I Am Weekender

UK 2003, 51 mins
Director: Chloé Raunet

+ Q&A with Chloé Raunet and WIZ, hosted by Miranda Sawyer. Intro music: Weekender (Requiem for Lost Friends Mix) by Tim Dorney.

All those attending tonight’s screening are invited to a private after party at The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JD from 10.30pm. Please bring this sheet as your entry ticket and expect DJ sets from David Holmes and Chris Camm until 1am.

Fuelled by Flowered Up’s epic soundtrack, WIZ’s Weekender was a film ahead of its time. A journey into 1990s club and drug culture, it received an 18 certificate and was banned on mainstream TV. Since then, the film has gained genuine cult status. Now fully restored from the original negative, this tangible document of the British rave scene is coupled with Chloé Raunet’s feature-length documentary about the making of the film and its enduring impact, offering a unique insight into the heart of acid house.

Flowered Up’s Weekender was released in 1992. It was a film ahead of its time, both in form and content.

Through uncompromising yet imaginative ways, director WIZ engaged with contemporary issues that mainstream media were eager to sensationalise. Consequently, it was branded with an 18 certificate and banned by both the BBC and ITV, never reaching a wide audience. For the past three decades, Weekender has bubbled just below the surface, gaining genuine cult status and influencing a vast network of creators.

At the end of 2020, mid-lockdown and in the run-up to its thirtieth anniversary, filmmakers Tabitha Denholm and Adam Dunlop conducted a series of Zoom interviews with people involved in the project, alongside others it touched. I Am Weekender is built around those conversations, the 16mm rushes and WIZ’s personal archive. The result is a unique, cinematic journey into the heart of Acid House.

Not wanting to rely exclusively on nostalgia, documentary director Chloé Raunet drew attention to some lesser-known aspects of the culture, attempting to highlight a more diverse range of voices. Weekender co-star Anna Haigh’s first hand female perspective, and Quaff Records founder Roy ‘The Roach’ Marsh describing the Black experience of the early scene were vital to unlocking a richer narrative.

Twenty-seven interviewees offered a wide range of views, but for Raunet, Weekender’s ‘SUCK DRUGS DRUGS SUCK’ messaging seemed the clearest and most ubiquitous path through. It summed up the subject matter of the film, the surrounding controversy, and provided insight to the band. It also suggested that WIZ’s vision could be considered a poignant prophecy of the Flowered Up brothers’ untimely demise.

Bound to a limited amount of source material, much of I Am Weekender relies on visual metaphor, reinterpreting the rushes in context of this broader narrative. By using the fish tank in the ‘making of’ studio segment, Raunet attempts to inject a bit of uncanniness into what are otherwise conventional, zoom interviews.

As a first-time long format filmmaker, the entire process involved a steep learning curve. In exchange for dog walking, editing supervisor Mark Hopkinson provided invaluable technical advice and office space over the course of winter 2021/22.

And licensing a soundtrack of pre-digital, 12” dancefloor coup de coeur on a tight budget presented some unique challenges for producer Martin Kelly, but his perseverance as well as the generosity of many artists and labels got it over the finish line.

Post production was completed at Onsight in February 2023 with the documentary dedicated to Lee Whitlock, the lead actor of Weekender, who sadly passed away, days before sign-off.
Production notes

Miranda Sawyer on ‘Weekender’
First things first. Weekender isn’t a music promo. It’s a film. A fully realised cinematic experience. A properly told adventure of a proper night out: from the end of day slump to the one-for-all experience of a room full of friends, drugs and music, a good time that lasts forever, right up until the moment that you stumble back out into cold bright reality to contemplate your own small place in the order of life…

In Weekender, we live our hero’s life with him. The tick-tock tedium of his day. The anticipation and explosive joy of the night. The storm of a million emotions coursing through him as he dances on the same spot. We feel his disorientation, bemused by his own reflection as his insides churn, his perception flickers. We sympathise as he squirms in the chilly dawn light, as he climbs up and drops slowly from the top of a tall building, down down down to the ground, trapped but secure on his window cleaner’s platform. Inside his work cage, but looking at the sky. He’s wrecked.

