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Serious Drugs is an endearing look inside the world of Duglas Stewart and the BMX Bandits. The title is the Bandits’ best-known song, in which Stewart pleads for the love of a girl who advises him to up his meds. An intimate portrait of the Bandits’ main man, the film explores the mix of fragility and strength that informs Stewart’s life, music, and his struggles with depression. First time filmmaker Jim Burns discovered the music of the BMX Bandits during a period of heavy depression in his life. While listening to a Bandits song, Burns thought “This guy understands what it’s like to be lonely.” An incredibly personal project for Burns, the film was shot over a four year period following Stewart and his fellow Bandits, interspersed with rare footage and photos from their 25 year career. Throughout the film, it becomes clear that the music and creative outlet provide great solace for musician and filmmaker. Burns captures the spirit and desire of Stewart to communicate the thoughts and emotions often swirling in his head. Those who endure their own sleepless nights will easily identify with the struggle to want to scream and shout aloud. Stewart chooses to do so through shimmery indie pop songs. The music is autobiographical. It’s where Stewart is at in a particular time. If it’s in a good place, the songs reflect it. It’s almost like therapy. The film premiered in December 2011 at Glasgow Popfest and screened in February 2012 at the London Popfest.
released 24 December 2012