Punk, thrash metal, the last wild man of rock, Cape Town's goema – all this and more is on offer in Sound on Screen, a musical film festival in downtown Joburg.

sound on screen

The streets are alive with the sound of music – or they will be when the first musical festival in the country opens at The Bioscope in downtown Jozi.

Sound on Screen fill feature everything from documentaries and biopics to concert movies. Organised by Flamedrop Productions, Sound on Screen will run from 1 to 13 December at The Bioscope at 286 Fox Street. A bunch of productions, both local and international, will be screened.

The Heart is A Drum Machine is first in the line-up. A documentary about music, it asks the question, "What is music?" And gets answers from many of today's top artists and scholars on this uniquely human obsession.

Get some first-hand, in-depth insight from John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Maynard James Keenan (Tool), Matt Sorum (Guns 'n Roses), Charlie Clouser (Nine Inch Nails), George Clinton (Funkadelic), Bob Ludwig, and Eddie Kramer, the legendary South African-born sound engineer who worked with Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Rolling Stones and others, and many more.

Next up is Hated, which examines the life and mayhem of GG Allin and The Murder Junkies, the last true rock n roll outlaw who lived and died with his music. Hated, an in-depth, visceral documentary was the first movie by Todd Phillips, who went on to give us The Hangover.

"My mind's a machine gun, my body's the bullets, and the audience is the target," said GG Allin, the wild man of rock. His self-destructive, intense, sleaze-filled outlaw punk-rock style went hand-in-hand with drug abuse, self-mutilation and attacks on the audience.

Two local productions will be screened, Mama Goema, which looks at the minstrel culture of Cape Town, and The Creators, which explores the chaotic reality of modern day South Africa by peering through the eyes of its artists.

The Cape Town beat in five movements, Mama Goema is a journey to the heart of the Mother City and its unique sound of goema. With indigenous roots, colonial influences and shaped by Cape Town's slave history, goema's blueprint lies in the city's carnival culture. The documentary charts the evolution of this genre. Mama Goema was named Best Feature at the Tri-Continental Film Festival.

Another documentary, From the 50 Yard Line, tells the emotional story of two high school marching bands, one an Ohio championship show band, and the other a Los Angeles band reborn after 18 years of silence due to cutbacks.

More than ... 50 friends, 50 dreams, 50 futures, and just one chance, From the 50 Yard Line presents the football field not only as a sports venue but also as a stage for the marching band. The viewer follows the adventure through band camp, auditions, the marching season, and the regional and national competitions.

Nowhere else do you see hundreds of teenagers working together in such unison and commitment for one common goal, say the organisers.

Then it's the turn of thrash metal with Get Thrashed, featuring bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Megadeth, Pantera, and In Flames.

"Everyone had a good time... even if they were bleeding!" This documentary is a roller coaster ride of extreme music and personalities, starting with the most famous thrash metal pioneers, Metallica, and highlighting other genre defining bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus and more.

There are interviews with over 50 artists, who discuss the ground-breaking music that is thrash metal and the culture surrounding it. It includes live concert footage with mosh pits, stage diving, head-banging, partying and plenty of over the top antics.

The outrageous life and times of The Plasmatics is told in Wendy O Williams and The Plasmatics, the story of the band who blurred the lines between punk and metal, countering the testosterone domination of the genre with Wendy's hot body, gravel voice and wild stage shows. Blowing up cars was just one of their acts.

A decade of revolutionary rock and roll, from the mid-70s to the mid-80s is told in the story of the outrageous Williams and her Plasmatics. This explosive documentary looks at this unique band and the waves they created across a decade.

Born into separate areas of apartheid South Africa, the players in The Creators recraft history in their own artistic languages. Weaving through the lives of Faith47 (street art), Warongx (Afro-blues), Emile (hip-hop), Sweat.X (performance art), Blaq Pearl (spoken word) and Mthetho (opera), the film culminates in an intertwined multi-plot, shedding light on the country and some of its music.

The Creators was named National Geographic All Roads Film Festival Best Documentary winner and World Music And Independent Film Festival Best Music Documentary winner.

Looking at venues and backstage, Reality Check TV dips into raw, underground live footage and interviews with punk legends like Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), The Ramones, The Misfits, NOFX, Bad Religion, Becky Bondage (Vice Squad), MDC, Fear and many more.

Tickets are R40 per person from The Bioscope.


The Heart is a Drum Machine – Saturday, 1 December at 8.15pm

Hated – GG Allin and The Murder Junkies – Saturday, 1 December at 10pm

Mama Goema – Sunday, 2 December at 8pm

From The 50 Yard Line – Monday, 3 December at 7.30pm

Get Thrashed – Tuesday, 4 December at 7.30pm

Wendy O Williams and The Plasmatics – Saturday, 8 December at 10pm

The Creators – Sunday, 9 December at 3pm