SEATTLE – Free To Rock, the feature length documentary that examines the gradual and pervasive influence of Western rock music on the culture and politics in the Eastern Bloc throughout the Cold War era, is set to show at The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington May 21st through May 29th at 3PM daily. The 60-minute film, directed by four-time Emmy Award winner Jim Brown (The Weavers: Wasn’t that A Time!, We Shall Overcome, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, The Highwaymen) and co-produced by Brown with Nicholas Binkley, Doug Yeager and Russian rock star Stas Namin, grandson of Anastas Mikoyan, the legendary Soviet politician who worked under Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev.
The film, narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, features interviews with President Jimmy Carter, former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, Billy Joel, Elton John, music producer Joanna Stingray, members of The Beach Boys and The Scorpions, Latvian rockers Pete Anderson and Valery Saifudinov along with other key players and musicians who took an active role in the rise of rock’ n’ roll across the iron curtain. Free To Rock includes rare footage of superstars from the Soviet bloc rock underground including Czechoslovakia’s Plastic People of the Universe, Boris Grebenshikov, The Flowers, Leningrad post-punkers Kino and also of Dean Reed, a/k/a “The Red Elvis.”
In the film, Jimmy Carter allows that “Rock & Roll was certainly a contributing factor to ending the Cold War” while Gorbachev characterized Rock as “an opportunity to open up a road into the future.” Billy Joel, recollecting his groundbreaking 1987 tour of the Soviet Union, commented, “I didn’t know that rock & roll was going to end the Cold War.. but I thought it might warm things up.”
“Free To Rock resulted from the work of a great team of filmmakers, rock stars, and advisors from the United States and Russia (and other countries that were part of the Soviet Union) and proves that when a country has an attractive culture it can contribute to peaceful solutions between adversaries in ways that weapons and threats can’t. The power of music can never be underestimated” explains Jim Brown, the film’s director.
Free to Rock was produced over a 12-year span, beginning in 2005 with the generous support of The National Endowment for the Humanities, The National Endowment for the Arts, the GRAMMY Museum and private donors.
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Event at Museum of Pop Culture: https://www.mopop.org/events/events/free-to-rock/