Sam Black Church Documentarian Gives An Update, Film Due Next Spring

photo-main SBC doc poster


Duncan Wilder Johnson (Bring The Knife, Thrashachusetts, solo artist), a fixture in the Massachusetts hardcore and metal scene, has provided an update on his long in the making documentary about the seminal Boston genre definers Sam Black Church. Entitled Leave Behind A Groove In The Earth: The Story of Sam Black Church, the film is due early next and sees some light at the end of the tunnel after eight long years and a successful crowd funding campaign. The activity surrounding the film has the band enjoying some time back in the limelight, with members promoting the documentary, and a dominating main stage performance at last year’s New England Metal And Hardcore Festival.


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Jet from Sam Black Church At NEMHF16 last April. Photo by Meg Loyal Photography


The official update from Kickstarter:

Alright y’all!

I know everyone is itching to see this thing. No one more than myself wants to see it out there in the real world! There’s a lot of moving parts and my office is covered charts, emails, and post-it notes as I attempt to get this thing off the ground.

Making an independent film, as an almost completely solo effort, is tough to put it mildly. My lawyer and I are working our asses off over here, creating the best Sam Black Church film we can!

One of the main aspects of the film is to show a 20-year arc of heavy music, especially from the Northeast. With that, we’ve successfully licensed music by Tree, Stompbox, Overcast, Killswitch Engage, and we’re in the midst of working on Shadows Fall and Unearth. All of the later recordings of Sam Black Church have been cleared.

Everyone who contributed to the kickstarted campaign should have received merch, above and beyond the DVD itself by now. That means T-shirts, hoodies, posters and the like. The DVD is in process. After all this legal stuff, we’ll be doing the final cut, audio mix, and authoring it. Everyone who contributed to the campaign will receive a DVD. It’s doubtful that there will be a retail version of the DVD in stores because of structure of the music licensing. We’re still planning on a premier, submitting to and screening at various festivals, a number of independent screenings especially in the Northeast, and ultimately a streaming/downloadable version after the festivals and independent screenings.

So, what’s holding it up?

Well, mostly it’s people not getting back to me. People not returning phone calls for months, constantly having to hound people to sign legal documents so I can show their face in the film, and also the sheer amount of work that’s going into this thing. There’s a lot of photographs, fliers, live footage, and interviews and all of them have to be okayed. I NEED HELP WITH THIS (see below).

As I’m going through this legal process, I’ve realized a lot of the film has to change. This is caused by people not getting back to me or because we didn’t have enough money to pay for a certain license.

Therefore, I’m re-editing many sequences within the film.

We raised a little over $20K in the Kickstarter campaign and I can’t thank you enough for supporting this project. If you’d like to continue to support the film, you can purchase Prints, T-Shirts, posters in this store: We can always use a few extra bucks.

Will The band perform?

Well, that’s up to the band. I know they loved playing the last two shows at the House of Blues and The Palladium. I also know that they want to play when the movie drops, perhaps with some other old bands from their era, which would be rad!

We’re aiming for a March release. Originally I didn’t think it would take this long to negotiate with record labels, bands, lawyers, and everyone in between, but that’s the reality of it.

To cause a March release, I’ll need some help. It’s not glamorous stuff, but it has to happen. Basically it’s tracking people down who own various intellectual property (videos, photographs, and what not) and getting their permission to use it in the film. If they don’t agree, then we have to replace it in the editing with something we can use. If you’d like to help, we could really use it. Just send me an email. Thanks.

Finally, for your patience and my gratitude to you all, here’s a sneak peak of the film:

Thanks for everything. Enjoy.

In Metal, Duncan


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