Hardcore pioneers, Agnostic Front, have always been true to their music and fans. The documentary The Godfathers of Hardcore, directed by Ian McFarland and appearing at the Florida Film Festival, chronicles Agnostic Front’s history and provides fans with a raw view into the band’s career and lives on and off the road.
Hardcore is a rebellious form of punk-rock music with hard, fast, in-your-face, thrash rhythms. Agnostic Front has inspired numerous bands by taking the genre to a whole new level and extreme.
The group is still experiencing the rock ‘n’ roll dream after living and playing in New York City’s dark and seedy Lower East Side nearly 40 years ago. Agnostic Front’s musical mantra hasn’t changed as they continue to question authority and society and seek the truth.
The film illustrates the chemistry and brotherly bond between Agnostic Front’s founder and lead guitarist Vinnie Stigma and lead vocalist Roger Miret.
There are many heartfelt occurrences with Miret and his family and laugh-out-loud moments with Stigma throughout the movie. Stigma is the real deal and a trip! He could easily have his own stand-up comedy act! I have visited New York City in the past, but Stigma is the person who I would love to provide me with an underground tour.
The documentary also discusses the turmoil, trials and tribulations Miret and Stigma dealt with growing up and how the hardcore scene saved their lives and became their family.
The movie features classic footage and photos from the band’s heyday, including performances at CBGB, the birthplace of punk-rock music, and by other bands like Murphy’s Law.
McFarland captured Agnostic Front’s essence, heart and soul in his film especially, with shots that showcased Miret and Stigma’s personalities and honesty. Four of my favorite scenes featured Miret opening a trunk and looking at a time capsule of band memories and sitting in a chair reflecting on his life at his home in Phoenix, Ariz. along with Stigma standing on the rooftop of his apartment building with a spectacular view of New York City and having his hairstylist create his mohawk.
Miret and McFarland made an appearance and participated in a question-and-answer-session after the first film screening at the Winter Park Regal Cinema last Saturday night. The documentary touched Miret.
“I was teary-eyed and blown away while experiencing an emotional roller coaster ride when I saw the film for the first time,” said Miret. “The film is in a league of its own. I’m proud and honored and think Ian did a great job.”
I asked Miret about how the documentary will leave Agnostic Front’s musical footprint.
“The film really shows the band as human beings and not as mythical creatures,” he exclaimed. “I think that connects more with people because our whole intention from day one was being genuine and real to people. We never called them fans. We called them friends.”
I also asked McFarland if he faced any challenges while making the movie.
“I think the biggest challenge for me was telling a band and family’s story and doing it in a way where they can sit back in the theater and watch it,” he said. “It was really tough getting through a film like this for the past three years. I not only directed the film, but edited it, which is a very tough thing to do and destroys you mentally and physically. I sacrificed a lot of time away from my family and work. It was very tough to do it, but luckily I had a support system.”
Agnostic Front fan and filmmaker McFarland put his blood, sweat and tears into creating a masterpiece that’s a must-see for other fans and music enthusiasts. His film tells a story that has never been told about this legendary band and will continue to rock for years to come.
The Godfathers of Hardcore screens again on Friday, April 13 at 8 p.m. at the Winter Park Regal Cinema. Tickets are $11. Click here for more information about the film and to purchase tickets.
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