Yes, we’re finally going to screen the film…

Hiya Folks, 

Thanks for your eternal patience. We’re finally gearing up to show Sammy-Gate to the world.  If you want us to come to your town, don’t hesitate to drop us a line

Meanwhile, here’s a few kind words we just received from our favorite critic and scholar Jonathan Rosenbaum (Cahiers Du Cinema, Cinemascope)…



“Sammy-Gate” Soundtrack on Limited Edition Vinyl!

As you likely know, we had to delay the theatrical release of “Sammy-Gate” until next year.

However, though you may not be able to see the film yet, we are releasing a vinyl edition of the soundtrack to tide you over. We only pressed a couple hundred copies so this should be of interest to your audiophile friends. 

You can purchase the album here.

And we can cut an album trailer too!

Below is the official press release…


Thee J.X. Williams Archive
c/o Edward Bernays

Berlin – November 10, 2020 — Boutique label ƒa r ∂ e l™ presents a very special edition of unreleased soundtrack recordings from Noel Lawrence’s cult film “Sammy-Gate,” a dark political satire about how Sammy Davis, Jr. caused Watergate.

Available on vinyl for the first time, “Sammy-Gate” provides a stupefying dose of aural psychedelia that will plunge the listener into the polyester heart of darkness that is Sammy Davis, Jr. circa 1972…

The soundtrack includes original compositions from Kirpatrick Thomas (SPINDRIFT), Eric D. Clark (Whirlpool Productions), and Brennan Johns (Bootsy Collins’ Horn Ensemble).

Though its foot remains heavy on the wah-wah pedal, the tracks cover a staggering range of styles and genres, including psych-rock, lounge jazz, blues, classical, and analog synth.

To sustain the sonic madness at a fever pitch, the album also features a rogues’ gallery of guest collaborators:

  • Angie Reed (Barbara Brockhaus)
  • Dmitri Brill (Deee-Lite)
  • Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys)
  • Philip Proctor (Firesign Theatre)
  • Jason Simon (Dead Meadow)
  • Bobby Bones (The Silver Chords)
  • Ukulena
  • Joe Zabielski (drums and percussion, Spindrift)
  • Richard Beatty (as Sammy Davis, Jr. in “Sammy-Gate”)
  • Darius James (noted author and screenwriter of “Sammy-Gate”)
  • Noel Lawrence (J.X. Williams, director of “Sammy-Gate”)

Conceived, written, and recorded over a period of eight years in Los Angeles, Berlin and Faijal in the Azores Islands, the soundtrack for “Sammy-Gate” is a consummate labor of love and the ultimate collectible for both the cinephile and the audiophile. 

Copies are available for pre-order at:

Additional notes: 

About Sammy-Gate

Equal parts Dr. Strangelove, Putney Swope, and Network, Sammy-Gate takes you on a psychedelic trip into the 1970s polyester heart of darkness. On a USO tour of Vietnam, Sammy Davis Jr. stumbles upon a CIA-sponsored plot to smuggle heroin into the United States. Through comic ineptitude mixed with noble intentions, Davis triggers a chain of bizarre missteps by the FBI, the Mafia, and the Nixon Administration that result in the Watergate scandal. 

For more information about the film, visit

About  ƒa r ∂ e l™

The label baby of Alex Aikiu and Eric D. Clark:

Started in 2020, the platform offers alternatives to conventional release strategies for artists that have an inclination to doing things on their own plus in their own way…

Initially starting as an outlet for affiliations directly linked to their own productions; it has developed into a hub for Artists wishing to understand how “the industry” works; providing advice coupled with solutions; along with an expertise the two founders have garnered from decades in the professional worlds of Fashion & Music (respectively) plus an understanding of creative fruition through all mediums!

press coverage

Interview with Noel Lawrence and Darius James on “Sammy-Gate”

For those who didn’t catch it earlier, Screen Anarchy did a great in-depth interview with Darius and I for “Sammy-Gate.” 

Martin Kudlac saw the film at IFFR and gave us an opportunity to speak at length about the film and our theories regarding “psychedelic history.” 

You can read it here.

Director's Note press coverage Uncategorized

A Quick Update on Sammy-Gate

For those awaiting more information on the release of “Sammy-Gate,” I just wanted to post a long-belated update on the film.  

Due to the pandemic, the team made the difficult but necessary decision to delay the theatrical release of the film. 

As to the exact thought process that led to this decision, you may want to read my essay “Why I Will Not Put My Film Online” that I wrote for Filmmaker Magazine.

Since the situation is so fluid, there is no real point in giving a release date at this juncture. All I can promise is that it will be worth the wait. 

Meanwhile, I will have some other news about the film soon. Thanks for your patience.

Noel Lawrence, Director of “Sammy-Gate”


Sammy-Gate in “Variety”

Our friends from Slamdance Film Festival gave us a little shout in Variety!

