Director: Doug Pray

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


If the people at Saturday Night Live knew one of their musical numbers was going to be a major influence, I'm sure they would make a movie out of it. However, no one could have predicted that the fresh sound of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" would be the inspiration for a musical revolution that would redefine the role of the DJ as a worldwide superstar.

Scratch explores the world of the hip-hop DJ from the birth of hip-hop, when pioneering DJs began extending breaks on their party records (which helped inspire break dancing and rap), to the development of scratching and beat-jungling vinyl, to the recent explosion of a genuine musical movement called "turntablism." It's a story of unknown underdogs and serious turntable virtuosos who have radically changed the way music is played and created.

Doug Pray returns to the Sundance Film Festival with his second documentary. Hype, which played in the 1996 Film Festival, chronicled the grunge movement, recounting the rise and fall of the music and artists within it. This time he examines a wave that is still swelling and evolving.

By featuring some of the world's best DJ's—such as DJ Q-bert, Mix Master Mike, and DJ Shadow, as well as old-school innovators—whether they're famous for solo scratching, competing in international DJ battles, producing records, playing for rap artists, or just rocking parties with the most insane records ever dug up, Scratch provides a comprehensive look at an art form that will make you say, "Goddamn, that DJ made my day."

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details


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