The White Stripes have gone on the offensive against a filmmaker they say has released an unauthorized documentary about the duo. “Nobody Knows How To Talk to Children,” which was recently screened at the Seattle Film Festival, was shot by George Roca over the White Stripes’ four-night stand in 2002 at New York’s Bowery Ballroom.
“He wanted to videotape the entire event, stage performance and backstage goings on for his demo reel,” the band writes on its official Web site. “We said yes to his request provided he and his crew agreed to the following conditions: 1) it had to be all shot in black and white 2) the cameramen had to wear uniforms (white lab coats in fact), 3) no camera people were allowed to talk to anyone (this was to present a sense of easiness around the building so that people would be more themselves instead of being intimidated with a camcorder taping them the whole time) and 4) the White Stripes own the footage 100%.
“George Roca agreed to all of these terms. He signed a contract along with his co-workers stating that the White Stripes completely own the footage, and nothing could be done with this without our permission.”
When a rough cut of the film was later sent to Jack and Meg White, they felt it needed additional work and asked to give their input as to its content. “He said OK,” the site says. “With the last three years of intense touring and work schedule, this did not happen. And in fact the White Stripes pretty much saw this project — when done properly — as something we would probably release 10 years from now, not a month after it happened.”
In May, Roca requested permission from the Stripes and their management to screen the film. “For many reasons, we said no,” the band says. “We told him no formally, had lawyers tell him no. We sent him a very nice E-mail telling him no. So despite being told no, George Roca decided to take it upon himself to simply release it to festivals with no approval or permission from the White Stripes, no releases and no licenses, not in keeping with the contract that he signed.”
Roca has been sent a cease-and-desist order to block further screenings of the film. Meanwhile, the Stripes say they have their own concert DVD, shot earlier this year in Blackpool, England, ready for release at the end of the year.
The band will return to the live stage with several August festival appearances, beginning Aug. 1 at Japan’s Fuji Rock festival and wrapping Aug. 28-29 at the U.K.’s Reading and Leeds event.