Covering a quarter century, this documentary traces the history of the Washington, DC based punk-activist collective, Positive Force DC, from its Regan-era origins to the modern day. The feature-length film skillfully mixes rare, archival footage with current interviews of key Positive Force activists such as cofounder Mark Andersen and musicians Ian MacKaye, Ted Leo, and Allison Wolfe. Exploring the organization’s DIY tactics in addressing issues of homelessness, racism, sexism, corporate globalization, and war, the documentary also sheds light on the group’s struggles with the FBI as well as its conflicting internal visions. Featuring never-before-seen footage of legendary bands such as Seven Seconds, Fugazi, the Make-Up, Jawbox, and more, this film will captivate punk and indie rock fans and provide inspiration to those seeking to make a difference in their community.
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"Positive Force: More Than A Witness shows how music and activism can intersect." —Ally Schweitzer, bandwidth.wamu.org "Combining archival concert footage featuring bands including Bikini Kill, Fugazi, and Anti-Flag, with interviews of Dave Grohl and others who discuss their history with the collective, this should appeal to punk fans and socially conscious viewers." —T. Keogh, Video Librarian "This informative and inspiring film about several generations of punks singing about positive social change and working to make it happen should appeal to socially conscious music fans of all ages." —Douglas King, Library Journal
"It is punk movements like these that inspire viable alternatives and the possibilities of creating a whole new world." —Nick Muzmack, SLUG Magazine
"Positive Force examines the staunchly do-it-yourself ethos of the group, as well as its role as a catalyst of Washington DC’s influential hardcore punk climate of the 1980s-90s – a fiery scene of breakneck guitars and political proselytizing that left imprints on rockers in the mainstream." —Stacey Anderson, Guardian
"The documentary should inspire anyone who believes in the positivity of Punk and its power of personal and political change . . . . a DVD that can be viewed many times with each viewing spawning new detail and successive inspiration." —scannerzine.com
"Bell’s film lays it all out with a variety of perspectives from participants and bands who approached the revolution individually and collectively. " —Bryan Thomas, nightflight.com
"It may not be as widely known or celebrated as the music itself, but the Positive Force story is inextricably linked with D.C. punk." —Dean Essner, Washington Post Express
"A fascinating and inspirational new documentary by Robin Bell that chronicles the symbiotic relationship between D.C. punk and do-gooderism." —Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
"Positive Force: More than a Witness interviews numerous of people throughout the punk scene from the obvious who would be interviewed (i.e. Mark Andersen, Ian MacKaye) to the maybe-not-so-obvious (i.e. Laura Jane Grace, Spoonboy)." —Clarissa Villondo, brightestyoungthings.com
"Positive Force: More Than a Witness clarifies that what was an active moment in both local music and politics was the nudge many young people needed to reexamine their own lives." —Maxwell Tani, Washington City Paper
"Directed by Robin Bell, the film tells the story of Positive Force's campaigns against homelessness, racism, corporate globalization, sexism, war, and more." —Pitchfork
"If you have any interest at all in the history of American punk and/or activism, Positive Force is definitely worth your time." —Bart Bealmear, dangerousminds.net
"Featuring appearances from bands like Fugazi, Bikini Kill, Nation of Ulysses and more, the documentary spans the group's origins and includes performances, details on their tactics, and much, much more." —Vice
"This documentary is an honest and direct look at a group of people that have actually done good – 'talked the talk and walked the walk' so to speak – and continue to do so to this day." —Rob Ross, popdose.com
"How many ways can the D.C. punk icons of yore retell their tales of all-ages basement shows and subverting the ever-hungry maw of the capitalist music industry? After this year, add two more well-sourced volumes to the record: Salad Days: Punk in the Nation’s Capital and Positive Force: More Than a Witness, both documentary films that premiered on the same November weekend. Whether D.C. needs two more rehashings of the white-dude-heavy, MacKaye-Rollins glory days is up for debate . . . but the punk scene’s impulse toward nostalgia seems as healthy as it ever was." —Christina Cauterucci, washingtoncitypaper.com
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