Force Be With You

November 21, 2011

Last year, I saw a listing for the documentary “Positive Force: More Than a Witness,” which traces the history of the D.C. punk-activist collective. The DVD was advertised in a catalog for the radical publishing house PM Press, and the movie’s release seemed imminent. Then a Kickstarter.com link recently started making the social-media rounds, with director Robin Bell looking to raise $15,000 to complete the film in 2012. Bell has until Nov. 30 to meet his goal, or the project won’t be funded through the Kickstarter campaign.

Positive Force started in 1985, using punk shows to raise money and awareness about local issues. (The above image from the film’s DVD cover is of a 1993 Fugazi benefit for Positive Force at the Sylvan Theater.) The volunteer collective — which was co-founded and is still organized by Mark Andersen, co-author of an incredible oral history of the D.C. scene titled “Dance of Days” — handles everything from free grocery deliveries for seniors to outreach programs for sex workers.

The preview trailer for Bell’s documentary features a title card that says “25 years of punk politics in action.” He’ll have to update that, but Positive Force’s ideal remains constant.

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Clinton Yates | November 21, 2011