“Sammy-Gate,” from director Noel Lawrence, who co-wrote the script with Darius James, is a dark satire of psychedelic history, revolving around the unique relationship between Sammy Davis Jr. and Richard Nixon. It questions whether the entertainer had anything to do with Watergate. The film, which will world premiere at the 2020 Rotterdam Film Festival, was a true Slamdance community collaboration, as Baxter served as
an executive producer.

‘”Sammy-Gate’ is an example of how Slamdance’s ‘by filmmakers for filmmakers’ ethos continues to work year­ round,” Baxter says. “Though film culture tends to focus on the director, filmmaking is a collective effort. It espe­ cially matters on a microbudget project without commer­ cial or institutional support, essentially being forged into existence through sheer willpower and creative labor.”

Full article below: 


Official Poster for Sammy-Gate

Just wanted to share the official poster for “Sammy-Gate”! It was designed by Seitu Hayden, apprentice of the late visionary artist Pedro Bell who is best known for designing Funkadelic’s notorious album covers. Additionally, many of the “Monopoly board” panels were originally executed by our production designer Priscilla Elliott and writer Darius James wrote the text in the comic book bubbles.

Like the film, a massive labor-intensive group effort. Thanks to everyone!

press release

Long-awaited Satirical Biopic on Richard Nixon and Sammy Davis, Jr. to Premiere at IFFR


Thee J.X. Williams Archive
c/o Edward Bernays

Hollywood, CA – Eight years in the making, “SammyGate” chronicles the unlikely involvement of Sammy Davis, Jr. in the Watergate scandal that brought down Nixon’s presidency. The film will have its world premiere at IFFR (International Film Festival Rotterdam) on Friday, January 24.
Much like Kanye West and Trump a half-century later, Davis used his showbiz glitz to burnish the president’s credibility among a highly distrustful black community.  The effort backfired spectacularly, earning him nearly universal condemnation and dimming his star power for decades.
While this subject alone would provide ample material for a feature, writers Darius James and Noel Lawrence dug even deeper. Using the Davis/Nixon alliance as a starting point, they fabricated an elaborate alternative history in which Sammy triggers a chain of bizarre missteps by the FBI, the Mafia, and the Nixon Administration that result in the Watergate scandal.
“The universe of SammyGate is an absurd one,” Lawrence notes in his Director’s Statement “It’s a bizarro world in which Sammy gets attacked by a club sandwich while tripping on LSD. Or Richard Nixon manifests Satanic powers and speaks in tongues like Linda Blair from ‘The Exorcist.’ Or Louis Armstrong pilots a flying toilet to save Sammy from eternal damnation in Hell.”
Though the film focuses on the past, it speaks loud and clear to a present that obsesses on fake news and impeachment. As cultural critic Michael Gonzales notes, “Through its skillful mix of fact and fiction, SammyGate transforms ‘fake news’ into a fine art. The film presages a digital age in which nothing is true and everything is permitted.
You can view the trailer HERE.
You can view/download the EPK HERE.

89 mins | 2020 | USA
Director: Noel Lawrence
Written by: Darius James & Noel Lawrence

**Director Noel Lawrence and screenwriter Darius James will be available for interviews while at IFFR from Thursday, January 23 to Wednesday, January 29**
For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact Edward Bernays at
About Noel Lawrence
Noel Lawrence makes, curates, distributes, and writes about film.

As alter ego J.X. Williams, Lawrence produced a body of audiovisual work that critiqued institutions and historical discourses of cinema. His films have been showcased at The LouvreIFFRSlamdance, and Thessaloniki.  His provocative work has been featured in The New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Vice as well as a book of collected essays on his filmography, J.X. Williams: Les Dossiers Interdits (Camion Noir, 2010). 

More recently, Lawrence has collaborated on projects with Bootsy Collins and Iggy Pop as well as teaming up with the Luis Buñuel Film Institute on a lecture/presentation on the influence of surrealism in mid-century advertising.  Noel also co-curates the Department of Anarchy film section at Slamdance.
About Darius James
Darius James is an author, spoken-word artist, and expert on African-American folk culture. He is the author of five books. His debut novel Negrophobia (NYRB Classics) was just republished by the New York Review of Books. His follow-up book That’s Blaxploitation: Roots of the Badaasssss ‘Tude (St. Martins) was one of the pioneering works on the Blaxploitation genre of cinema.

After two decades in New York as a freelance journalist, Darius relocated to Berlin, Germany in 1998 where he worked as a radio host and theatre director. James also wrote and hosted The United States of Hoodoo, a road movie that traces the influence of voodoo on daily life and pop culture in the USA. The film premiered on Arte (Germany) in 2012. Currently, he is completing Aunt Katie’s Tales.]