The Woods Hole Film Festival presents WHFF Virtual: WBCN and The American Revolution

May 23, 2020 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Woods Hole Film Festival


On Saturday, May 23, 2020 the Woods Hole Film Festival and MVYRADIO join forces to present a virtual screening event of the heralded feature documentary WBCN and The American Revolution, followed by an online Q&A with the film’s director Bill Lichtenstein, Debbie Ullman, WBCN’s first female DJ, New England Blues musician James Montgomery and PJ Finn, station manager of 88.7 WMVY.

Originally slated for inclusion in the Woods Hole Film Festival’s Dinner & A Movie film series, the film will now be presented as part of Festival shift to hosting virtual screening events necessitated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual screening events include an opportunity to view curated independent films and to participate in live Q&A’s with the filmmakers and other special guests.

“WBCN and The American Revolution” is a landmark, feature-length documentary that tells the previously untold story of the early days of the radical, underground radio station, WBCN, set against the dazzling and profound social, political, and cultural changes that took place in Boston and nationally during the late-1960s and early-70s. It’s the incredible, true story of how a radio station, politics and rock and roll changed everything.

The film shows how Boston, which was overshadowed in 1967 by the exploding psychedelic scenes in both San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district and New York City’s East Village, emerged as the central crossroad of the counterculture and political activism in the late-1960s and early-1970s.

The story is told through the extraordinary history of WBCN, which in its early days called itself “The American Revolution,” and the personal and political journeys of a compelling cast of characters who connect and intersect through the radio station and exploding music scenes, militant anti-war activism, civil rights struggles, and the emerging women’s and LGBTQ-liberation movements.

The film includes dramatic first-person accounts from the radio station’s staff along with newly filmed and archival material that features the leading political, social, cultural and musical figures of the day, who crossed paths with the radio station. They include Noam Chomsky, Abbie Hoffman, Jane Fonda, Jerry Garcia and Duane Allman, Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen in his first radio interview, and Patti Smith, performing in her first live radio broadcast.

The documentary also includes never before exhibited film material shot by Andy Warhol and cinema vérité pioneer Ricky Leacock and images from leading photojournalists of the day, including the late Peter Simon, brother of Carly Simon, who is interviewed in the film.

These dramatic and compelling stories in “WBCN and The American Revolution” are expertly and powerfully interwoven with the original sights and sounds of the critical events of the era, through the more than 100,000 audio and visual items shared by the public for the film in an unprecedented archives search. The film tells a story that is timely and relevant, especially to young people, who are seeking to use media to create social change.

Documentary Feature by Bill Lichtenstein, USA, 2019, 120 min.

Ticket purchasers will receive a link to access the film beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 23 and the film will be viewable for 48 hours beginning when you first start to watch. Tickets will be on sale through Sunday, May 24 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.