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Documentary to shine light on Sarnia’s punk rock music scene

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Jake Romphf

With 12 years in the film industry under his belt, Brad Miller is coming home to tell the story of a misunderstood art form that influenced him and many other Sarnians.

In October he’ll begin shooting a documentary, ‘From the Valley to the Grove,’ highlighting the people, places and history of the city’s punk rock scene.

“The story is right here; it’s right in front of me,” he said.

For the past four years Miller, 34, has worked on the Canadian TV series Letterkenny as an assistant director and post-production editor. He’s also currently in production on a new CBC-Netflix family adventure drama, Northern Rescue.

But all the while, Miller has laboured on a script for a documentary to honour Sarnia’s punk community, past and present, by offering an inside look at the relationship between punk and small town life.

“My favourite three things in the world are punk rock music, film, and Chemical Valley,” said Miller. “I can give something back to my community and my friends. I want to show them that it means a lot, and it’s made me who I am.”

In October, Miller will bring together 10 local punk rock influencers from different generations and bring them to some historical punk hangouts and hotspots.

“What I want to do is explore the history and explore the characters,” he said.

Miller has begun raising money and is seeking an Ontario Arts Council grant to professionally produce the project. If all goes well he’ll enter the film in festivals, with plans for a wider documentary or a series on small town punk.

Miller said he grew up immersed in the local scene, rolling through Bright’s Grove on his skateboard and rocking out at the Trinity Lounge at night.

“Some of the best times I ever had was going to punk shows in Sarnia,” he said.

Miller said the local punk scene is unique because its members remain closely connected and often encounter each other at shows in other cities.

“If I went to a concert today, I’d see a lot of the same faces I saw 15 years ago.”

Miller said Sudbury, where he currently lives, has as exclusive music scene. In Sarnia, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from or what you wear, because the punk community will accept you.

“In Sarnia, everyone’s welcome.”



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