We were going to write a piece on this, but we figured you’d appreciate the words of the creator instead, right?
There Is No Real Courage Unless there Is Real Danger
A Film About Smalltown America by Aaron Connolly
// [highlighter color=”red”]The Short Story:[/highlighter]
There Is No Real Courage Unless There Is Real Danger follows independent record label Smalltown America between 2008 – 2010. This period was a turbulent time for the label during which it found itself growing and evolving in the ever changing music industry. The film looks to place the label against the backdrop of that industry and the challenges facing both independent labels and independent bands and artists in the digital age and trying to determine their place both in the present and in the future. At the root, it finds people who are first and foremost passionate about music, whether that be musicians, promoters or any of the other people who work to put on a show or put out an album.
// [highlighter color=”red”]The Long Story:[/highlighter]
In late 2007, I e-mailed Andrew Ferris about doing a short film about Smalltown America (then, like me London-based) as an exercise for myself in budget production (using pro-sumer camera and editing). It was my creative outlet to expand my professional knowledge in my day to day job of being an engineer in broadcast television. I intended it to be a 10-15 minute profile of the label accompanied by some live performances featuring their then annual all-dayer charity events. Starting with invaluable help from my colleague Ciaran Reidy and an interview with new STA signing Alan MX the following Spring, the film took on a life of it’s own and rapidly became something a bit bigger, looking at not just the label but it’s place in an ever changing music industry, the trials and triumphs of independent music and DIY as well as looking at the Northern Irish music scene and industry (which became even more important as STA moved back to Derry shortly after the start of filming).
Over the next four years I had amazing help from everyone at STA (especially Ash Pocock (A&R) in organising access to the bands as well as ideas and encouragement. As the production progressed, the label itself was progressing, evolving and growing giving an endless wealth of material that I could still be documenting to this day but I had to stop somewhere, so the film mostly focuses on the life of the label between 2008 and 2010.
Apart from telling the story of the label at that time, I also wanted to echo the STA sentiment that anyone can do it, they just need to go out and do it – I wanted to show that making a documentary or a film is easy, no matter what equipment or budget (or lack of) you have – as long as you have an idea and the passion to do it.
The film features interviews and live performance clips with Alan MX, LaFaro, Fighting With Wire, And So I Watch You From Afar, Illness, The Moi Non Plus, We Versus The Shark, Jetplane Landing, Let Our Enemies Beware and The Young Playthings..
Watch the film: www.smalltownamerica.co.uk/documentary
Get in touch: http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Film-About-Smalltown-America/141627249197168
[Thanks to Aaron for outlining this project in detail for us]