As part of the program of the Beat Film Festival, I got the opportunity to see the documentary “Amanda F***ing Palmer On the Rocks” by director Ondi Timoner. As a long time Amanda fan, I rushed to purchase tickets as soon as I saw Amanda’s face in the Beat Film Festival programme brochure. The small theatre was packed full of people so one would assume that even in Moscow, Amanda Palmer fans are not in short supply.
The film starts with an introduction to Amanda’s success with her Kickstarter campaign. By raising over 1.2 million dollars through direct fan donations, the other-wise unknown Amanda appeared on the world radar. Palmer mentions the criticism she received shortly after her Kickstarter campaign became international news for receiving help directly from her fans and not from traditional means such a record label. Amanda gives the Kickstarter of the Veronica Mars movie as an example of fans supporting the content and receiving exactly what they want. “We are allowed to help each other,” asserts Amanda.
Shortly after Amanda’s Kickstarter campaign gained international acclaim, journalists placed a negative spin on Amanda’s call for volunteer musicians to play with her band The Grand Theft Orchestra. What was intended to be part of community building quickly became “Amanda Palmer doesn’t pay her band.” Amanda is shown to express her frustration of the media’s backlash and misinterpretation of her intentions.
The documentary also shows snippets of Amanda’s TED talk which she had given in February 2013. In the talk she expands on how she sees the future of the music industry and how the “art of asking” can work in the 21st century with the Kickstarter campaign as the primary evidence.
In addition to direct interviews given by Amanda, the director, includes footage from Amanda’s performance at the Boston Pops, post-gig signings, fan meetings as well as her interactions with fans at a few house parties. Amanda proudly asserts that is at the house parties connecting to fans that she feels most successful in being an artist.
The majority of the footage in the documentary was not new and had been circulating on the internet for some time, with the exception of an intimate car interview done by Ondi. While a seasoned Amanda Palmer fan may not find this documentary all that exciting for having seen majority of the footage previously, as a introduction to who Amanda Palmer is and what she does it’s the perfect medium for the conversion of new fans. But, even if you are a long time Amanda Palmer fan or a recent convert you will nonetheless enjoy this clear portrayal of who Amanda is and what is her message to the world. Ondi Timoner had captured the essence of Amanda Fucking Palmer perfectly.
© Ondi Timoner
Follow Amanda on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amandapalmer
Follow Ondi on Twtter: https://twitter.com/onditimoner