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The Elliot Smith documentary Heavens Adores You opens RTRFM’s Gimme Some Truth film festival
The Elliot Smith documentary Heavens Adores You opens RTRFM’s Gimme Some Truth film festival

RTRFM’S Gimme Some Truth documentary film festival runs at Luna Leederville from Friday, December 5, until Thursday, December 11. BOB GORDON finds out all about it from Station Manager, Jason Cleary. 

The Gimme Some Truth doco festival successfully debuted last year, in returning what did you want to bring forth to the populace?

Once again this festival is about showcasing, underground, independent and little heard music in the same way RTRFM provides that through all our other avenues. I think this year builds on last year’s festival with a stronger selection of films that all have very strong narratives and engaging storylines. I always want a selection of films that really showcase the diverse landscape that music is. We have also bought in a WA shorts selection that showcases some of the great WA work being done in film.


Is it difficult getting the various rights and permissions to screen music docos of this nature?

It is actually not that different to getting hold of music, it seems a very fragmented industry with most films being produced independently, the hardest but most enjoyable part is unearthing some gems from around the world, so a lot of backward and forward emailing to see what will line up and is available at that time. I think it is quite difficult for many documentaries to get the opportunity to screen at a cinema, so often they are really keen to get their film into the selection but we only have the resources to do quite a small size festival at the moment – but the plans are always for expansion.


Heaven Adores You, the Elliot Smith film, looks set to be fascinating. A long-time RTR fave whose music has not diminished one bit since his passing…

His music, as you say, has not diminished one bit, if anything it has grown in stature since his passing. Not to give too much away but the film really is a celebration of his life and the person he was. The artists and friends that are bought together on this film, really show that he was so influential to so many and really looked up to by his peers and various bandmates at the time. It is a very sad film in parts and does not shy away from his mental health issues, but you get a real feeling from the film that he was just such a wonderful human being and really seemed to leave a lasting effect on everyone associated to him.

I think the party after the film will be a great chance to celebrate an RTRFM favourite and a legacy of music, and a time, pretty close to the heart of the station as Elliot Smith was an artist that was championed from his very early days and still gets plenty of airtime.


What are the other highlights for you?

Everything! I keep getting asked this question and am not sure what to answer. Come Worry With Us is an amazingly personal film about artists really living on the breadline and as a massive soul music film Deep City is a fascinating document; something like Beautiful Noise is just a great film about some of the most influential music of the late ‘80s early ‘90s.

Any WA content is really important to me and I love being able to showcase it. Kenta McGrath’s film, No Encore, is quite confronting and very much a film in line with the experimental musical style of Decibel.

I really ensure I curate films that are showcase interesting and exciting stories that delve as deep as possible into their subjects so I can absolutely recommend any of the films at the festival.


Tell us about the WA films that are being screened?

I have already mentioned No Encore as the WA feature and is a beautifully shot almost road movie style of film. The WA shorts came about because I just found so many strong short music documentaries being made in WA. Brian Kruger AKA Empty has travelled to New York and made a real fly on the wall documentary searching for those freestyle rap artists that still proffer the art of improvised freestyle rap, an art form that has gone almost completely underground.

The Big Splash has become a large part of the local music calendar and we have a great behind the scenes documentary from the 2014 Big Splash series.

Local filmmaker Gavin Bond could be called a Todd Rundgren tragic but that would probably not be taking it far enough as he looks at the life and mostly underappreciated music of an artist many people see as a genius (Todd Who?).

Lastly we will take you back to our 2014 Radiothon as Silver Squid Productions roamed the streets of Perth and the studios of RTRFM to put together this celebration of what makes a great community radio station. Make sure you arrive a little early to other feature screenings as we have some other shorts and our new live film series showing during the week.


What do you hope people will take away from Gimme Some Truth this year?

I hope people just enjoy the films and take out more knowledge about the artist or music scene that they are watching. In a film like Keep On Keeping On you get an amazing insight into the personality and love of life and jazz that Clark Terry has, some of the biggest names in jazz talking about his influence on them whilst he still champions a young jazz prodigy while struggling with his own ailing health. This is the kind of story that music documentaries should bring out, it goes past the music and is about giving you more about the subject than you could otherwise find.


Tickets to all films are still available at

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