The trailer for local film HERBS: Songs of Freedom has been released today casting a loving and admiring eye on iconic Kiwi band Herbs. The film will receive its world premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival at The Civic in Auckland on August 3rd ahead of a nationwide general release on August 15th.
Directed by Tearepa Kahi (Poi E: The Story of Our Song), HERBS: Songs of Freedom brings together the band’s key living members in an emotional round of interviews, jams and memories culminating in a reunion concert. 40 years on from the formation of the band in the heat of the 1970s Dawn Raids and the Bastion Point occupation, the film documents the band in the context of music as social activism.
HERBS: Songs of Freedom explores the success of Herbs, the much-loved pioneers of Pacific Reggae with interviews with band members past and present, as well as exclusive full-length concert footage from the reunion show. The band were creators of uniquely Kiwi protest songs ‘French Letter’, the classic ‘Sensitive to a Smile’ and garage-party good-times anthem ‘Long Ago’.
Director Tearepa Kahi commented on the film: “When I grew up, Herbs represented a new voice – they brought fresh narratives and choruses to the front line of New Zealand. Their brand of reggae had widespread popular appeal, but they weren’t just a good time, they opened our eyes to what was really happening."
It's one thing to hold a placard, chant and march against a dragon. It's another to pick up a red guitar and slay the dragon with reggae. And that's Herbs.
Produced by Cliff Curtis (Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, Eagle Vs Shark) and Reikura Kahi (Poi E: The Story of Our Song), HERBS: Songs of Freedom was produced by Boot Hill Films, Jawbone in association with Herbs.
HERBS: Songs of Freedom was funded by New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Air, Te Māngai Pāho and Māori Television Service and is distributed by Rialto Distribution.