‘Let Them Know’ delves into ‘70s underground punk scene

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers returns to Western Carolina University at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, with “Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records,” a trip into Los Angeles’ underground punk scene in the late 1970s.

This historical documentary profiles the Stern brothers, who at ages 19 and 20 organized what they hoped would be a more positive take on punk rock. They established a venue where punks ran the door, security, sound and lights, and worked the bar and restaurant. The venue’s success at attracting local, national and international acts helped grow the punk community and solidify the movement.

Shawn and Mark Stern eventually created their own record label and released their own album under the name Youth Brigade. The album earned rave reviews and today is considered to be one of the top 100 punk albums of all time.

Director Jeff Alulis graduated from the University of Southern California’s prestigious graduate screenwriting program in 2002 and shortly thereafter formed Emo Riot Productions alongside co-producer Ryan Harlin. “Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records” is Alulis and Harlin’s second feature-length film collaboration. Alulis will discuss the film with audience members after the screening.

Southern Circuit is the nation’s only regional tour of independent filmmakers, providing communities with an interactive way of experiencing independent film. The goal is to connect audiences with independent filmmakers and encourage them to talk with one another about the films and their meanings. The tour comes to WCU in conjunction with the 2009-10 Lectures, Concerts and Exhibitions Series, which brings a dynamic mix of arts and culture to campus.

The next film in the Southern Circuit series will be “The Way We Get By” on Thursday, Oct. 29. Beginning as a seemingly idiosyncratic story about troop greeters — a group of senior citizens who gather daily at a small airport to thank American soldiers departing and returning from Iraq — the film quickly turns into a moving, unsettling and compassionate story about aging, loneliness, war and mortality.

Additional films in the Southern Circuit Tour include: “Flying on One Engine,” Nov. 19; “TRIMPIN: The Sound of Invention,” Feb. 18; “God’s Architects,” March 25; and “Between Floors,” April 15.

All films are shown in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center on the WCU campus. Admission is free.

For more information about the Southern Circuit Tour, visit www.southarts.org/southerncircuit and click on the programs and events tab. For more information about film showings at WCU call 828.227.3622.

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