L7 band members Jennifer Precious Finch, Suzi Gardner, Dee Plakas, and Donita Sparks.

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    L7 SMELL THE MAGIC T-SHIRT. Yes the scandalous and iconic L7 shirt is back in this Kickstarter Only Edition on organic cotton. Sizes XS- XXL. Go ahead, be shocking!

    BAND SIGNED DVD with booklet

    THANK YOU IN FILM CREDITS

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    $100
    L7 SILVER HANDS LOGO T-SHIRT. This never before sold bad ass shirt is available in sizes XS- XXL on organic cotton. Yeah, get your metallic grunge on!

    BAND SIGNED DVD with booklet

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    POLAROID PHOTO OF A CUSTOM STICKER with YOUR NAME ON DONITA’S FLYING V
    Want something one of a kind and unique? See your name on Donita's Flying V! We’ll send you the custom sticker and a Polaroid SIGNED AND NUMBERED BY DONITA!

    BAND SIGNED DVD

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    BAND SIGNED LIMITED EDITION VINYL LP of L7: Hollywood Palladium
    We’ve only got 200 of these so get them quick. Historic 1991 L7 concert from Los Angeles on clear vinyl with an awesome red splotch!

    SMELL THE MAGIC T-SHIRT

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    NOTE: TO Our $200 Backers
    If you have already PLEDGED at the $200 Smell the Magic T-Shirt level, You will be automatically given the NEW $201 Reward Tier which includes the Silver Hands Logo! Thanks for your support

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    BAND SIGNED LIMITED EDITION VINYL LP of L7: Hollywood Palladium PLUS BONUS SHIRT
    We’ve only got 98 of these LPs so get them quick. Historic 1991 L7 concert from Los Angeles on clear vinyl with an awesome red splotch!

    TWO L7 SHIRTS OF YOUR CHOICE.
    Smell The Magic and/or Silver Hands Logo. Get one for yourself, and get one for that special L7- lover in your life (or keep them both yourself!)

    BAND SIGNED DVD

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    BACKER-EXCLUSIVE SIGNED PHOTO BOOK curated by the band from their collection of discarded test Polaroids from some of their most famous photo sessions. Super cool 20 page hardcover book signed by L7.

    BAND SIGNED DVD

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    LOS ANGELES SHOW - GUEST LIST and BACK STAGE PASSES to MEET L7
    You and a FRIEND will get in to the SMALL CLUB to see L7 reunite and perform LIVE ONSTAGE for their FIRST SHOW TOGETHER IN 18 YEARS! This show will be in the last week of May 2015, a secret for now. Then after the show head to L7’s dressing room to meet the band! Take photos, get stuff signed, ask personal questions, have a beer/soda, whatever. This hometown gig is sure to sell out in a heartbeat.

    BAND SIGNED DVD

    DIGITAL DELUXE PACK

    Travel and accommodations not included. You must be 18 years or older for entry to club.

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    PRAGUE SHOW - GUEST LIST and BACK STAGE PASSES to MEET L7
    You and a FRIEND will get in to the show to see L7 reunite and perform LIVE ONSTAGE. Then after the show head to L7’s dressing room to meet the band! Take photos, get stuff signed, ask personal questions, have a beer/soda, whatever. Show date is JUNE, 11, 2015. Na videnou!

    BAND SIGNED DVD

    DIGITAL DELUXE PACK

    Travel and accommodations not included. Under 15 must be accompanied by 18 or older.

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    PARIS SHOW - GUEST LIST and BACK STAGE PASSES to MEET L7
    You and a FRIEND will get in to the show to see L7 reunite and perform LIVE ONSTAGE. Then after the show head to L7’s dressing room to meet the band! Take photos, get stuff signed, ask personal questions, have a beer/soda, whatever. Show date is 3rd week in June, 2015. C’est bon!

    BAND SIGNED DVD

    DIGITAL DELUXE PACK

    Travel and accommodations not included. Under 15 must be accompanied by 18 or older.

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    Festival Azkena - Vitoria - Entradas VIP y pases backstage para conocer a L7 en persona.

    Tu y un amigo/a podreis asistir al festival a lo grande y ver la actuacion de L7 en directo en uno de Los festivales mas cool de Europa: AZKENA en Vitoria, España, el Viernes 19 de Junio.

    Despues ireis backstage a conocer a L7, sacar unas fotos y charlar un rato!

    DVD firmado por la Banda.

    Pack Digital Deluxe.

    Viaje y hoteles NO incluidos.

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    HANDWRITTEN LYRICS of YOUR CHOICE Mounted on archival paper. What is the L7 anthem of your life? “Shove”? “Fast and Frightening”? “Everglade”? "Shitlist"?

    L7 SHIRTS OF YOUR CHOICE.
    Smell The Magic and/or Silver Hands Logo

    Get the lyrics written and signed from the source.

    BACKER EXCLUSIVE SIGNED PHOTO BOOK

    BAND SIGNED DVD

    THANK YOU IN FILM CREDITS

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    SEANCE WITH L7
    You and a friend will join L7 and spirit medium/magician Rob Zabrecky to conjure the spirit of Harry Houdini at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, California! That’s right, you’ll have an evening at the Magic Castle including a private seance with L7 and fellow backers where Rob will be our guide to break on through to the other side.
    Smell the Magic with L7, See the Magic with Rob Zabrecky!

    HAND WRITTEN LYRICS OF YOUR CHOICE

    BAND SIGNED PHOTO BOOK

    BAND SIGNED VINYL LP

    DVD OF L7: PRETEND WE'RE DEAD

    SMELL THE MAGIC OR SILVER HANDS T-SHIRT

    THANK YOU IN FILM CREDITS

    Travel and accommodations not included. Date and Time TBD.

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    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT IN THE FILM
    Yes this is the big cigar. Also Includes:

    VIP EXCLUSIVE SCREENING WITH THE BAND

    HAND WRITTEN LYRICS OF YOUR CHOICE

    BAND SIGNED PHOTO BOOK

    BAND SIGNED VINYL

    SMELL THE MAGIC T-SHIRT

    BAND SIGNED DVD

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Funding period

- (30 days)