The Cramps and The Mutants: The Napa State Tapes

Loft Film Fest

The Cramps and The Mutants: The Napa State Tapes


General Admission: $12 | Loft Members: $10

Passes Not Accepted

Featuring We Were There to Be There co-directors Mike Plante and Jason Willis in person at the Saturday, Oct. 14th screening!

On June 13, 1978, punk rock band The Cramps played a show at Napa State, a psychiatric hospital in the small town of Napa in northern California. Opening for them were The Mutants, an eclectic septet of art-school punks from nearby San Francisco. Seminal Bay Area art collective Target Video was also there to capture the show using one of the first video cameras available to the public, democratizing a medium normally controlled by mainstream media outlets. The resulting VHS tape of the show is one of the most legendary documents in music history and a cult classic tape. Both Napa performances have been fully remastered from the original reel-to-reel videotape.  Screening in between the Napa performances is the short documentary We Were There to Be There, co-directed by Mike Plante and Jason Willis, which goes into the background of Target Video and how the Napa State show happened, with rare photos and interviews from people who were at the show. The documentary also explores the deep history of Napa State and how then-Governor Ronald Reagan’s policies regarding mental health facilities are still affecting people today.

Mike Plante is a filmmaker and festival programmer. He has directed the feature documentaries Be Like an Ant (2011) and the award-winning And With Him Came the West (2019), which premiered at MoMA Doc Fortnight and was released by Grasshopper Films to theaters and streaming. He has directed numerous shorts including The Masque (2012), The Polaroid Job (2016), which was acquired by The New York Times’ Op-Doc series and was nominate for a Critic’s Choice Award, and We Were There to be There (2021), co-directed by Jason Willis. He has produced feature documentaries by other directors, including Scrap Vessel (20019) and Giuseppe Makes a Movie (2014). Plante began working for film festivals as a programmer in 1993, and is currently a Senior Programmer for Short Film at the Sundance Film Festival, where he has worked since 2011.  In 1998, he started writing and publishing the film zine Cinemad, which continues today as a blog and podcast.

Jason Willis is an award winning multi-media creative professional located in Tucson, AZ. Specializing in directing, editing, video and motion graphics, his diversified skills include stop motion, live action, graphic design, photography, and animation production. His short film Catnip: Egress to Oblivion? won the Sundance Audience Award for Best Short Film in 2013 and has been featured in a variety of publications including the Atlantic, USA Today, Buzzfeed and Roger Ebert’s Film Journal.

(Total program running time: 72 mins., Not Rated)

1 HR 12 MIN | NR

Released 2023
The Cramps and The Mutants: The Napa State Tapes Trailer
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