The Nick Mead documentary about George Christie, titled The Last American Outlaw, will finally screen tomorrow night, September 28, at 7 p.m. at the Bell Arts factory in Ventura, California. Admission is $10 and all proceeds will benefit autism research.
The movie, which has been in production for almost two years, was originally scheduled to screen at the same venue June 8 but that show was cancelled after threats by the United States Attorney for the Central District of California. A month after that attorney Fritz Clapp, acting on behalf of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, objected to what he termed “clearance issues” with the film. “HAMC has demanded that the Mead/Christie film not be displayed, marketed or distributed until and unless all clearance issues are resolved,” Clapp wrote.
Presumably, they’re resolved now. The film has secured two distribution deals for all formats including theatrical, DVD, television and downloads. Mead calls the documentary “the film the government doesn’t want you to see.”
Most of the film was shot while Christie was under indictment for “conspiring” to “interfere with commerce and the movement of articles and commodities in commerce;” extortion; and conspiracy to commit arson. Christie was locked up for six weeks and was confined to his home until he pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy in January. He was sentenced August 15. The sentence was sealed but Christie will probably be out of prison within a year.
Christie was a Hells Angel for more than 30 years, a member of the “Filthy Few” and for years he was said to embody a “new breed” of outlaw biker.
He has been described by his friend James A. Golff as, “the antithesis of the stereotypical Neanderthal brute animal biker; he was handsome, well-groomed, impeccably dressed and possessed a dynamic presence. He was glib, sharp, forthright, and affable. He would find himself going head to head with seasoned newsman Mike Wallace on CBS 60 Minutes holding his own on Wallace’s turf. These attributes quickly made Christie the de facto national spokesman for the Hells Angels nationwide. And as the longest running President of any Hells Angels Chapter – spanning seven U.S. Presidencies (Ford through Obama) Christie witnessed the Hells Angels MC grow from two dozen chapters in the United States to over 100 chapters in 29 countries worldwide….”
Nick Mead may be the most creative independent film maker working today. He and Christie first met when Mead was directing a documentary called Black Leather Jacket, about the history of black leather jackets. Mead’s work is often droll.
He has managed to elude fame while directing eleven movies, producing seven more and photographing five. His best known project might be the documentary My First Guitar which includes interviews with Pete Seeger, Brian Wilson, Bill Wyman, Dave Stewart, Tom DeLonge, Nils Lofgren, Jose Felliciano, Harry Dean Stanton and Les Paul. Mead’s most recent film is Who Do You Think I Am, a film about the late, E Street band saxophonist Clarence Clemons shot mostly in China where the big saxophonist was virtually unknown.
If you can’t make it to Ventura but you can get to Phoenix the other current Hells Angels film project, Sonny Barger’s Dead In Five Heartbeats, will have a DVD release party Saturday afternoon at the Steel Horse Saloon on West Bell Road. If money is no object, if you are Kurt Sutter or Charlie Hunnam and you can afford a private jet, you can catch the party and the film. Maybe those two guys should.