A new documentary by Jason Willis and Mike Plante, takes us behind the scenes of the legendary punk show by The Cramps and The Mutants at a psychiatric facility in the 1970s—during a critical moment in the future of mental health care.
WE WERE THERE TO BE THERE takes place as cuts to crucial social services loom under Ronald Reagan, and into the psychiatric facility that is hosting the legendary punk show performed by The Cramps and The Mutants.
On June 13, 1978, The Cramps and The Mutants played a free show for patients at Napa State Hospital. San Francisco-based collective Target Video was there to capture the iconic performance on tape. Threading moments from the Napa State set with commentary from band members and those who witnessed it firsthand, WE WERE THERE TO BE THERE provides a crucial backstory for the recording of one of the most legendary shows in the history of music, at a critical moment in the future of mental health care in the US.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
MIKE PLANTE makes documentaries about outsiders. He produced the feature Giuseppe Makes A Movie (2014, directed by Adam Rifkin), about trailer park underground filmmaker Giuseppe Andrews. It played Hot Docs, Los Angeles Film Festival and Rooftop Films, then was released by Cinelicious Pics to theaters, blu-ray and VHS. Plante has directed many short docs, including The Polaroid Job (2016), about his family’s childhood business taking photos of Santa and running haunted houses. The short was acquired by The New York Times Op-Doc series and nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award. His first feature as director was Be Like An Ant (2011), about a man building a house from scratch so he could deal with his time in Vietnam. His second feature is an essay film about Wyatt Earp and the mythology of the wild west. And With Him Came the West (2019) premiered at MoMA Doc Fortnight and was released by Grasshopper Films to theaters and streaming. It won the True West Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for Best Documentary.
JASON WILLIS is an award-winning multimedia creative professional located in Tucson, AZ. Specializing in directing, editing, video and motion graphics, his diversified skills include stop motion, live action, graphic design, photography, and animation production. His short film Catnip: Egress to Oblivion? won the Sundance Audience Award for Best Short Film in 2013 and has been featured in a variety of publications including the Atlantic, USA Today, Buzzfeed and Roger Ebert’s Film Journal. As a designer, Jason is always excited to explore new creative avenues of communication, with a particular focus on offbeat visual styles, mixed media techniques, and humor.
ABOUT FIELD OF VISION – Founded in 2015, Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven visual journalism and documentary unit that commissions and supports filmmakers and artists with developing and ongoing stories around the globe. Recent projects have included the Oscar®-winning feature AMERICAN FACTORY, the Oscar®-nominated features STRONG ISLAND; and HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING; and Oscar®-nominated shorts DO NOT SPLIT, A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN and IN THE ABSENCE, as well as the Emmy-winning feature CRIME + PUNISHMENT, and Emmy-nominated feature THE SURRENDER.
Field of Vision has an ongoing commitment supporting innovation and diversity and as such 54% of Field of Vision-supported films have been directed by women and 43% by filmmakers of color. Since its foundation Field of Vision has commissioned, produced and/or supported more than 45 features, 5 episodic series, and 85 short films. This work has premiered at Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, SXSW, Hot Docs, Tribeca, and IDFA, among many other festivals garnering numerous accolades and awards. An emphasis on short films has allowed Field of Vision to support fast responses to unfolding political moments in countries including Brazil, France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, The Philippines, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, and Sudan.