The collaboration between LIFF and Leeds very own folk roots label, Yadig? Records returns with a special screening of filmmaker and musician (The Legendary Shack Shakers) Colonel J.D. Wilkes’ documentary, Seven Signs: Music, Myth and the American South. Seven Signs is a celebration of Southern culture conceived without a note of condescension, letting the artists and musicians represent themselves on their own terms. Presented by great Leeds songwriter Serious Sam Barrett with a live performance of some of his songs.
It seems if (Southerners) can prove to the rest of the world that we’re just as edgy, materialistic, sexy and ironic as Hollyweird, then we can be accepted as equal, but in the process, we’ve set aflame an iconoclastic bonfire of our collective myths, music, culture and identity, all in the name of progress. Count me out.
The impetus for the movie was my outrage over Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus by Jim White. The cinematography and the actual documentation of honest-to-goodness Appalachian folk music (were) terrific but there were too many oddly staged moments where some gawky, art-damaged idiot would poke his head into a scene and fawn over the local yokels. I was so incensed that I swore that I’d do my best to make a documentary that let actual Southerners — interesting, creative ones — tell their own story. All the subjects who appeared in the movie did so with the understanding that what they had to say would be left to stand on its own merit and not be twisted into something else during the editing process. As a result, we’ve made a film that I’ve come to call ‘the anti-Borat.’
J.D. Wilkes, Director
Screening in a club venue for over 18s only.