New York focus of fifth Music on Film festival


This year’s Music on Film Film on Music festival kicks off at three Prague centre cinemas on Thursday. Called MOFFOM for short, it’s now into its fifth year, with the focus this time out on New York, as I heard from MOFFOM’s founder and director John Caulkins.

“We have quite a nostalgic angle on New York. We’re covering a lot of films from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, early ‘80s.

“From the ‘50s we have that nice jazz film A Great Day in Harlem, then into the ‘60s a film about Andy Warhol, followed into the ‘70s and ‘80s by films about the revolution in music coming from Cuba and Puerto Rico, in From Mambo to Hip Hop, a wonderful film with a lot of great music and dance, and the origins of hip hop…New York City, the cradle of hip – films like Style Wars…

“So a lot of these films are not strictly music films. They include dance and culture and society. New York was a hotbed of creativity, and also just a wild and sometimes chaotic place.”

I understand there are several music film festivals around the world – do you have trouble competing for films, and for guests?

“In fact we do everything we can to support these other festivals. There are actually a couple that occur in October, at the same time as our festival, and we work as closely as we can.

Lords of Revolution
“We do share guests, we do share films. We try to do that more. There are so many big music films, and 2008 is no exception. There’s just no way we can show all the ones we would like to – we only have five days for our festival.

“We try to include live concerts, what we call cine-concerts, with live music in the cinema…”

I have to say for me personally, MOFFOM is one of the more interesting events on the Prague cultural calendar – what do you think is the secret of your success?

“We’ve just been dedicated to – it’s a little bit of a silly expression but I like it – all killer, no filler [laughs]. Of course you try to have as many good quality, usually independently made, films that are about artists that people like and respect…

“Some of these have not yet become successful, or they’ve already disappeared, but they really deserve to be celebrated in some ways. And I think people recognise that.

“It doesn’t matter if [the artists] come from Hollywood or some media capital like London, or if they’re from Angola or Thailand or you name it.”