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CIMM Fest: Review of ‘808’


CIMM Fest headquarters. Photo by Eddy Lamarre for Steed Media Service

For the past decade Chicago has been an epicenter of filmmaking and in many instances the majestic skyline of the city has served as the main character in a long list of movies. We have entered into film festival season. Festivals like Canne, Tribeca and SXSW are a few of the most well-known, however CIMM fest (Chicago International Movies and Music Festival) is moving up in the ranks. Now in its seventh year, CIMM Fest has become an event that opens the door to exposure for independent artists in movies and music. Panels and workshops serve as informational gatherings that add to the knowledge base of individuals who are pursuing their dreams in this field and to the general public.


Photo by Eddy Lamarre for Steed Media Service

CIMM fest is a full week of movies and music, I was privileged enough to be invited to the Chicago premiere of 808 at the Logan Theatre.

Alexander Dunn’s documentary focuses on a drum machine created in Japan by The Roland Corporation. The 808 was not originally slated to be this groundbreaking instrument when it was created; however since 1980 when the machine was first introduced it has served as a backdrop to many genres of music, producing a number of hits. 808 features interviews from early users of the machine, including Afrika Bambata, Rick Rubin, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. It was quite a surprise to discover that one of Marvin Gaye’s greatest hits, “Sexual Healing,” was crafted by a stock rhythm within the 808.

The scope of influence that the 808 has is vast. Dunn does an amazing job of delving into as many genres as he could from 1980 until the present time. 808 serves as a look into the past of a machine that has changed the history of music.

The founder and CEO of You Know Films Alex Noyer, and Producer Hank Shocklee of The Bomb Squad the production team of the legendary Hip Hop group Public Enemy stayed after the showing to answer questions from the audience.

Shocklee spoke passionately about how the 808 helped to shape Public Enemy’s sound. Noyer provided insight into the interviews and spoke to his respect and appreciation for the 808.

Kudos to CIMM Fest for providing an outlet for such a necessary story.


Did you make it to CIMM Fest? Would you go? Did you see 808? What did you think? Tell us about it in the comments.

1 Comment

  1. Lexxi on April 25, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Yes! I was blessed to make it to the Chicago premier of 808 at CIMM Fest! The movie was amazing it took me back to my childhood growing up in the 80’s with the fresh sounds of the 808 in every song I heard! The icing on the cake was being in the presence of Hank Shocklee after the movie and hearing how the 808 played such a huge role in his career as a producer! Awesome time!