And, like a favourite track – like the amazing song that is the heartbeat of the film – we know that this history is made to repeat. It will retell itself, over and over; an eternal circle, an endless echo. The story of a party animal eating his own tale.

Everyone involved in making Weekender, from director WIZ (Andrew Whiston) and label owner Jeff Barrett to actors Lee Whitlock and Anna Haigh, knew the film was going to be something special, something more than an everyday music video. They’d known it had to be, ever since they’d heard the original track, from Camden ravers Flowered Up.
Miranda Sawyer, I Am Weekender BFI Blu-ray booklet

Shot in 1989 at a Boy’s Own Party in Kent, with the ghost of Derek Jarman and Mozart behind WIZ’s Super 8 camera. Featuring such acid house luminaries as Danny and Jenni Rampling, Breeze, Andrew Weatherall, Terry Farley and Anna Haigh, this singular and intimate short delicately captures the guileless beauty of these ecstasy pioneers. Should you want to know why people take drugs, watch this: these people are high, not wasted. Enchanting.
I Am Weekender BFI Blu-ray booklet

Directed and edited by: Chloé Raunet
Produced by: Martin Kelly, Andrew Whiston
Executive Producers: Adam Dunlop, Tabitha Denholm, Rob Stringer
Editing Supervisor: Mark Hopkinson
Editing Assistant: Hazel Fotheringham
Interviews by: Tabitha Denholm
Interview Capture and First Assembly: Adam Dunlop
Special Consultants: Des Penney, Tabitha Denholm
Research: Arabella Glaß
AFX Artist: Georgina Thompson
Motion Designer: Hazel Fotheringham
Post Production: Onsight
Post Producer: Cem Kilinchan
Online Editor: Andrew Fisun
Colourist: Emily Russul Saib
Sound Supervisor: Andy Coles

Adam Smith
Anna Haigh
Annie Nightingale
Barry Mooncult
Bobby Gillespie
Clive Langer
Daniel Wolfe
Des Penney
David Holmes
Dinara Drukarova
Elliot Power
Irvine Welsh
Jagz Kooner
Jeff Barrett
Jeremy Deller
John Tuvey
Kim Mnguni
Lee Whitlock
Lynne Ramsay
Mark Moore
Miranda Sawyer
Richard Fearless
Roisin Murphy
Roy The Roach
Sacha Souter
Shaun Ryder
Tim Dorney

UK 2023
51 mins

Written and Directed by: WIZ
Music by: Flowered Up
Executive Producers: Jeff Barrett, Rob Stringer
Commissioned by: Jeff Barrett, Steve Hodges, Ollie Weait
Produced by: Adam Dunlop
Line Producer: Nicci Power
Production Manager: Jayne Griffiths
Production Assistant: Lou Whiston
Continuity: Claudia Dunlop
First Assistant Director: Dominic Fysh
Second Assistant Director: David Greenhalgh
Cinematography: Tim Maurice-Jones
Camera Operator: Andy Horner
Film Editor: Robert Milton Wallace
Special Consultant: Des Penney
Production Design: Vince Evans
Costume Design: Rachael Fleming
Hair: Chris Camm
Make-up: Sacha Souter
Sound Designer: Johnnie Burn
Sound Recordist: Michelle Mascol

Anna Haigh
Lee Whitlock
David Doyle
Flowered Up: Liam Maher, Joe Maher, Tim Dorney, Mick Leader, John Tuvey, Barry Mooncult

UK 1992
17 mins

Directed, Produced and Edited by: WIZ
Camera Operator: David Greenhalgh
Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K.467 Andante by: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Orchestra: The London Philharmonia
Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch

UK 1990
4 mins

Available on BFI Blu-ray from 19 June

Following the screening + Q&A there will be
a live DJ set.

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Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound & the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email