Even Detroit is rewriting Belleville Three story – but why?

Last night, God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines finally received its premiere in the city of Detroit. Not only that, but a party took place afterwards to celebrate the event, simply because they could – incidentally, there’s no word yet on whether Derrick May showed up.

As ever, Ears To The House is going to be upfront – we haven’t seen the film yet, but fully intend to watch it as soon as we can. So we don’t intend to make any comment on a film we haven’t even watched – but one thing we are on safer grounds discussing is the way this movie has been promoted.

When this film first entered production, it was very much all about the Belleville Three. As far as they were concerned, Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson were the three men to create the music which became known as techno – but we’ve noticed this story seems to have changed recently.

Instead, the narrative is increasingly about the so-called “techno six” – introducing the likes of Blake Baxter and Eddie Fowlkes to the party. Quite what they make of being invited to the table after decades of exclusion is unclear – although there still appears to be nowhere for the likes of Rik Davis and Thomas Barnett to sit.

Nonetheless, it pays to ask why – in this case, literally so. Distribution and syndication deals can add up to millions of dollars when the right deal from the right company is on the table. It’s an attractive offer to a distributor – they get to show the film and keep much of the money whilst not having to pay to create it in the first place.

This narrative has not changed simply because of the multiple allegations of sexual abuse from multiple sources against Derrick May. It’s true to say this played a role – but the main factor is the film’s release has meant they’ve bumped harshly into the capitalist world. Meaning there’s money to be made from selling the rights around the world.

God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines took a total of 12 years to make. Ears To The House understands that several scenes in the film were redone a number of times in order to keep up with developments. No one was working on the film for free – it would have taken a colossal sum of money to get to this stage alone.

A multi million pound syndication deal would certainly take the sting out of it – not to mention have the added side effect of the story being told becoming a little less false…

Ears To The House Team

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