The burgeoning rock doc world is always crying out for weird and wonderful tales that haven’t been told before. Could Dons of Disco be the new Searching for Sugar Man? Judge for yourself on the trailer below.
The film, which is featuring at the Slamdance Film Festival next week, is about a lip-syncing scandal which pits an American singer against an Italian male model over the legacy of 1980s ‘Italo Disco’ star Den Harrow.
In the 1980s, Den Harrow dominated the European pop charts with hits like “Future Brain,” “Bad Boy,” and “Don’t Break My Heart.” But thirty years later, American photographer Thomas Barbèy made a startling revelation, that he was the secret voice behind the project, and Italian Stefano Zandri has allegedly been lipsyncing for decades. The film explores who is the true artist behind Den Harrow.
Dons of Disco is directed by Jonathan Sutak, who won Best Short Documentary at the 2015 Las Vegas Film Festival for The Foreigner.
Sutak said that after discovering his father’s record collection, he found a Den Harrow song on a 1980s Italian film soundtrack. Fifteen years later he stumbled across a video on YouTube where the revelations first came out. “My memory clicked and I immediately knew I wanted this scandal to be the subject of my first feature,” he said. “Sure, nobody in America knows about Den Harrow. But they care about art, authorship, collaboration, legacy, deception, self-deception, nostalgia, not to mention ego. And what’s funnier than grappling with those complex issues to the tune of Bad Boy?”
The film, which has already aired at the Rome Film Festival, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and Portland Film Festival, launches in Park City on January 27.