World premiere of Libertines doc kicks off East End Film Festival

The East End Film Festival is celebrating its tenth year and fast earning itself a reputation as a leading distributer of silver screen magic.

Since its launch in 2001, the event has grown to encompass venues across the East End and a range of genres in the dozens of flicks screened over its week-long run.

It’s all kicking off on April 27 with the world premiere of acclaimed photojournalist Roger Sargent’s all-access documentary about the reforming of The Libertines.

‘There Are No Innocent Bystanders’ saw Sargent shadow the band from their decision to reunite in 2010 to the biggest gig of their careers at Reading and Leads.

The intimate portrait of backstage antics, chats and day-today life in the East End was only made possible by Sargent’s close relationship with Carl Barat.


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Despite a short-lived and chaotic impact on the music scene during their first shot at the big time, the band achieved a cult following for their raw, retro sound and spurned a thousand sound-a-likes.

But the tabloid dramas soon took over, focusing on the backstage activities of lead singer Peter Doherty and his famous fallout with Barat soon dominated their press.

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Sargent’s aim was to peel away that layer of negativity.

He said: “They’ve had a great effect on my life and its terrible what most people associate with the band. I wanted to show a different side to them.

“A large part of the film is the relationship with Peter and Carl but there are four individuals in the band. Gary and John give very good, humble accounts of why things went wrong.

“This isn’t a kiss and tell kind of film, it’s a portrait if you like.”

The band’s connection to the East End, which provided a fertile setting when they made a name for themselves and is still their preferred stomping ground, is also a theme for Sargent.

He added: “The reason they ended up gravitating to the East End was it that’s the only untarnished part of London. It still has that mystery and intrigue.”

Most of all, Sargent wanted to make a film that is enjoyable in its own right.

“I’ve tried to make something very filmic, make it visually engaging and beautiful. “It’s about finding out what went wrong in the relationships.”

So are The Libertines happy now, seems the obvious question.

“Happier,” Sargent responds.

Maybe that’s what has kept us so intrigued.

To check out the full line of the East End Film Festival which runs from April 27 to May 2 go to eastendfilmfestival.com.

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