Friday, 21 September 2012

Robert Pereno - 'The Promoter' documentary uncovers his story!

Once upon a time in the early 1980s there was a group called Shock. they cut across various disciplines - combining dance, performance art, robotic dancing and electronic music to create a fushion that went down well in the clubs, but some how never quite crossed over in to the 'mainstream' pop charts despite the best efforts of musical collaborators Rusty Egan (Visage) and Richard Burgess (Landscape).

Some of you may recall that back in #12 of re:VOX we spoke to two of the members of the group - Tim Dry and Barbie Wilde - but while we later spoke to LA Richards for a feature still to be scheduled. But while this was happening it turns out that another memeber of the group, Robert Pereno, was being filmed throughout much of last year for a documentary about his own extraordinary life. It's called The Promoter, and here's the exclusive story (with many thanks to producer Sam Edwards for taking the time to answer all our questions) from re:VOX#17, out now...

When film producer Sam Edwards screened Stealing Elvis at the Film Club in the Sanctum Hotel, Soho in London, she had no idea that showing her first award-winning feature there would lead to her working on a film about the man running that very club, Robert Pereno; previously mentioned in these pages (back in #12) for his work as part of the early 1980s pop/dance troupe Shock.

"Robert is an old friend of mine, getting on for thirty years", Sam Edwards told us, and "I offered to help out at the Film Club". It was then that a strange confluence of events came together. At the same time, Sam now reveals, "My husband, and director, Ed Edwards was eager to start on a new feature film. When Robert asked if we would come and film on his birthday 4th April 2011 – so he could have a record of the day – his home and the film club was full of so many interesting people that we've all known through the years. Robert himself is such a vibrant, charming and funny character with an intriguing past and I said to Ed, ‘this is it, our next film – I think we should make a documentary about him".

Fortunately, Pereno thought it was a "great idea", and they began to film him every week before a film screening at the club, building up a selection of cinéma vérité sequences. "Robert would think of scenarios which he would film, and he would prepare speeches, quotations and pieces to camera about his life". More conventional interviews with Adam Ant, Rusty Egan, LA Richards, Mark Fuller and Eve Ferret were then captured to further "illuminate his story", Sam adds. "It was an eventful year, one that saw Robert go off the rails, his marriage end and for him to have to reinvent himself once again". In the end, the documentary – made for Ed and Sam’s own Ragged Crow production company (formed in 2008) – took over a year to complete up to close of post-production this summer.

This process of reinvention is also very much the hook around which The Promoter revolves, as its promotional material stresses. "Robert Pereno should be a household name", it begins, "however every time he is on the verge of greatness, he somehow manages to mess it up.  This is his story.
An infamous club promoter, actor and singer who describes himself as a bi-polar, loquacious narcissist, Robert Pereno is a seductive, charming and brutally honest man.  The Promoter follows a year in his life… Robert gives an overview of his past from a privileged up-bringing in ex-pat Calcutta during the 60s, to his foray into music, acting and club land."

The film will now be submitted to various key film festivals, with a website now live at: www.the, where a trailer should now be running too. Various other activities are planned for Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Robert will soon be starting his own blog for the movie, as a "keen diarist and a great blogger" anyway, and once a film festival premiere has been arranged, this will be followed by on-line flyers, trailers on YouTube, Vimeo and by "promotion with contacts we have in the local and national press". You can also view their award-winning Wardance, and their most recent short film Crossfire – a love story filmed against the actual backdrop of the London riots in 2011, which opened recently at The London Independent Film Festival 2012 – at

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