Director/Indie Film Diva
... at DOXA ...
"Documentary Film Festival!!!!" 2010!!
By Gerry-Jenn Wilson and some fab.
Tabata quotes from: "The Vancouver Sun", 24 Hour, "The Georgia Straight"
All hail Director/ Independent Filmaker SUSANNE TABATA for taking on the gargantuan, long-overdue task of documenting the late '70's birth of the Vancouver punk-rock scene! "BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED" is living proof that the West Coast spawned a musical movement that was every bit as important & influential as their trailblazing allies in Los Angeles, New York, and arguably, London, England!... Vancouver bands like D.O.A., The Pointed Sticks, The Young Canadians, The Braineaters, The Modernettes, Subhumans, Dishrags,( to name a few,) seemingly exploded out of nowhere, and just as quickly an alienated generation embraced them! When director Susanne Tabata set out to make her punk rock doc., "BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED", she had no idea how long it would take to complete the project~...
... "I thought it was going to take 6 months to shoot, 3 months to post,"...croons Tabata..."In the End...It's been 3 and a half years!" Her dedication to the film shows. "BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED" is the complete oral history of Vancouver's punk rock conception & hey-ho-dey in its Rabid prime! It's a well-researched film, rare and rich in archival footage , also mixing modern day interviews with those who were in the trenches, mosh-pits, and on the frontlines! Tabata tracked down some great moments in Vancouver history, including the time D.O.A. took on the cops at the Anti-Canada Day concert in Stanley Park, July 1st, 1978. The footage Susanne is most proud of is the clip she scored from "Out Of The Blue", a 1980 punk rock underground classic filmed in Vancouver.
"I'm shocked that I got that," says Tabata. "That trumps the Stanley Park one because that is a cult film. It's a DENNIS HOPPER film!." Susanne adds "From my point of view, when this musical "THING" was happening, I don't think anyone, for a second, stopped to consider what it was...I don't think there was a sense of "This is important. It's going down and happening right now!!" It was something that was very transitory. But as time goes by, you can look back at that era in Vancouver, and it becomes more mythical."
Ms. Tabata is no one trick pony, and leaves no rock n' rolling stone unturned! Her resume includes, (but is hardly limited to), the skateboarding documentary "SKATEGIRL", and surfing near Tofino in "49 Degrees" , as well as a producer's credit on the Jason Priestley- directed Barenaked Ladies doc. "BARENAKED IN AMERICA".
One of the biggest challenges for Susanne in the filming of B.B.U. was tracking down the cast of character's from Vancouver's first wave of punk, and asking them to recapture, relive, and rethink moments from their youth. It can be an emotional experience. People have moved on with their lives. "I got told to fuck off alot!!," Tabata says bluntly. Namely from Mary Armstrong (a.k.a. Mary Jo Kopechne), former bass player from The Modernettes. After a year & a 1/2 she eventually succumbed. Tabata captures a surreal scene of Mary Jo "AK47" Kopechne's post music existence shooting her shotgun where she resides somewhere in rural Northern Alberta. Clearly a woman not to be messed with, Mary Jo tells it like it is..& was! NO HOLDS BARRED!
It was also a nail biting challenge to decide what footage to keep, and what scenes would momentarily end up on the editing room floor. After 3 and a half years Susanne captured over 100 hours that eventually had to be shaved down to 75 minutes! What makes BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED more than ancient history is the legacy that the first wave punkers left on these shores! Trailblazing the way for bands like "The New Pornographers", "JP5", "Black Mountain" & "The Black Halos", etc...
Without a doubt, Susanne paid her dues tenfold to create B.B.U....
" The funding came together and fell apart three time," she says. "There have been some really lean times and some trying times in trying to put this together. What I found quite surprising was that, even though I had solid production experience and credentials, the powers that be- the people that hold the purse strings at major networks-didn't think that this story was worth covering.",... note: ( Gerry-Jenn Wilson says, "I bet they are eating their words now! "BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED" not only HEADLINED the DOXA FILM FEST, Was the "MEDIA DARLING", but also SOLD-OUT both nights of it's DOXA DEBUT/ Premiere!...In the end... so many film junkies were just another guy/girl "OUT OF LUCK & WANTING MORE B.B.U.!!!")
Need-less-To-Say BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED proved all corporate naysayers wrong! Making it clear that Vancouver punk was a big deal for more than those who lived here in Vancouver, American luminaries such as "BLACK FLAG'S" HENRY ROLLINS, & KEITH MORRIS, "GUNS N' ROSES" DUFF Mc KAGAN, pop up to pay tribute to our city. D.O.A.'s ex- promoter/manager Ken Lester (who often gets the blame for introducing heroin to the Vancouver punk scene), Lester gets his 15 minutes of fame recollecting meeting KURT COBAIN at The Plaza..(a notorious punk rock house/commune that often hosted touring bands, and threw one too many shin-digs to count!) Cobain prophetically commented to Lester during his stay at "The Plaza" that he saw himself writing many hits and then dying by the age of 27!?!...
Characters like ZIPPY PINHEAD (birth name William Chobataur), who is a larger than life bohemian who would be a gold-medal contender if they had an Olympic event for partying also make this film entertaining. Zippy is blond, has giant lips and is blessed with a smile wider than the mighty Fraser River, a combination that seemed to make him irresistible to punkettes back in the day.
At least Zippy claims!
"He called himself the Gene Simmons of punk rock," laughs Tabata. "Who would go on camera and say to the world, 'I had a different girl every night?" I vetted that clip with him before I included it. He goes, 'Wow, I'd be honored if you put that in.' He's not running from it, he's running at IT!
Due to issues at the Border, Susanne, has been unable to film Punk Globe's GINGER COYOTE and JELLO BIAFRA. However she plans on including them in the final version of the film.
BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED is a must see for anyone who has a taste for "THE REEL PUNK ROCK DEAL!"...All we can hope for now is the sequel! Thank-you Susanne Tabatta!!! ***** "BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED" ............*****5 PUNK GLOBE STARS!!!.......................*****
PSST:: CHECK IT OUT!!!...The Notorious" P.D." from "SKULL SKATES" has made a collectors "BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED/RANDY RAMPAGE SKATEBOARD!" available for a limited time at "P.D.'s HOTSHOP", Vancouver, B.C., plus "BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED" T-SHIRTS to boot!!! ..Also available online via "P.D.'s HOTSHOP!"! SKULL SKATES!!!!