For Anyone Can Play Guitar, anyone can be an executive producer

The director of a film based on the Oxford music scene is using an unusual source of funding for his new film by asking his fans to help finance its release.

Director Jon Spira, who used to run the Videosyncratic video rental shop on Cowley road, has spent three years condensing 300 hours of footage into the one-and-a-half-hour-long documentary film, called Anyone Can Play Guitar. Spira described making the film as the best experience of his life and has self-funded it so far on what he calls a “microbudget”, but needs another £10,000 to add the finishing touches and get it to premiere.

“We need to raise a little bit more funding,” he said. “The film’s finished but to pay for the sound mix and the picture edit we’ve registered with”

The site allows fans to donate money to the film, and offers reward packages depending on the amount donated. Perks for the highest “Executive Producer”, available to those that donate $800 or more, include an executive producer credit for the film and VIP passes to the premier.

The film has currently raised half of the money required, and Spira has been overwhelmed by the support. “I thought we would probably raise £1000 and relied mainly on my family and friends. Instead complete strangers from around the world have donated to the project.” Spira puts a large part of this down to the bands featured in the film, including The Foals, Radiohead and Supergrass, promoting the film to their own fanbases.

Anyone Can Play Guitar, which takes its name from a Radiohead song, is about the Oxford music scene since the 1980s. The docu-film highlights the development of Oxford-based bands such as Radiohead and Supergrass, amongst others, with interviews with band members, and is narrated by Stewart Lee.

Spira chose to focus on his hometown of Oxford because of its lack of recognition as a breeding ground for strong musicians.

“I’ve grown up in the music scene in Oxford, but whenever people talk about a ‘music scene’ they mean places like Liverpool or London. Oxford has had an unbroken music scene for thirty years, the bands developed here have created genres with their music, I’m surprised no one has ever done this documentary before.”

The film will premiere in Oxford in November, with a preview event at the OX4 Festival on 9 October.