It was back in 2014 that we first announced the Kickstarter Project for the film documentary The Ballad of Shirley Collins. The good news is that the wait is finally over and folks in the UK can now buy tickets for the first of the preview screenings at the Curzon Soho (16th October). The great Shirley Collins herself will be in attendance for a post-screening talk, to be hosted by the wonderful comedian and critic Stewart Lee.
Tim Plester & Rob Curry set out to explore the story behind the English folk music icon, and chronicles Shirley’s battle, at the grand old age of 80, to rediscover that voice she lost so many years previously (read our review of . The film counterpoints this contemporary journey with a more literal one taken from the other end of her life, and makes fertile use of authentic 1959 audio-archive to recount the tale of Shirley’s seminal road-trip around America’s Deep South alongside her then-lover (and pre-eminent ethnomusicologist) Alan Lomax.
Featuring contributions from the comedian Stewart Lee, musician Sam Amidon and David Tibet of Current 93, the film eschews a straightforward biopic approach and mindfully sidesteps any rockumentary talking-heads; the filmmakers instead offering up a meditative and richly textured piece of portraiture. One which uses Shirley’s story as a prism through which to explore and reflect upon themes of heritage, posterity and the true ancestral melodies of the people.
Here then is a film about loss and redemption. A film about sacrifice, healing and rebirth. A film which suggests that, during these turbulent and increasingly untethered times, we might just need Shirley Collins now more than ever.
Buy Preview Tickets here: https://www.curzoncinemas.com/soho/film-info/the-ballad-of-shirley-collins
The project are currently looking at a worldwide distribution plan now, you can follow them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/shirleycollinsmovie/