Spot On: Denmark’s SPOT Festival to Debut Music Documentary Sidebar

Berlin director Uli M Schueppel brings his Nick Cave and Einsturzende Neubaten music documentaries to Aarhus as music featival SPOT adds a film program.
Danish music documentary Komponist is as part of the music festival SPOT's first film program.

Conceived in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1994 as a showcase for Danish and Nordic bands and artists with regional and international breakout potential, the SPOT Festival has grown in 20 years into one of Scandinavia's major music events. These days SPOT brings more than 100 established and emerging rock, pop, hip hop, and electronic acts to Denmark's second-largest city for an intense weekend of gigging and being seen. (Sigur Ros, the Raveonettes, and the Shout Out Louds are among the bands that played SPOT early in their careers.)

With the incipient maturity of an event hitting its third decade, SPOT is also seeking new horizons - to wit, becoming something of a Danish SXSW, adding film and interactive programs for this year's fest running May 1-4. SPOT Film naturally includes a section of music documentaries, curated by the estimable Copenhagen nonfiction festival CPH:DOX. Full disclosure: MusicFilmWeb also has a hand in SPOT's new direction, as a media partner, in which role we're especially happy to have facilitated a guest appearance by one of German's most acclaimed indie filmmakers, Uli M Schueppel.

A true Berliner whose work straddles fiction and documentary, Schueppel has been chronicling that amazing city's music and musicians for 25 years. At SPOT he'll be showing his beautifully unvarnished 1989 Nick Cave tour documentary, The Road to God Knows Where, and the extremely loud and surprisingly moving Elektrokohle (English title: Off Ways), which revisits Einsturzende Neubaten's epochal first concert in East Berlin in the weeks after the fall of the Wall. Schueppel will also sit for an extended MFW-moderated Q&A about his work.

The music doc program proper is a 10-film international mix that includes recent fest-circuit favorites like Mistaken for Strangers, Downloaded, A Band Called Death, and Death Metal Angola (Angola director Jeremy Xido and Death co-director Mark Covino will be on hand) and European entries such as Nitsa 94/96, about the club that birthed Barcelona’s electronica scene, and Danish docs Komponist, which looks at unconventional composers Simon Steen-Andersen, Henriette Groth, and Eva Noer Kondrups, and  En Kon Balance (Ride the Balance), an examination of sexism on the music scene. On the cross-cultural front we're especially intrigued by GRU-PDX, which follows Sao Paulo indie band Quarto Negro to alt mecca Portland to record an album.

Film screenings are free for SPOT ticket holders. There's also a program of narrative and nonfiction films by up-and-come Nordic directors, lots of panels, multi-platform special events, and, oh yeah, some bands. Come on up north - you might just stumble on the next Sigur Ros.