Again this year, Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest — including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies. Today he spotlights selections for November 9, 10 and 11: Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records, The Wild Pear Tree and Burning.
Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records
Directed by Julia Nash
6:45 p.m. Friday, November 9, 9 p.m. Saturday, November 10
It's an understatement to say that Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey has a high level of interest in Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records.
"As soon as I saw this come across my desk, it was like, 'I don't even need to watch this. Let's schedule it,'" he acknowledges. "But I watched it, and it's great. It hits every note you want it to hit."
The Wax Trax retail outlet, at 638 East 13th Avenue, has been a Denver staple for decades. But many new arrivals to the Mile High City may not know its fascinating history or connection to the Wax Trax! Records label and store in Chicago — the focus of Industrial Accident.
Here's the trailer to the film.
According to Withey, the film's director, Julia Nash, "is the daughter of the original owner" — Jim Nash, who founded the Denver store with Dannie Flesher before selling it in 1978 and relocating to the Midwest. "They opened a store in Chicago, but it also became a record label and distributor and concert promoter."
The influence of the recordings released by the Wax Trax! imprint, most of which are generally classified as industrial music, a sub-genre that draws from punk rock, underground dance and electronic sounds and more, is underscored by a slew of artists and performers who speak in the film.
The film spoke personally to Withey. "I moved to Denver in 1987, and I spent the first couple of years here just wandering up 13th between Washington and Pearl," he recalls. "And there's a huge population of people in Denver to whom that time period is really important."
As a bonus, director Nash is scheduled to be joined at the screening by a number of notable folks with a connection to Wax Trax!, including Boulder-born Dead Kennedys leader Jello Biafra, Ministry's Al Jourgensen and Frankie Nardiello, aka Groovie Mann of My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. "It's going to be a really fun screening and Q&A," Withey predicts, "and afterward, Jello's going to do a DJ session at the Lion's Lair."
As for the film, Withey says that for folks who grew up during the era, "it's like music porn."