A Celluloid Celebration Of John Lennon’s 70th Birthday

John Lennon loved movies. It was in a Liverpool cinema that he first encountered Elvis Presley. John was 15 and in the balcony. Elvis was 21 and on the screen. It led to John taking up music as his rock ‘n’ roll ticket-to-ride out of the nowhere that was post-war Liverpool. One year later he was playing live to 400 villagers at a church garden party when he met Paul McCartney – the Big Bang that led to the Beatles. And exactly 10 years after that, he and Paul (together with George and Ringo) were playing live to 400 MILLION members of the global village as they performed “All You Need Is Love” to the planet that now belonged to the Fab Four.

No scriptwriter would have dared to write such an implausible scenario. Yet it all happened in what Derek Taylor rightly described as the 20th Century’s Greatest Romance.

This festival celebrates the 70th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth with a rich mixture of features and documentaries that capture the insouciant charm, biting wit and inspiring music that has endeared Lennon to every generation to encounter his unique genius.

And under it all, the films also show the emotional scars and pain that he channeled into his music and activism.

From the exuberant lightning-caught-in-a-bottle of WHAT’S HAPPENING! to the giddy pop-art of HELP!… From the insightful IMAGINE to the heart-breaking mind games played on him revealed in the US vs JOHN LENNON – his fearless honesty and passion shine like a beacon. TWO OF US poignantly captures the last time that John and Paul met. Our L.A. Premiere of NOWHERE BOY portrays their first meeting, the evolution of the Beatles and the entire backdrop of his complex childhood in a way that helps us the audience ‘understand the little child inside the man’.

And we’re truly blessed to have his original band-mates the Quarrymen performing a full concert on opening night (after Nowhere Boy) to celebrate what we guarantee will be a Lennon (and splendid) time for all.

Festival produced & hosted by Martin Lewis. Assisted by Grant Moniger.

The Mods & Rockers Film Festival

Proudly Presents


A Celluloid Celebration
Of John Lennon’s 70th Birthday

Thursday September 30 – Sunday October 03, 2010

Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA
(Two blocks east of Highland Avenue)

Map • Parking

We are delighted to present this special cinematic tribute to John Lennon on the 70th anniversary of his birth. The festival includes the West Coast Premiere of “Nowhere Boy” – the new biopic about John Lennon – and a mixture of rarities and classics. The Premiere of “Nowhere Boy” on Thursday September 30 is a special birthday celebration event that includes a concert by the still-active founding-members of John Lennon’s first band -The Quarrymen. The festival is dedicated to Amnesty International which counts Yoko Ono as one of its foremost supporters.

Click here for more information about this film festival.

Thursday September 30th – 8:00pm

(note 8pm starting time)

Multi-Media 70th Birthday Salute to John Lennon!
Los Angeles Premiere & Exclusive Concert!
In-Person: Director Sam Taylor-Wood & star Aaron Johnson
Plus The Quarrymen – John Lennon’s Original Band-Mates!

NOWHERE BOY (2010, Weinstein Co.)
Nowhere Boy tells the dramatic and poignant story of the teenage Lennon as he struggles with the complexities of his family life and starts a group – The Quarrymen (the band that became the Beatles) – as his rock ‘n’ roll ticket to ride out of his painful circumstances. Starring Aaron Johnson (“Kick-Ass”) and Kristin Scott Thomas (“English Patient”). Directed by Anthony Minghella protege Sam Taylor-Wood.

Live Concert Following! THE QUARRYMEN play a full set of the songs they performed with John, Paul & George in the early days.

Discussion between the film and concert with director Sam Taylor-Wood, star Aaron Johnson plus the Quarrymen (all were childhood pals of John) and Beatles scholar Martin Lewis

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TRAVEL NOTE: There is another film premiere in Hollywood on this night at the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. and traffic will be heavy. The recommendation is to approach the Egyptian Theatre area via Sunset Blvd. rather than Hollywood Blvd. Leave early and allow extra travel time!

