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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.
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."
"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.
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.
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)
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.
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!
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.
- (30 days)