TVD Radar: Rockers,
The Making of Reggae’s Most Iconic Film
in
stores 6/2020

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The 320 page, 9” x 12” hardcover book with more than 300 stunning color and black and white images by filmmaker / photographer Ted Bafaloukos explores the inspirations behind—and making of —the hugely influential reggae film Rockers, from 1975 to 1978, with extensive text by the late photographer.

Set amongst the reggae scene of late-1970s Jamaica, the film Rockers achieved instant cult status among music and cinema fans upon its release in 1978, with worldwide distribution by 1980. Rockers director Ted Bafaloukos received many accolades for his work on the film, but the fact that he was also a fine writer and documentary photographer has been overlooked. Bafaloukos penned this vivid autobiography in 2015, less than a year before his passing.

Beyond Bafaloukos’ fascinating story of the making of Rockers, the book tells the tale of a Greek immigrant from a family of sailors and his move to New York, eventually rubbing shoulders with the likes of The Velvet Underground, Robert Frank, Jessica Lange, and Philippe “Man on Wire” Petit. Bafaloukos fell in love with reggae when it was still just an underground facet of Jamaican culture in the City. His experiences in New York eventually led him to shoot Rockers, praised for the portrait it paints of Kingston’s late-‘70s music scene along with its unique style and aesthetic.

The director’s intense experiences in Jamaica and New York between 1975 and 1978 provide the substance of the incredible stories that complement the incredible photos, including: gunshots at his first ever reggae concert in Brooklyn; the director’s bizarre arrest for suspicion of being a CIA operative; paranoia at the Bob Marley compound and “street photography” taken of the legend in NYC years before; musicians-turned actors’ “rude boy” antics; and naturally, sympathetic, highly descriptive recollections of the music that first drew Bafaloukos into Jamaica’s music and culture.

“When we get to Jack Ruby’s yard, around seven, the place is packed. There are hundreds of people there, already spilling out onto the street. His monstrous amplifier, “The Boss,” is causing a continuous local earthquake. I am running a fever and have nobody to assist me. Otherwise, things are looking great. Leroy Smart, Doctor Alimantado, Dirty Harry and another dread, unimaginatively called “D.J,” are up from Kingston, “barking” in their three-piece suits and hats. Eugenie has dressed Bongo Herman in a metallic green suit and matching hat. He looks, and acts, like an oversexed June bug. His two wishes, to be seen rubbing against a fat girl and jumping the fence when the police arrive, will be met in the course of the evening.”

An invaluable collection of photographs taken during the conception, writing and production of the film captures the zeitgeist and breathes life into the book. Production stills and photos taken during the era by Bafaloukos form the visual, cinematic backbone of the tome, faithfully rendering the amazing people, styles, and locations in living, breathing color. Taken all together, the text and images within Rockers will uncover new facets of this all-important era in Reggae music for even the most seasoned reggae aficionados.

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