Ubisoft Presents Fantasia 2008

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What We Do Is Secret

Sponsored by: Exclaim!

Montreal Premiere

Hosted by Director Rodger Grossman

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“Probably as good as SID & NANCY. West gives a star-making performance in this excellent exploration of a chaotic exhilarating period” – Psychedelic, AIN’T IT COOL NEWS

“An absolute blast to watch... The Germs movie is finally here”– Eric Campos, FILM THREAT

“Conveys the staggering isolation of outsiders who are too dangerous even for outsider culture” - John Vettese, PHILADELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL


Director: Rodger Grossman
Screenplay: Michelle Baer Ghaffari, Rodger Grossman
Cast: Shane West, Bijou Phillips, Rick Gonzalez, Noah Segan, Ashton Holmes
Producers: Rodger Grossman, Kevin Mann, Stephen Nemeth, Matthew Perniciaro
Distributor: Peace Arch


A shrieking, bleeding labour of love, WHAT WE DO IS SECRET depicts the late '70s L.A. punk scene, in particular the rise and immolation of Darby Crash and his band the Germs, essentially the first hardcore group. Crash's self-mutilated life and the history of the Germs have long been the stuff of alt-culture legend. Virtually every gig they played was awash in violence and vandalism, often ending in full-fledged riots provoked by Crash himself. This ultimately led to a bizarre scenario where the Germs were the hottest band in L.A. but blacklisted at every club in the city! It all ended as quickly as it began and a smack-addicted Crash killed himself at the age of 22, the tragic conclusion of what he frequently referred to as his "five year plan."

The Germs' surrealistically brief career, which produced only a handful of recordings, a single full album and zero touring, influenced everyone from Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and GG Allin to Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In fact, Kurt Cobain even brought Germs guitarist Pat Smear into Nirvana a year before his suicide, and Smear went on to form Foo Fighters with Dave Grohl. SECRET captures it all with raging conviction and microscopic attention to detail, from Crash's school days as a misfit poet through his metamorphosis into punk's revolutionary anti-hero to the outer edges of his alienated final minutes. Bursting with chaos, while staked in resonant drama, it’s a revelatory depiction of the hardships of maintaining a band amidst enormous adversity (and drug addiction) and a touching portrait of the agonies of being misunderstood. Shane West gives a downright uncanny performance as Crash, whose fierce intelligence and wit were matched only by his madness and destructive impulses. West is so damn good, he's since fronted the Germs at reunion gigs! And Bijou Phillips makes one hell of a Lorna Doom. There is no synch-playing either. Every actor plays for real, taught and rehearsed by Smear himself. Director Rodger Grossman struggled for over 10 years to get this film made the right way and the results are as personal as they are powerful. Intense, engrossing, funny and LOUD, WHAT WE DO IS SECRET absolutely explodes.

—Mitch Davis