Letts' film explores the punk-rock phenomenon, with commentary by punk figures and experts including Jim Jarmusch, Siouxsie Sioux, Glen Matlock, Mick Jones and Tommy Ramone. Letts, a former member of Big Audio Dynamite, sees punk rock as an ongoing dynamic. "This is not a trip down memory lane, but the story of an attitude that we can look forward to if we are brave enough," he says. "It is about empowerment and individuality."
His documentary about The Clash - Westway to the World - won him a Grammy Award, and he has now spent a year making Punk: Attitude. He traces punk back to the American music of the 1950s, documents it through to its explosion on to the music scene in the 1970s and links it to anti-Establishment music, bands and youth culture of today. "When I was approached to make a punk-rock documentary, my instinct was, 'Oh no, not that again', because it seems that every few years we do a punk-rock revival," says Letts. "I thought about why this kept happening. I realised that what we were really talking about was counterculture that did not begin and end with punk rock. When I looked at the cultural climate as it is today, it seems as if punk rock never happened. This fired me up."
Other festival highlights include a 15-minute documentary on the life and music of Pete Doherty; Vanessa Redgrave introducing a special screening of her new film, The Fever; the biopic Billy Childish Is Dead; and Julian Gilbey's British gangster film Rollin' with the Nines. The festival opens with Jeff Feuerzeig's The Devil and Daniel Johnston, the winner of this year's Sundance Documentary Directing Award.
Wednesday to 9 October (www.raindance.co.uk/festival). Various cinemas, LondonReuse content