Roger Waters Says ‘The Wall’ is ‘Unashamedly Anti-War’

Brent Lang
Senior Film and Media Reporter

Roger Waters is bringing one of his greatest artistic triumphs to the screen at a time when war and armed conflict is consuming broad swaths of the planet.

At the Toronto Film Festival premiere of “Roger Waters’ The Wall,” the former Pink Floyd singer and guitarist said he was inspired to make a film of his wildly successful concert tour of the famous album out of political necessity.

“Any armed conflict is an underscore and an exclamation mark to this movie, because this movie is unashamedly anti-war, ecumenical, and about love for all men and women whatever their race, color, creed, nationality or whatever,” said Waters.

It’s also the second time that a film has been made of “The Wall,” but unlike the 1982 Alan Parker film, this isn’t a narrative picture and it’s not autobiographical. That film dealt with an emotionally isolated singer, but the 2014 version widens its canvas, while retaining a soundtrack that includes such rock classics as “Comfortably Numb” and “Hey You.”

“When Roger decided that he wanted to bring it back on the road he said, ‘I’m not that guy. I’m happy. I’m not this angry kid anymore,'” said co-director Sean Evans. “We took the meat of it and made it more about the world and building walls in society, religion and politics.”

Waters has been outspoken of late, criticizing the United States, for instance, for supporting Israel in its standoff with Hamas. At the premiere, he did not speak about any specific war or hot zone, but implied he felt that people needed to become more politically active in order to prevent future bloodshed.

“It’s about our children and about each other and about how we so desperately need to transcend national boundaries in order to cooperate with one another rather than sitting entrenched on our side of a boundary or wall and lobbing bombs at each other over the top of it,” he said.

“We’re on a slippery slope and we need to dig our heels in and say enough, enough, this is not right,” Waters added.

The premiere happened to coincide with the rocker’s 71st birthday, an anniversary that the filmmakers insisted was coincidental.

From variety.com

Toronto fans sing 'Happy Birthday' to Roger Waters

By JOHN CARUCCI, Associated Press | September 6, 2014

Photo By Frank Gunn/AP  Roger Waters, right, signs autographs as he arrives for the premiere of "Roger Waters: The Wall" at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014.

Photo By Frank Gunn/AP  Roger Waters waves as he arrives for the premiere of "Roger Waters: The Wall" at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014

TORONTO (AP) — Roger Waters celebrated his 71st birthday in style with a world premiere of his new documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival.

When the former Pink Floyd front man walked out on stage to introduce the film, a fan in the packed Elgin Theater screamed out happy birthday. That began an impromptu chorus of "Happy Birthday," and Waters graciously acknowledged his age with an expletive.

"Roger Waters: The Wall" chronicles his recent tour covering the seminal 1979 Pink Floyd album — as well as his inspiration for writing it.

Waters told the audience he began working with co-director Sean Evans five years ago to update the show with a more ecumenical and anti-war approach. Since it kicked off four years ago in Toronto, the tour has grossed nearly $500 million.

Waters came back out for the post-film Q&A to a standing ovation. Moderated by TIFF CEO Piers Handling, the question of Waters' strong political feelings and the criticism he received for it came up early.

Waters politely responded by saying that his strong, humane traits came from his parents, but he wasn't there to defend himself or fight with anybody.

The musician has spoken out about Israeli treatment of Palestinians and has refused to play any shows in Israel.

The film does not have a release date.

From www.chron.com

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters: 'I've made an anti-war movie'

By Rebecca Hawkes and Reuters 08 Sep 2014

The Pink Floyd co-founder say it's time to protest against politicians

Roger Waters performs in Portugal in 2011 Photo: EPA

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters' new film, Roger Waters: The Wall, documents the singer-songwriter's three year The Wall Live tour, which ran from 2010 to 2013, and saw Waters perform Pink Floyd's famous 1980 double album in its entirety.

But Waters says that the film should be seen as a protest against the growing spread of armed conflict, rather than just a concert documentary.

The film, which had its world premiere on Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival, documents the band's impressive concerts, that included pyrotechnics, animation, a flying inflatable pig and an actual wall constructed on stage as the show progressed.

But it also includes vignettes of Waters visiting war cemeteries and memorials in Europe, including the grave of a grandfather who died in World War One, and the site of the 1944 battle that killed Water's father when the singer was just a baby.

The concert itself featured projections on its set of veterans, activists and average people who died in wars, protests and attacks on civilians.

Waters said a major theme of the original album is the need to challenge politicians who seem increasingly willing to resort to the use of violence.

"It's a question that's not being asked of our leaders often enough. If this film asks that question, at least in part, then it would be good," Waters told Reuters on the red carpet ahead of the premiere.
"It's a protest movie. It's an anti-war, protest movie."

The film received a standing ovation after a screening packed with fans. The audience also sang an impromptu "Happy Birthday" when Waters, who turned 71 on Saturday, took to the stage.

The Wall Live became one of the top grossing concert tours of all time as it grew to more than 200 shows in Europe, North and South America and Australia.

Waters said he had welcomed the opportunity to spread the album's core message that politicians and citizens must work to overcome the divisions fueling the wars we see today.

"It's very easy for people to say... that will never happen, because they are this, and they are that. And you can't talk to them," he told Reuters.

"They just lived in a different part of the globe and are educated differently. And they need education the same way that we do so that we can cross the great divide that we might call the wall."

