Today (July 23) marks the 22nd anniversary of the Woodstock ’99 festival, and a new HBO documentary suitably titled “Woodstock ’99: Peace, Love, and Rage” takes audiences in back to a violent three-day music festival. a celebration into riots, looting and sexual assault.
Director Garret Price, who also served as co-editor with Avner Shiloah, opens the film with scenes from the original Woodstock festival, for peace and love before taking on the very different, invested 1999 version. by heavyweight bands like Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit.
Price and Shiloah give audiences behind-the-scenes insight through rare archival footage and interviews that help explain why the festival is called “The Dead 90s Day.”
Why are you opening with footage from the original Woodstock festival?
Garret’s price: I wanted it to be like a ’90s teen movie – a movie about a trip where we got into the music of the time. I want this to be like a teen murder movie where you have a bunch of kids coming to the top for a weekend of debauchery, drinking, sex, rock and roll. I took that idea and ran with it.
The key is to go back to 1969, set it up and use it as a framing device and the mythology surrounding Woodstock and the Woodstock name. I think Woodstock is huge because of the documentary itself. I feel like a lot of people feel like they’re at Woodstock because they’ve seen the movie and feel like they’re there, but I also have a lot of cultural context that I want to showcase throughout the film.
Avner Shiloah: That opening was the first thing he put together, and we started the race. It’s smart to recommend that clip from 1969 because it just tells you so much and the contrast between theology and reality. That opening also introduces [original Woodstock co-producer] Michael Lang, Willy Wonka of the music festival. So the overlap between that time and the 60s creates a sense of attraction for you.
The archival footage is fascinating. What are the numbers out there, considering 1999 was before the cell phone generation?
Price: Everyone has a disability. There’s something very real from the ’90s, compared to the selfie generation now, where people can do it again and again. I have an amazing archivist who hunted people down on YouTube and Twitter and found all these sources in basements telling their stories from different perspectives. These are kids who aren’t professional filmmakers – it’s warm-up footage from the archives that gave us a story we’ve never seen before. The things people are saying on camera, will never be seen again – you can see people acting very differently.
Avner, can you talk about finding the right balance of interviews, archival footage, and performances?
Shiloah: When I started, it was Garrett’s mission that every performance had value beyond that [the performance]. We are both music lovers and we may have spent a lot of time on each performance, but each needs to be the launching pad for discussion on a deeper issue and cultural context. . Whether it’s talking about [the 1999 mass shooting at] Columbine, sexual assaults, or the advent of the Internet and Napster, everything has to be justified by having a larger context.
We had to find the right balance between fun and something thought-provoking. The footage everyone has is gold. You could easily be a clip show, but having this authentic shot made it unique.
What was the most challenging part of telling this story that you thought hadn’t been told before?
Price: You don’t want to preach. It’s about giving enough context for people to think. It’s about weighing all of the things that surround this festival, whether it’s sociopolitical or cultural, and what it’s like to be in late 90s fervor.
I remember watching TV [at the time] and a “Girls Gone Wild” ad will appear, with my parents sitting there. It’s weird to go back and think about that normal behavior towards women. It was also a poll for me to come back to, and how did I act during that time? One of my goals with this movie was to pull people in with nostalgia, and then make them think about how they acted in the late 90s as opposed to our present.
https://variety.com/2021/music/news/woodstock-99-director-violence-teen-slasher-1235025628/ | ‘Woodstock ’99’ Filmmaker Wanted Doc to Feel ‘Like Teen-Slasher Movie’