By Helen Donlon
Actor Jimi Mistry has worked with Gurinder Chadha, Roland Emmerich, Edward Zwick and Guy Ritchie, rejecting the Hollywood lifestyle to remain based in the UK. Now he has teamed up with director Steve Jaggi and filmed a love song to Ibiza called And The Beat Goes On.
Well-received at both the International Music Summit and the Ibiza Film Festival, the film nails the two different sides to Ibiza’s international summer scene, with a real appreciation of both. During the three year process of putting the film together Mistry has become bewitched by the island, and it shows.
“All I knew is that I had to do it. I just went out shooting and interviewing and listening. At first I was going to make a documentary about twenty years of acid house… but it very naturally turned into something else.”
Mistry’s love affair with the island is obvious in his voiceovers. He picked some great locations too. Apart from the obvious Es Vedra and southern beaches he devotes a section of the film to life on Benirras. As someone who has spent at least one summer and a couple of Christmases practically living on that beach, I was relieved that he instantly picked up on the bigger picture, with his appreciation of the year-round local community who live in the present but are fuelled by history (from pagan to hippie) and for whom the concept of elitism is anathema. This thread is very intelligently perceived and pursued throughout the film.
Larah Davis (of Ibiza Retreats, who is also interviewed in the film) suggested the meeting with Akoo. “We met in Santa Gertrudis and he read my eyes to see what my spirit was about. I went up to his house on full moon and it just blew me away. He has a music temple and we had a jam session that lasted five hours. All the hippies came up for the full moon. You just go in, pick up an instrument and join in. It was incredible. I’ve never been to anything like that.”
The spark that ignited Mistry’s interest in making the film at all, Ibiza as the birthplace of Acid House, comes together when he manages to get the four British DJs Nicky Holloway, Johnny Walker, Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling to Pike’s Hotel for a well overdue reunion.
“I met the legendary Tony Pike, and he said bring it here, no problem. He cleared the Club Tropicana pool bar and I sat and did the interview like it was a TV show, with hotel guests the other side of the pool watching. It was a perfect setting. Of course they were like a bunch of schoolkids; Nicky and Paul put eyeliner on and you could really see their personalities coming through, which is exactly what I wanted. The interview was three hours long and we emptied three bottles of champagne.”
Unlike a lot of other chronicles of the period, Mistry doesn’t fail to bring in the key figure in the early influences of the four British DJs, the island’s DJ Alfredo. He ran Amnesia back when it was an open air farmhouse, and is seen by many as the catalyst for the later Acid House movement.
Jimi Mistry Interview
“Alfredo was the inspiration, he’s at the top, but he’s also the root of the tree. He was just very, very important for this film. He inspired Danny to go back and start Shoom. They were all inspired not just by his choice of music, but by the personality he was giving out via that music. I told him I wanted to celebrate him because he’s a very important part of this island culture to me and I wanted to celebrate the island.”
“And with Lenny (Ibizarre) I felt he was the sense, the brains, he’s a very bright and well-spoken guy, very talented. I also really enjoyed the scenes with singer Angelique Bianca. We had a really strong connection which is why we used one of her songs on the soundtrack. You see a lot of good energy flying around in the scenes she’s in, she’s always smiling.”
Mistry’s own background started with a huge passion for music, and he was Djing before his acting career took off, after drama school. He’s just finished shooting the latest Gurinder Chadha film with Zoe Wanamaker and Sally Hawkins, and will appear in Roland Emmerich’s forthcoming 2012. He says he had a lot of fun on Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla. “He’s another bright guy. We just sat in his production office and exchanged views on the world, philosophised, talked about the Crusades… and he offered me the job. He’s a very good director. It was nice working with Tom Wilkinson and Mark Strong.”
“I decided not to follow the Hollywood lifestyle. It was a conscious decision. A few years ago after The Guru I had the chance, but I just don’t love myself enough. Everyone around me was talking as if I’d already made the decision, as if it was unthinkable not to. You have to be selfish to survive there, and it’s just not me. I don’t think I’d have been happy.”
Lucky for us, or the film about Ibiza would probably never have been made…
Message for Ibiza Now readers from Jimi Mistry:
The island means so much to me. I really hope you get to see my film, because I made it for you.”
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