Film-News.co.uk had the pleasure of interviewing director Derrick Borte prior to the digital release of London Town on December 26th 2016. Please click above for the full uncut interview.
Its England, 1979 and unemployment has hit the working class suburbs of London, particularly hard. 14 year old SHAY BAKER has had to grow up quickly, as his family is struggling to stay afloat, he takes care of his 6 year old sister ALICE while his father NIGEL works two jobs.
One day, Shay receives a package from his estranged mother, SANDRINE. Inside is a cassette tape featuring the newest music from London. Shay is captured by the raw energy of The Clash's WHITE RIOT as it pounds through his ears, opens his mind and he loses himself in it until the reality of his responsibilities pull him away.
On a day trip into London to run an errand for his dad, Shay meets VIVIAN, a 15 year old punk girl, who introduces him to the music of The Clash and invites him to a show. He's immediately taken by her beauty, wit, and bold confidence.
When a piano moving accident leaves Nigel unconscious in the hospital, Shay is overcome with guilt, blaming himself for not tightening the straps. In order to keep things running at home and avoid he and Alice being sent away, he is forced to run the music shop during the day, as well as drive Nigel's taxi at night. At the same time, he's falling for Vivian, as well as finding his voice in the music of The Clash. Alice gets ill, and Shay must make a decision: risk being found out by child protective services, or go in search of his mom in hopes of getting help.
In finding his mom, the free spirited SANDRINE, who left the family for London to pursue her dreams of being a singer, Shay finds temporary shelter among the others in the squat where she lives. He attends his first Clash concert, has a run- in with the law and loses his virginity, physically and mentally.
While Nigel still lies unconscious, Shay struggles to pay the bills. He soon realizes that Sandrine is irresponsible and wants to be his friend rather than his mom, and that Vivian is not the radical punk who she pretends to be. He escapes in the music as a way of expressing his frustration at his personal as well as the larger political situation.
Just as all seems to be lost; Dad's taxi is repossessed and the music shop is locked for back rent, Shay is inspired to take a chance that could bail them out. He distances himself from Sandrine but takes the music with him. With Nigel on the mend, and after reconciling with Vivian, Shay musters the courage to take a leap that offers hope to the struggling family.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION:
London Town was shot on location in East London, UK in the summer of 2015. Jonathan Rhys Meyers sings all of the Clash songs that he performs in the film and they were produced by legendary music producer Steve McLaughlin. It was shot in 24 days and made use of the UK Tax credit. The film is a UK co- production. Legendary drummer Steve Jordan produced the other tracks and Sundance Winner Bryan Senti is the composer.
Clash Songs in the movie:
White Riot White Man In Hammersmith Palais Clash City Rockers Clampdown London’s Burning Police & Thieves
London Town is released digitally on December 26th 2016.