Rumble rocks Toronto

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The Canadian premiere of Rezolution Pictures’ award-winning film, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, was held April 30 at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto.

The film, directed by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana, chronicles the little-known history of Indigenous influence on popular music. Specifically, it follows the progression of rock and roll as it relates to the seminal instrumental song “Rumble,” composed by American Indian singer-songwriter Link Wray.

To this day major musicians like Iggy Pop, Jimmy Page and Dan Auerbach cite the song’s influence, while others talk about “Rumble” as a forge for the genre of heavy metal. But in an era that predates the civil rights movement, of the 1960s it wasn’t always safe for musicians like Wray to identify themselves as Indigenous.

And while Rumble has already garnered illustrious honours, such as being named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 25 must-see films at the Sundance Film Festival and winning the festival’s World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling, it’s nice to be recognized on home soil.

Rumble received a standing ovation following its final screening in Toronto. It was named by Now magazine as one of their “10 Hot Docs to Book Now,” Exclaim magazine called Rumble one of their seven must sees, it made CBC’s list of nine films they’re “most excited about”, and was hailed as “outstanding” by Toronto Film Scene. The film snagged the Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary (along with a $50,000 prize) and also won the Hot Docs Audience Award, voted on by festival attendees.

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Ernest Webb and Catherine Bainbdridge

“The accolades are nice, and I’m glad people are liking the film and responding to it the way they are, but the real reward is that the story is getting out there,” said Executive Producer Ernest Webb, the co-founder of Rezolution Pictures. “This is an important story that needs to be heard. The recognition it’s getting is just the icing on the cake.”

Though Rumble premiered at number 1 at Hot Docs, another Indigenous documentary overtook it on May 3. Birth of a Family follows the story of four siblings who are reunited after being separated for 40 years by the Sixties Scoop.

“It’s an honour to be among the great Indigenous films this year that are featured in the biggest doc festival in North America,” said Webb. “It’s sending a clear message about how relevant and important these stories are.”

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