In the age of Trump was Hitler the original rockstar? An important update about this film from its director, Aidan Prewett, where he covers the film's US release, Donald Trump, the enduring legacy of the Woodstock generation - and Mick Jagger in Cuba.
Writer/Co-Director: Aidan Prewett
Producer: Schy Peterson
Looking for: Australian Distributor
Made in association with: Devil Blue Films
Where can I watch it?
Interview with Writer/Director Aidan Prewett
Congratulations! Your film’s been released in the US. What’s been the response so far?
We’ve been overwhelmed with the response! The number of messages we’re getting through twitter has been quite a task to keep up with. So far it appears that A Venue for the End of the World is being very well received – we have a 4.6-star rating on Google Play (which can be viewed in Australia as well) and some very lovely comments posted there and on Amazon.
Our American distributors, BrinkVision, have been very pleased with how the film is performing. Juggling calls from journalists has certainly been fun!
You now have a new log line: In the age of Donald Trump was Hitler the original rockstar? While you don’t discuss Trump in your film he’s nevertheless a looming figure. Why?
Venue was completed before Trump was on our radar. BrinkVision toyed with the idea of having him next to some of the other famous faces on the cover, but I’m glad we collectively decided not to use him. BrinkVision has been great at including Devil Blue Films every step of the way, so we came out with a product that we’re thrilled with.
Trump has been brought up in comments from many viewers. We’ve had a lot of people saying that the timing is perfect for the film for that reason. We’re really at a time in history where a lot of these feelings about manipulative leaders are coming up again. But if the film had been released a few years ago people might have said the same thing about Mitt Romney. I hope in a few years, Venue may still be relevant - but I hope Donald Trump is not!
You talk about the Woodstock generation in your film. Why does the Woodstock generation still fascinate you?
I think from the moment I saw Michael Shrieve’s Woodstock drum solo on SBS when I was about 16, I’ve been fascinated by that festival. I guess it was the first one that really exploded and gave the world a view into its counterculture. And it kinda legitimised the Hippie movement to some extent. So all of those elements – but especially the incredible music – fascinated me enormously.
We were very lucky to be able to interview Michael Shrieve in Venue – I was very nervous about meeting him. And just the other day Santana released a new album with the original members of the band. So Michael was playing drums at Madison Square Garden just two nights ago! Michael also provided songs which really carry the journey elements of our film. If I could have told that to my sixteen-year-old self, I wouldn’t have believed it could happen.
But the whole generation that Woodstock sprang from – that whole ‘60’s era, really – just seems so similar to today. We have crooked politicians, protests, roots music is coming back… But in that era, people were really discovering how a group of people can really come together and find a voice. I think sometimes we take that for granted now. But back then it was so fresh and exciting.
Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones recently played in Cuba. Any comments about this strange but not – if we watch your film – entirely unexpected set of events?
In Venue we make a running joke that Mick Jagger was born as part of a Nazi experiment. He was born in 1943, so he might have been… but we also liken his stage presence to Hitler, because there are some similarities. They’re both extremely (in)famous for the way they work a crowd. They’re both quite aggressive in their relationship to their audience. They both have a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.
And we speak to people in Venue who worked closely with Jagger and with high-ranking Nazis. And it seems there is some kind of psychological need for them to be worshipped by their audiences.
So when I heard that the Stones were playing Cuba, it was like one of Hitler’s henchmen was trying to get a foot in the door in this newly-opened Communist territory. It’s funny how twentieth-century history just keeps coming back.
What’s next for A Venue at the end of the World?
People who have bought the physical DVD get an hour-and-a-half of bonus features, and everyone seems excited about that. I still get excited about it because they are extended interviews with three of my idols – D.A. Pennebaker, Dick Cavett and Ian Anderson! I’d like to delve into some of those other interviews and see if we can put some different special features online.
But if I’ve learnt anything from studying Mick Jagger and Adolf Hitler, the next step for anything is to take over the world. I guess getting A Venue for the End of the World played in a lot of places would be my equivalent. Oh and Australian distribution would be great!