Rebel Dread is the story of Don Letts, a first-generation British-born Black filmmaker, DJ, musician, and cultural commentator. The film frames Don’s story with the 1968 Enoch Powell ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech and the 2018 ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy.
The film covers Don’s relationship with the nascent punk scene of the 1970s and 80s – how rastas and punks found a common bond, both outside of the mainstream, and how Don introduced reggae to the punks, influencing a whole generation of rock acts. Don was part of the inner circle of The Clash and Johnny Rotten. He later formed Big Audio Dynamite with Mick Jones, and made music that incorporated dance, reggae, rap, film samples and rock n roll.
After directing iconic music videos including London Calling, Chain Gang and Pass the Dutchie, Don became an award-winning feature director, with films such as Dancehall Queen, Westway to the World: The Story of the Clash and One Love, starring Idris Elba. He is now a leading cultural commentator and well-known voice on BBC Radio 6.
Screen Machine is delighted to be screening Rebel Dread as part of the Reel Roots: Windrush series, which is exploring Blackness in Britain, and is curated by The New Black Film Collective with support from Film Hub Scotland. Reel Roots: Windrush shines a spotlight on Black people of Caribbean heritage who have resided in the UK since the Windrush generation, and on the fruits of their culture in cinema.
“It’s an intense, 86-minute pleasure to be in the company of Don Letts: DJ, film-maker, musician, social commentator and thoroughly engaging raconteur.” The Guardian
“this vibrant, fast, funny portrait of jack-of-several-trades Don Letts will have you reaching for your vinyl collection.” Empire
“Letts is… a true one-off, albeit with a wealth of cultural history contained in his highly singular life.” Financial Times
15: contains very strong language, drug misuse, racism
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