Guns to Mics

Sierra Leone's Music Revolution!
by Jem posted 05 April 2016

Your support helped make it happen, so here it is, an update on our first feature doc, ‘Guns to Mics.’ Back in early 2015 we held a small private test screening of our first cut. We invited friends, filmmakers, critics, politicians and of course, our moms. Everyone was given a questionnaire to fill out after - what did they like? What didn’t they like? What did they think of our characters, the music, the story? 

We had a LOT of answers to go through. And for the most part, people had similar responses, so we had a clear message being delivered, we knew where we needed to take the film (even though it meant cutting out one of our favourite characters! Kill your babies, right?)

“We had a clear message being delivered, we knew where we needed to take the film.”

Our next cut felt good, and we submitted it to festivals…but it just wasn’t fitting in anywhere. We had excellent reviews in private screenings, but festivals couldn’t fit it in their programs. If you don’t work in the film industry, festival rejections feel a bit like being dumped with the line: ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’ And we were dumped, a lot. And our ego hurt. So we got new hair cuts and a wardrobe make-over. 

We listened to the festivals. We didn’t have feedback from them, but we looked at the cut long and hard - why wasn’t this being accepted? What would sell tickets at a festival? So we hired Channing Tatum to narrate the entire movie. And we cut most of the scenes, adding B-roll of Jennifer Lawrence dancing. The film isn’t recognizable now, but at least there’s a fun cameo from Kanye. 

Oh…? Greg just informed me that we didn’t end up using that cut. That’s a shame. If anyone wants to see it, I’ll hold a private screener sometime. 

Back to the edit we went. Scenes were shuffled around, the cut became shorter and the story felt more streamlined. The best cut yet some might say. Packed full of music and drama. 

This new cut recently went back out into the world, and our first response back was positive! ‘Guns to Mics’ will be playing in New York this April as part of the NYC Independent Film Festival. So if you’re around on the 27th in Times Square, head on over to check it out!

But wait! There’s more good news, our second response was from the Arizona International Film Festival, and they’ve accepted it as well. Yep, head on over to Tucson on April 24th to see us end the screenings for the weekend slot. A Sunday night music revolution anyone? 

"If it teaches you anything, violence never wins."

I think it’s a great time to show this film. It’s about ‘saying no to violence’ in elections. That ring a bell anyone? There is an important and timely message to learn from this country, they’ve seen what hate and violence can do to a nation. With the tense, controversial elections coming up in the States, we’re happy to know our film is starting its tour down South. If it teaches you anything, violence never wins.

There you have it. It has been three years in post, a lot of ups and downs, but it’s done, and it’s out there! To all our indiegogo supporters, thank you once again. DVDs will be released as soon as it has had its festival cycle. In the mean time, we will continue to update you all with screenings as it tours the world. 

Of course our biggest thanks goes to the awesome artists in Salone, who gave us their time, shared their stories and who continue to use their art to bring peace, love, and unity.