Canadian, Euro nets to attend Kastner’s million-dollar disco

Jamie Kastner (pictured), the Canadian director behind docs including 2011's Recessionize! For Fun and Profit!, has secured a budget of nearly CDN$1 million and backing from networks in Canada and Europe for a new film exploring the history of disco.
July 15, 2011

Jamie Kastner (pictured), the Toronto-based director behind docs including Recessionize! and Kike Like Me, has secured a budget of nearly CDN$1 million and backing from networks in Canada and Europe for a new film exploring disco.

Kastner and his indie Cave 7 Productions have begun work on The Secret Disco Revolution, which will look at the history of the musical genre. Networks already onboard for the doc include Bravo! in Canada,  Canal D in Quebec, Knowledge Network for British Columbia, and ZDF/Arte for France and Germany.

In addition, the film has “major support” from Telefilm Canada and Rogers’ Theatrical Documentary Program, a fund which the two companies recently renewed.

Talking to realscreen about the doc, Kastner explained: “It’s basically a comical investigation inspired by some politically correct revisionist historians who claim that disco was actually a misunderstood era of protest and liberation.”

He added that the doc would feature “speculative reenactments” and “kitschy period footage,” and would be based around “a completely ironic framework.” Unlike his previous efforts, Kastner will not appear onscreen in this doc.

The news comes as Kastner and distributor Cinephil have completed a number of international deals for the director’s film Recessionize! For Fun and Profit!, which had its North American premiere at Hot Docs in Toronto earlier this year.

That film, which looks at opportunists making the most of the economic crisis, aired last month on TVO in Canada, and has now been picked up by VPRO in Holland, Yes Docu in Israel (which will air the film this month) and VRT in Belgium. CBC in Canada also has a second window for the film on its digital channel Documentary.

Kastner said the economic turmoil covered in the film mirrored his own turbulent experience in trying to get the doc made. The project shifted between a number of different Canadian broadcasters during production – including Super Channel and CBC Newsworld – before ending up with TVO.

“There was a sea-change in the documentary funding business everywhere, including Canada,” he recalled. “It got bounced around through four Canadian broadcasters, mirroring the tumult of the time.”

In addition to The Secret Disco Revolution, the director has a number of projects in development, including a film about Jewish humor with the NFB, tentatively titled Inside Joke; another project entitled Nipple Nazis; and a series he is shopping called American Extremes.

“I see them as black comedies,” Kastner said of his work. “They’re always about a serious subject – like anti-Semitism or the recession – but using irony always appeals to me, and trying to do things in an original way appeals to me.”

Check out the exclusive work-in-progress trailer for The Secret Disco Revolution below:

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