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Friday October 1st – 7:30pm

Ultra-rare 1964 documentary – never on TV or DVD!
Plus the rarely-seen first-ever overview docu made about the Beatles

WHAT’S HAPPENING! THE BEATLES IN THE USA (1964, Maysles Films, 81 min.)
The Maysles Brothers were commissioned by a UK TV network to document The Beatles’ first US visit. After completing the 30-minute program, they fashioned the wealth of material they’d shot into a full-length feature – but their hoped-for theatrical release in 1964 was squashed because of contractual conflicts (the imminent release of A HARD DAY’S NIGHT). A severely truncated version appeared on US network TV just once in 1964. Some of the source material was eventually used by Apple (completely re-edited and intercut with other content) to make the 1991 home-video compilation “The Beatles First U.S. Visit”. But the original full-length film – as shot, edited and directed in 1964 by the Maysles Brothers – has rarely been seen anywhere – and only once before in California. This film will NEVER be on TV or DVD. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to see this film in which John shines like a beacon.

MIGHTY GOOD! The Beatles (1976, Isolde Films, 60 min)
British enfant terrible Tony Palmer first befriended John Lennon in 1963. In 1968, Lennon instigated Palmer’s film “All My Loving” which provocatively documented the massive cultural earthquake of late 60s music. Thrilled with that, in 1972, Lennon suggested that Palmer make a PBS “Civilization”-type series chronicling 20th century popular music. Palmer took up the challenge (the Lennon-titled 17-part “All You Need Is Love”) and both Lennon & McCartney assisted him in producing this first-ever overview documentary about the Beatles as one of the series’ set-pieces. Replete with ultra-rare footage and fresher memories than in ‘Anthology” made some 20 years later.

THINGS THEY SAID TODAY: Reflections On A Hard Day’s Night (2002, Shenson Films, 35 min. Dir. Martin Lewis)
A penetrating documentary about the instigation, production and release of the Beatles’ first movie. With rare scenes and exclusive interviews.

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Saturday October 2nd – 7:30pm

Ultra-rare L.A. Screening of the digitally-restored 1965 classic “Help!”
Plus L.A. Theatrical Premiere of Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s classic about John & Paul

HELP! (1965, Apple, 81 min. Dir. Richard Lester)
The second Beatles film was comparatively less exalted than A HARD DAY’S NIGHT on its release. Lennon famously quipped “we were extras in our own film”. However, in recent years the film’s reputation has been on the upswing and it is now recognized as a pop-art classic in the Lester canon. Lennon himself re-evaluated the film in 1980 expressing admiration for its pioneering style. It overflows with sumptuous mid-era Beatles tunes and the charismatic cheek and charm of the Fab Four – who incidentally (by their own admission) were high as kites throughout the shoot! This digitally-restored print has only screened once before in L.A. Don’t miss this special salute to John.

TWO OF US (2000, Aaronson/Falk Prods, 89 min)
Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg who had directed the Beatles early promotional music films and their 1970 swansong LET IT BE, made this charming dramatization of the true-life last encounter between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The two famously met up for a day in New York City in April 1976 while Paul was winging over America and John was house-husbanding in the Dakota. 19 years after these musical blood brothers first met, what (unbeknownst to them) would be their last time together is charming, funny, insightful and poignant. With Jared Harris as John and Aidan Quinn as Paul.

Plus uber-rarities! Conversation between films with Beatles scholar Martin Lewis who was consultant on Two Of Us.

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Sunday October 3rd – 7:30pm

Two powerful documentaries on John Lennon
Film-maker David Leaf in person

THE U.S. vs JOHN LENNON (2006, Lionsgate, 99 min. Dirs. David Leaf & John Scheinfeld)
Of all John Lennon’s considerable achievements, the fact that at the age of 31, he was feared by the most powerful man in the world – the US President – speaks volumes. This powerful documentary documents the illegal abuse of power by which the Nixon White House sicked the FBI onto Lennon and tried to have him deported because it feared Lennon’s popularity and activism for peace might cost Nixon the presidency. The film exposes the harassment that Lennon experienced and reveals Lennon’s courage in the face of all that Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover did to try and muzzle him.

There will be an introduction and Q&A with filmmaker David Leaf.

IMAGINE: JOHN LENNON (1988, Warner Bros. 100 min)
Director Andrew Solt sifted through hundreds of hours of footage to shape this evocative and definitive portrait of John Lennon. Made with the blessing of Yoko Ono and the Beatles but with independence secured to allow Solt the freedom to work with the material, the film is narrated by Lennon himself using the wealth of interviews he gave during his life. The film somehow crams in the ten Beatles years, the ten solo years and the twenty formative years that preceded the fame and provides great insight into Lennon’s life. The film makes us laugh, cry and most of all – imagine…

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