HomeInterviewsFilmmaker Ron Chapman discusses his new documentary 'Revival69' at SXSW premiere

Filmmaker Ron Chapman discusses his new documentary ‘Revival69’ at SXSW premiere

Canadian filmmaker Ron Chapman took a few minutes after the SXSW 2023 premiere of his new documentary, Revival69: The Concert that Rocked the World, to speak with 360°Sound. Revival69 tells the story of a landmark outdoor rock festival held at Varsity Stadium in Toronto in 1969, that almost didn’t happen. The event was originally billed as a showcase for ’50s rockers Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Gene Vincent. It became much more however, as promoter John Brower struggled to attract attention to the festival and to get it financed.

With interest in the event flagging, Brower kept upping the ante, adding bigger acts to the bill and enlisting financial assistance from an unlikely source. Everybody who’s anybody in rock promotion at the time got involved, as Brower pulled out all the stops to realize his dream. In a desperate 11th-hour Hail Mary, he achieved something unthinkable today – he got none other than John Lennon on the phone and convinced him and Yoko Ono to come and perform live for the first time since the Beatles retired from touring.

Working with 16mm film of the concert shot by legendary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, and featuring commentary from just about everyone who was involved, Chapman constructs a tense and compelling story that culminates in an exhilarating event that can now be truly appreciated.

A musician first and then a filmmaker, Ron Chapman has made other music documentaries, including 2014’s Who the Fuck is Arthur Fogel? In this live remote interview at SXSW, he discusses how the music business has changed, his respect for Yoko Ono, and how D.A. Pennebaker went broke.

Shout! Studios has announced acquisition of U.S. rights to Revival69. Shout! Studios is the filmed entertainment production and distribution arm of Shout! Factory, specializing in all aspects of distribution. Photon Films is the Canadian distributor. There’s no word yet how the film will be distributed, but hopefully it gets a theatrical release. This is a fascinating story that needs to be heard, and a film that should be experienced on the big screen. Watch for it coming soon!

Learn more about Ron Chapman’s films at chapmanproductions.ca

Give Ron’s album As World’s Collide, including the single “Turn Away,” a spin on bandcamp


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