Roger Waters' 'The Wall' Tour Documentary Premieres in Toronto

BY DANIEL KREPS | September 7, 2014

Sonia Moskowitz, Getty Images

Roger Waters celebrated his 71st birthday September 6th at the Toronto International Film Festival by attending the world premiere of his new documentary Roger Waters: The Wall. TIFF was the perfect venue for the former Pink Floyd bassist to debut his film since The Wall Live tour actually began its run at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on September 15, 2010, so Roger Waters: The Wall's TIFF premiere was like coming full circle. Also, what better way to follow "Bill Murray Day" than with a film that explores Waters' epic tour from behind "the Wall."

Longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich is credited with "Sound" in Roger Waters: The Wall, along with veteran sound mixer Adam Scrivener. The documentary runs for 133 minutes – 12 minutes longer than the classic double-LP itself – and was co-directed by Waters and Sean Evans, who was The Wall Tour's creative director. Roger Waters: The Wall was filmed in three cities on two continents. So far, no release date has been announced for the documentary, but there will be two more Toronto screenings. Waters also revealed that his tour documentary could double as "an anti-war, protest film."

Following the premiere, and after an impromptu serenade of "Happy Birthday" by the crowd, Waters conducted a Q&A session with audience members and was asked why Pink Floyd's The Wall is so enduring. "I think people are sick and tired of being told that the most important thing in their life is commerce and the new this and the new that," Waters said according to the Toronto Sun. "I think people are probably ready to go now, 'Well, all of that rhetoric lead us to lob bombs over the top of the wall, that divides society ecologically, economically, philosophically and politically, from all our fellow human beings. And we no longer want to be told by our political leaders that they are scum and that we are great.' So that I believe that it may be we're no longer interested in the 'us and them' form of political philosophy that we've been fed on for the last couple of 1,000 years and that we may be ready to move into a new place." All that, plus "Comfortably Numb" is awesome.

"I can't top that tour," Waters told Rolling Stone last November. "First of all, you have to accept the fact that I'm not going to live forever... You just have to accept that when you do something as enormous as that tour. The hardest thing in the world is thinking of something to do, so going and doing it is a reward in itself."


Roger Waters Discusses Emotional Anti-War Documentary ‘The Wall’ at TIFF

By Karen Bliss
September 07, 2014

"It has a more universal message, which is passionately anti-war," Roger Waters says.

If a concert film can be emotional and even require a tissue, Roger Waters The Wall is it.

Roger Waters Premieres His New Doc at Toronto International Film Festival

Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd co-founder marked his 71st birthday at the Toronto International Film Festival Saturday (Sept. 6) night for the world premiere of this unique live concert documentary. The film takes his strong anti-war stance and interweaves a highly personal mission into concert footage from his 2010-2013 sold out The Wall Live tour, which actually started in Toronto.

The 133-minute documentary, which includes all 26 songs from Pink Floyd’s 1979 album, The Wall, is still seeking a distributor.

“The only difference in the movie is that I’ve made a road movie about visiting the graves of both my grandfather and my father -- well, my father doesn’t have a grave because his remains were never found. He died in 1944 at Anzio [Italy] in the Second World War, but there is a memorial to him which during the movie I visit,” Waters told Billboard before the screening.

“I basically visit all kinds of serious iconic places with friends of mine from the past, in this movie. I hope that that road movie is integrated within the context of the concert movie we’ve made and serves to accentuate some of the points that we made in the concert.”

Waters worked closely with co-director and co-writer Sean Evans, the creative director on The Wall Live and previous visuals designer for Waters’ 2006-2008 The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour and his opera Ça Ira.

“It has to do with his impetus for writing The Wall,” Evans says of the narrative component to the film. “It’s all one big circle and it’s great how it all ties back.”

In The Wall Live -- based on the songs from Pink Floyd’s classic double album, The Wall, and subsequent tour -- Waters hammered home the idea that war is commerce and the immense cost in human lives. The stage show includes military costumes, animation of fighter planes and bombs, and dozens of fan-submitted photos of people all over the world whose lives were lost to war in this last century.

The original album and Alan Parker’s legendary 1982 film were based on the destructive life of an isolated rock star whose father was killed in action during World War II.

“I wrote this piece nearly 40 years ago. It came to me a few years ago that it had a broader message than the original message of the whiny guy who spat at the kid in Montreal in 1977,” Waters says, referencing his notorious reaction to a disruptive fan during Pink Floyd’s In The Flesh/Animals tour.

“And it has a more universal message, which is passionately anti-war, believing that war is a business -- Smedley Butler’s whole ‘War Is A Racket.’ It’s all about people making money. It actually doesn’t help the people who are expected to be collateral damage -- and most casualties in modern warfare are civilians.”

Like the concert, the documentary includes all The Wall songs in chronological order, but Waters’ road trip makes the message more powerful. He is not just looking at war from the outside; he knows firsthand the lifelong pain such loss has on the families of those left behind.

As the end credits roll, he respectfully shows all the photos of fallen loved ones.

After the screening, Waters did a 25-minute Q&A session, telling the audience at the Elgin Theatre he hoped this new film version of The Wall is “more universal and ecumenical and anti-war and humanitarian than the original version that I did with my much loved old colleagues from Pink Floyd, Dave and Rick and Nick.”

He added another hope -- that we’d “find a different way of organizing our politics and our commerce that don’t require that we murder each other.”

“Because we are all brothers and sisters under the skin and above it,” he says. “I know it sounds ridiculous to say, but it’s super important that we stop lopping bombs over the top of the wall and start trying to dismantle it so that we can say ‘Hi’ to whoever is on the other side, whether the divide is religious or nationalistic or political or economical.”