Urbanites in Toronto searching for a change from pizza and wine in the park this season, will want to head east to the water to find that something new to perk up their summer eve agenda.

Starting this Thursday, movie night just got a whole lot breezier. Toronto’s Open Roof Festival — a not-for-profit, outdoor music and film festival highlighting independent filmmakers and artists from Canada and around the world— is celebrating its opening night in grandiose rocker style, with music, food, beer, and a live set with Juno award-winning Canadian rock stars, The Sheepdogs, before the screening of the band’s documentary The Sheepdogs Have At It.

The first film to kick of the festival’s weekly screenings between now and August 22 (rain or shine), director John Barnard‘s The Sheepdogs Have At It — tracks The Sheepdogs’ journey to success via Rolling Stone magazine’s cover competition, and the recording their highly anticipated new album.


Other films to screen at this year’s festival include Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers starring James Franco and Selena Gomez, with musical guests ranging from Lilly Mason (July 4) toThe Back Homes (August 8).

Screening at the Moonview Lot (175 Queens Quay East), audiences are invited to come out and catch the best of indie flicks and local music, while soaking in views of the city’s waterfront. With tickets priced at an affordable $15 a pop (with the exception of opening night, which is $25) and $5 from every ticket donated to MusiCounts — Canada’s music education charity helping to keep music alive in schools across the country — the Open Roof Festival ranks high on our summer to-do list.

Below, Ewan Currie, singer & guitarist from The Sheepdogs, chats with us about film and music and everything in between.


So the Open Roof Festival is kicking off its season tonight with your documentary (about you that is), which is opening this week. How do you feel about being the subject of a documentary?

It’s a little strange…we still feel like we’re relatively early in our career and sometimes wonder if we’re interesting enough to warrant a documentary, but John Barnard made us seem compelling.

Well, I’m sure at least a small part of that was owing to you and the band. I hear that after the film opens, you’re heading on a mini-European tour in July. Any particular sights you’re looking forward to?

Trafalgar Square on Canada day is going to be great.

Back to film, do you watch a lot of documentaries?

I think all [of us in the band] enjoy documentaries like Some Kind of Monster, Exit Through The Gift Shop…things like that.

What about your own documentary, The Sheepdogs Have At It, are you happy with it? Do you feel like it represents the band well?

I’ve seen it, and I think it does a pretty good job.

Looking forward to seeing it tonight! What are some of your favourite films?

Personally, my 2 favourites are Taxi Driver and Singing in the Rain. I like both ends of the light and dark spectrum.

They’re definitely two very different films. Bit of a silly question here: in your opinion, would the band be better suited as subjects of a sit-com or dramatic feature film?

I think we’d do well in a comedic setting. The way we interact and rip on each other is rather amusing.

I’d like to see that! Who would play each of your characters in a drama or biopic?

We often play the casting game when we’re bored driving in our van. Mostly [when we play] it turns into a vehicle for insulting each other via unflattering casting: Jason Lee as Ryan, Luke Wilson as Sam, Billy Zane as Leot and Rowdy Roddy Piper as me, Ewan.

Interesting choices! Is there one film that kind of bonds or represents the band?

We really love Tenacious D a lot, both their movies (The Pick of Destiny) and albums.

Published June 20, 2013